There’s no place like Warren & Trumbull County for the holidays

They say there’s no place like home for the holidays – and it’s true. My extended family has been scattered across the eastern part of the country for most of my life, but they’re all originally from Trumbull County, and they never forget it. Since my mom is the one still living in the area, her house has become the place to which everyone “comes home.” She asked her brothers and sisters what they most look forward to doing when they’re in town. Here’s what they said:

“Sunrise Pizza and Mocha House are favorites to meet up with family for a casual meal.”

The first thing that came to mind, of course, is food – the kind of food you can only find in Trumbull County. Some Warren classics include Buena Vista’s “Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken,” Mocha House, Sunrise Pizza, The Hot Dog Shoppe, and Saratoga.

But there are plenty more good eats in the county – and you’ll have to track down some pepperoni rolls, Italian and Greek pastries, hot peppers, and local sauce while you’re in town. (If you’re flying, check a bag – some of these are NOT carry-on items – believe me, I know!)

“We like to check out the Downtown Courthouse Square in Warren for decorations and new restaurants/bars…just holiday lights in general, since we don’t see as much of that where we live now!”

The next thing? Check out the holiday lights! Warren’s Courthouse Square twinkles all through December and into the new year thanks to the efforts of the nonprofit Light Up the Square, which decorates in honor of a late downtown restaurant owner, Jim Economos.

And it’s not the only spot in the county to find great holiday displays. Most Trumbull County communities have started holding tree lightings. Howland Township, for example, decks out Richard E. Orwig Park. You can also find plenty of fantastic neighborhood light displays, especially along the eastern end of East Market Street in Warren, the neighborhoods near Trumbull County Country Club, and on Country Club Drive.

“I’m guessing the best spot to run into former classmates out for drinks might be Up a Creek?” (My very helpful uncle added, “I’ve been up a creek, except without a paddle.”)

Up A Creek on East Market Street in Howland is a favorite watering hole for locals of all ages and often has live bands and DJs. Other bars where you’ll likely discover familiar faces include Barrel 33, The Grand Resort, and Leon’s in Howland; Buena Vista Cafe, University at Larchmont, Modern Methods, and Urban Tap in Warren; and Station Square in Liberty, and Stonebridge and Stoneyard in Niles (yes, the locals mix them up, too) – just to name a few.

But when I go home… So, here’s the part where I admit that a job opportunity recently took me out of Trumbull County. The longer I’m away, the more I realize there are some things I just miss – and some things I’m extra excited to do this holiday season.

Here’s what I look forward to when I go home for the holidays:

So, the first thing on my list is food, too. I love the new Warren classics, like Beautiful Whirl’d, West & Main, and Nova Coffee Co. I’m really a big fan of all of Trumbull County’s coffee shops, and never miss a chance to stop at The Howland Bean, Market House Caffe, Cortland Main Street Coffee, Girard’s The Daily Grind, Cadence Coffee House in Niles or Good Intentions Market and Café in Kinsman.

I didn’t know I’d miss having Amish County in my backyard until I found myself living in a larger city. When I’m back in Trumbull County, I like to go for a drive and visit End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia. Heading north from Warren, I can swing past Mosquito Creek Lake, which looks lovely in the winter. I keep a count of horse-and-buggies I see along the way. And, when I get to End of the Commons, two items are on the must-buy list: Amish fry pies and saltwater taffy. One caveat here, though: if the weather is frightful, be careful on those country roads!

Something I miss – and something I only came to appreciate as I got older – are Trumbull County’s historic houses and museums. The Kinsman House on Warren’s Millionaire Row (Mahoning Avenue) gets dressed in its holiday best, thanks to the efforts of the Warren Heritage Center. In Niles, the McKinley Memorial Museum puts on an annual festival of trees, featuring dozens of evergreens decorated by local organizations and volunteers. Also in Niles are the McKinley Birthplace Home and the Ward Thomas House Museum. And those are only a handful of the county’s historic homes! You can find a list of Trumbull County’s historic sites and museums on the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau website.

So, if you’re coming back to Trumbull County after time away or you’re looking for a new holiday destination, trust us former locals (or holiday homecomers, if you prefer) – there’s plenty to do this winter in Trumbull County!

Author: Allie Vugrincic