On a cold winter day, we received a letter from reader Pam Kirst, who likes to spend Saturdays in Granville, Ohio, a picturesque college town founded by New Englanders in 1805. She mentions the town's historic inns and village green but then confesses her real reason for going to Granville (35 miles east of Columbus) is to eat chocolate and read books.
She describes a public library with inviting window seats, a neighborhood bookshop, and rival chocolatiers selling sea-salt caramel and English toffee. We put down her note, looked out at the miserably gray sky and thought, Sold.
Even on a damp day, you'll find sparks of color and warmth throughout Granville. Teapots twinkle in Petali Teas, art and gifts fill two floors at Kussmaul Gallery, and young actors shine onstage at Denison University. The chic Granville Millinery Company hosts one- and two-day hat-making workshops, and the rural Welsh Hills Inn serves wine and cheese around a crackling fire.
We perused books at Readers' Garden, and we most definitely checked out those dueling Goumas brothers' chocolate shops -- and even declared a favorite. Though, like Pam, we might need to visit Granville again (and again), just to be sure.
Click ahead for some of our favorite places to shop, explore, eat and sleep in Granville. Pictured: Amy Hamilton of the Granville Millinery Company hosts hat-making workshops in a converted barn outside town.
Green Velvet Frilly displays showcase stylish gifts, including Granville postcards made with photos by the owner's husband. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 587-0515
Readers' Garden Book Store Though small, this shop offers a nice mix of new and used titles. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 587-7744
Wisp Knitter or not, you'll be tempted by the gorgeous skeins at this pretty yarn shop, which also sells a few completed projects. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 587-3593
Pictured: Owner Jennifer Young arranges a bright window display at Kussmaul Gallery.
Granville Millinery Company (pictured) Save your pennies for a workshop with hat maker Amy Hamilton. The $200 per day fee includes materials, food and, of course, your one-of-a-kind, handmade hat. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 587-3580; granvillemillinerycompany.com 
Denison University Big map kiosks around the 900-acre campus make self-guided tours easy. (Check out the view down to the stadium.) Legacy of Light, a comedy about scientists grappling with motherhood two centuries apart, opens February 24 (2012). Note that credit cards are not accepted for ticket purchases. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 587-6527; denison.edu 
Bella Sausage, banana peppers, fresh sage and sweet marinara add zip to the wood-fired wild mushroom pizza at this great new Italian spot. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 920-4032; bellagranville.com 
River Road Coffeehouse Profs and students nurse coffee and scones in the thrift shop furniture tucked throughout this mazelike old building. See Midwest Living's review.  (740/587-7266; riverroadcoffeehouse.com 
Welsh Hills Inn A stately country home blends amenities such as wide-screen TVs and terry robes with personal touches like vases of fresh flowers. Rooms and suites from $165, including breakfast made with farm-fresh eggs. See Midwest Living's review.  (740) 321-1493; welshhillsinn.com 
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