Olney has a bit of everything and makes a perfect trip for your family. Olney is 2 and a half hours from downtown St. Louis and is worth the drive down Highway 50. There are plenty of things to do, places to shop, and restaurants to try in this family-friendly community.
Known as the home of the White Squirrels, Olney treats these little creatures as local residents. You don’t have to go to any one spot to see them but they frequent the local parks including Olney City Park where you will see people feeding the squirrels on most days.
These small neighbors are so popular that they have inspired several events including a White Squirrel Triathalon, White Squirrel Car Show, and the annual White Squirrel Counts where people travel from all over to help count the squirrels in the city.
Another unique stop in Olney is Musgrove Park. This park offers an Aquatic Center as well as basketball courts, soccer fields, a skate park and two playground areas. One of the playgrounds is Together We Play Park, designed to be accessible to all.
If you are taking a trip without the family, visitors are also urged to enjoy a glass of wine at Fox Creek Vineyards. This winery is located on the original farm from the proprietor’s great-grandmother. Enjoy the low rolling hills and gentle breeze as you sip Richland County’s finest wines.
The city of Olney is also home to several lakes. Whether for recreation or for fishing, these lakes allow visitors to experience all that nature has to offer. Borah Lake, Vernor Lake, and East Fork Lake are all within minutes of downtown and are known for their numerous bass tournaments. East Fork Lake is also home to its annual Rotary Park Festival in July.
Olney’s annual events also include the Richland County Fair. This traditional county fair brings crowds from surrounding areas to experience all it has to offer. Other events include the Cummins Municipal Band Concert Series, OAC Fall Festival, and the Christmas Light Display in the City Park.
The shopping scene in Olney is very unique, offering a great mix of chain retailers and mom and pop shops. Fabulous Finds by Jerri Allen specialized in repurposed pieces and upcycled treasures. The pieces are all French County Shabby Chic and are all truly one-of-a-kind. Wild Imaginations sells local craft and artist a place to display and sell their goods. They also have several clothing stores. The Wooden Hanger is a mother and daughter owned store carrying consignment items, primitive crafts, and accessories.
Once you are ready to grab a bite to eat you have plenty to chose from. One of the biggest recommendation on Yelp is Roll With It Bakery. They serve up coffee drinks as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Make sure to try their cinnamon rolls and their White Squirrel Beignets. Olney also has several Mexican restaurants that have good reviews on Yelp (El Rancherito Mexican Restaurant and El Cactus Mexican Grill). If you are looking for some pizza check out Bobe’s Pizza serving up lunch specials, appetizers, and specialty pizzas like the Super Farouk (sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, green pepper, Canadian bacon, green and black olives). Finish any meal off with a sweet treat from Chilly Willy’s Ice Cream (we recommend the Jezebel Sundae).
End the day at the McClure Guesthouse. This Victorian home is located in the heart of downtown and offers accommodations for up to 8 guests. If bed and breakfasts aren’t your style, there are also other options for accommodations.
Whatever you decide to do in Olney, it is sure to be a good time. Just make sure you have your camera ready in case you come across one of the famous White Squirrels.