Hidden Gems - The Echo News
Via Ad

Hidden gems

You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to have a good time

The women of Second South English enjoy the pick-a-dates Perry’s Archery Center provides. (Photograph provided by Alora Pradel)

The women of Second South English enjoy the pick-a-dates Perry’s Archery Center provides. (Photograph provided by Alora Pradel)

By Hope Bolinger and Hannah Stumpf | Echo

Living at a school deemed in the middle of a cornfield, students often struggle to find activities to do outside the university. After one exhausts the options found in the community, they might turn to gas-guzzling habits such as midnight donut runs and weekend trips to Muncie, Indiana.

Some wings will venture 30, 40 minutes, even an hour, to snag a cookie or find the perfect pick-a-date spot. But what if students could spare a few dollars by visiting a few local gems in a 15 mile radius?

Before breaking the bank, consider these local options for your next wing or floor endeavor:

Perry’s Archery Center

Looking for a fun activity no matter the weather? Look no further than Perry’s Archery Center. Sophomore Steven Christophersen and the rest of Fourth Gerig (FOSO) go on an annual pick-a-date there during J-term. The cost is $10 per person, which includes safety instruction and bow rental.

“They go through all the safety guidelines. They bring you through drawing a bow, how to release . . . all the etiquette on going to (retrieve) arrows,” Christophersen said.

Several perks include friendly staff and their bloodhound who sits at the counter. On a scale from one (poor) to 10 (best), Christophersen rated Perry’s Archery Center a 10.

Spencer Farms Orchard

A 10 minute drive from campus at 10620 E. 200 S., Upland, will bring you to the 94-year-old farm that has been passed down through four generations, starting with Dale Spencer, whose house hosts the farm.

After Labor Day, the family farm operation moves from selling produce in a hay wagon on State Road 5 to marketing handpicked produce until the end of November.

“First and foremost, we sell quality produce at a fair price — no frills,” said Sara Spencer Russell, granddaughter of Dale Spencer.

Visitors can expect to find homegrown items such as sweet corn, peaches, plums, pears, tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, zucchini, squash and gourds throughout the year. However, during the fall, the farm specializes in selling pumpkins and more than 85 varieties of apples, including heirloom varieties.

Even for those Taylor students and faculty who see no need in purchasing produce, Russell claims the farm offers aesthetic richness as much as it offers fresh, tasty food.

“I think all ages of people who visit us enjoy the unassuming beauty of a working farm. We love what we do, love our family and love our community,” Russell said.

Russell adds that Spencer Farms is not a you-pick. In other words, students and faculty cannot harvest their own produce when they visit the farm.

Mama’s Soaporium

This true mom and pop in Gas City started in founder Amie Pearson’s kitchen in 2010 when she made soap and sold her products at farmers markets. Three years following, she opened a brick and mortar store, adding various apothecary items such as body butters, bath bombs, bubble baths and essential oil blends.

“We pride ourselves about the fact that we make everything we sell from scratch, focusing on all natural ingredients,” Pearson said.

She imagines college students could benefit from a number of the products they offer. For instance, the Focus essential oil roller ball provides an ideal aromatherapy to help students with studying habits.

For the men who attend Taylor, Pearson’s husband, Patrick, created products just for them in 2016 when he joined the company. His product line, known as Iron Mask Beard & Shave Co., offers items ranging from mustache wax to beard oils.

This past April, the couple moved the store to its most recent location and plans to celebrate the move-in this Saturday at an event known as Mama’s Fall Fest. At this event, local businesses such as Branches Bakehouse, Homestead Acres Farm, John’s Kettle Corn and Creek Candle Co. will set up booths at 125 W. Main St., Gas City to sell goods at the Fall Fest, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pearson says the Taylor community can expect to find handmade and homegrown Grant County items such as apple dumplings, pumpkins, mums, gourds, hand-poured candles and the release of the Soaporium’s fall creations in soaps. A free craft booth for kids to paint rocks, run by local artist Meg Berg, will also be available.

Comments are closed.