Mill Street Distillery
As Columbus continues to transform into a busy, bustling city, it’s tempting to retreat somewhere a little more peaceful. Luckily, located about 30 miles east of the city, you can find Licking County.
Licking County has many sides. With awe-inspiring natural scenery, a rich history and a thriving arts and dining scene, there’s not a lot you can’t do here.
“The sky is the limit, so let your imagination wander,” says Explore Licking County Executive Director Dan Moder. “What we really want you to do is create your own experience in this amazing place.”
The Great Outdoors Journey
The Trout Club
Man playing golf
Park District has 11 parks, reserves and preserves that offer an array of possibilities, including off-leash dog parks, bird watching, horse trails and waterways for fishing and canoeing. Outside of the park district, visitors can also find scenic trails and garden displays at Dawes Arboretum. Founded in 1929, the arboretum encourages education on nature and the preservation of forests.
For campers, the Lazy River At Granville is the perfect place to have a true outdoors experience with lodge rentals, laser tag, zip lining, beach volleyball and swimming. It’s also a prime spot for weddings and other outdoor celebrations.
The Town Experience Journey
With the opening of Thirty One West last fall, the city of Newark has been united through music. This music and event space hosts local and national talent alike, such as the Wayfarers, Celts Crossing, and Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons.
“It was clear what the space was intended for,” says Tom Atha, who purchased Thirty One West’s building and helped transform it into a music hall. “In the past, it was a ballroom turned furniture showroom, but really, it was meant to bring people together.”
Thirty One West
Thirty One West isn’t the only place in Newark that’s gone through a makeover. On March 1, Brick Alley Donut Company opened up shop at 56 W. Main St. The historic building had been vacant for five years before its transformation.
After exploring, you might find yourself eager to stay in Licking County for another night or two. The Buxton Inn, located in Granville, is described as a “living history museum” by owner Jennifer Valenzuela. The 19th-century inn has housed famous and esteemed guests such as former president Abraham Lincoln. And if you’re paying a visit to Denison University or just looking for a romantic getaway or retreat, Granville Inn offers overnight packages that suit everyone’s needs.
The Historic Journey
You don’t have to go far to see ancient history; it’s right here in central Ohio. The Newark Earthworks are the world’s largest earthen enclosures. It’s believed that the Hopewell people built the Earthworks between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D. There are three surviving segments: the Great Circle Earthworks, the Wright Earthworks and the Octagon Earthworks. Originally, the structure covered more than four square miles.
Architecture history buffs no doubt know the name Louis Sullivan – the “father of skyscrapers” and Chicago architect responsible for the Midwest’s “jewel box” banks. One of them, the Louis Sullivan Bank Building, sits right in downtown Newark.
Children and adults alike can immerse themselves in both the present and the past by visiting The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology. The Works, located in Newark, has interactive science, art and history exhibits, including exhibits such as a flight simulator and an Ohio mastodon. **JERRIE MOCK
“History is so hands-on,” says Managing Director Marcia Downes. “We want children to touch, hold and engage with artifacts from Licking County’s history and pre-history.”
In 1964, Newark’s own Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world. A true-to-size bronze sculpture of Mock stands in The Works’ courtyard.
The Daytrip Journey
Velvet Ice Cream has long been a Licking County and central Ohio staple. The high-quality ice cream has been around for more than 100 years, and the Utica facility offers free public tours so families can see firsthand how the famous ice cream is packaged. Velvet Ice Cream opens for the season April 1. For anyone 21-plus, Mill Street Distillery, also in Utica, offers distillery tours and tastings.
Velvet Ice Cream
YE OLDE MILL
Ye Olde Mill at Velvet Ice Cream Company in Utica, Ohio, Wednesday, April 30, 2008. (Photo by Timothy E. Black)
Do you love shopping for hidden treasures? A number of antique shops are available in Licking County. Finders Keepers Village, located in Heath, is considered more of a “village within a store” and represents more than 200 vendors. If the outdoors are more your style, Pigeon Roost Farm hosts PumpkinFest, and Legend Hills Orchard offers apple and peach picking. During the holidays, check out Timbuk Farms’ Christmas tree selection.
The Food Journey
Licking County is home to a number of markets, including the Canal Market District. The district serves as a hub for produce grown by people all over central Ohio. It’s home to places such as Market Street Soda Works, which offers more than 120 different flavors of soda from all around the country. If you’re looking for beer, Buckeye Lake Brewery has a vast selection and also brings in a variety of visiting food trucks, such as Moe’s Original BBQ and Mai Chau.
Canal Market District
If comfort food is what you’re searching for, Watts Restaurant in Utica offers everything from roasted pork and ham to homemade desserts, such as strawberry pies and banana splits. Meanwhile, the Pub on Broadway offers high-quality pub fare favorites with a twist, such as its bourbon bacon burger.
The Welsh Hills Inn, located in Granville, was named the TripAdvisor 2017 No. 2 B&B/Inn in the U.S. and, in 2017, was named No. 4 in the world for the same category.
The Gathering Journey
If you’re in search of a location for a company retreat, wedding or family reunion, settings like the Bryn Du Mansion are certain to make any gathering memorable. The 52-acre estate has been a part of Granville since the early 1900s, making it a great spot for a wedding, small or large. There are also meeting spaces and catering options for those looking for a spot to brainstorm during a company retreat.
“We have everything the big city has,” says Bruce Cramer, Bryn Du Mansion’s executive director. “Except for big city prices.”
Bryn Du Mansion
DoubleTree by Hilton Newark is also equipped with a 5,000-square-foot meeting space. Its close proximity to downtown Newark makes it a prime sightseeing spot. For a larger gathering, the recently completely TC Pavilion at the Trout Club can accommodate between 160-350 guests. With an indoor and outdoor bar, a pool and a fireplace, there are also plenty of amenities to keep everyone entertained.
For more information and ideas, visit www.explorelc.org.
Hannah Bealer is an editor. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.
- More on Velvet Ice Cream
- More Licking County highlights
- More on T he Works
- More on Mill Street Distillery