Jennifer Lachey sees many similarities between Lewisburg, the small Pennsylvania town where she was raised, and New Albany, where she and her husband, Ron, are raising their three children.

Jennifer Lachey sees many similarities between Lewisburg, the small Pennsylvania town where she was raised, and New Albany, where she and her husband, Ron, are raising their three children.

"Everybody supports each other and there's a lot of giving back to the community," she said.This month the community will rally around The New Albany Classic, an equestrian event that raises money for The Center for Family Safety and Healing.

New Albany "is a small community that dreams big," said Craig Mohre, president of the New Albany Community Foundation.

"Our library, the arts center, student lecture series and our community-wide focus on health and wellness are perfect examples of what can happen when volunteers step up to champion projects," Mohre said. "The enthusiasm of our residents is enormous, and New Albany is a truly special place to call home as a result."

The Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts is a community asset that visitors will appreciate. The theater draws big-name acts such as Lyle Lovett and Bruce Hornsby and also provides a venue for local performing groups and students. The center hosts the community's annual lecture series designed to stimulate discussion and enrich the school district's curriculum.

The New Albany/Charlotte P. Kessler branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library anchors one of the town's most kid-friendly spots - Market Square. The library, which has a full schedule of story hours and special events, is a great place to visit. Local kids often head there after school to study and socialize, Lachey said.

The area is home to Learning Express Toys, a store that encourages browsing. Kids and parents are invited to try out toys and games, ask questions or just hang out.

"Kids are in there every day," Lachey said.

The square also has a Starbucks, a bicycle shop and an eclectic gift shop. VeloScience Bike Works wants to help serious cyclists and recreational bikers improve their ride. Tailfeathers Boutique and Three French Hens offers a great dose of stylish clothing and home decor. The shop also has a fun kids' section with unique gifts and playthings.

Visitors will find a warm reception from shopkeepers and restaurateurs throughout the community, Lachey added. Within a few miles of the square are several more inviting shops. Bungalow Home sells furniture, wall hangings, jewelry and interesting home accessories.

Vintage Restyled features an ever-changing mix of antiques, refinished furniture and unusual finds. The store also offers classes for kids and adults. Classes cover a variety of topics from creating projects found on Pinterest to learning furniture-painting techniques, said owner Shannon Gabor. Previous projects for kids include wooden picture frames and flip-flops.

"They used hammers and the sanding block," she said. "We threw it all at them."

She also hosts private parties for friends who want to work on projects together.

Kids also might enjoy a stop at Oakland Nursery's New Albany location. In addition to plants and gardening accessories, the nursery sells gift items and knickknacks.

For fine jewelry and fine art, visit Hayley Gallery. To create your own masterpiece, register for a class at the Purple Dog Art Studio.

For outdoor fun, Lachey suggests hitting the school playgrounds, a destination for local kids even when school is out. The New Albany-Plain Local Schools K-1 building has great playground equipment, added Gabor, a mother of two. The nearby Plain Township Aquatic Center offers warm-weather fun with waterslides, a zero-entry kiddie pool and an interactive water play pool, in addition to a lap-swim pool.

Both Thompson Park and Bevelhymer Park have playgrounds and ball fields.

Family-friendly dining options include Plate, whose menu features healthy comfort food made with local ingredients, and Ella Restaurant, which changes its menu seasonally and makes its own desserts.