If you’re looking for your next great road trip weekend getaway, consider heading a little over two hours north to Licking County, named for the numerous salt licks that attracted herds of deer and buffalo. Encompassing 25 towns and five cities, the county is home to Denison University, The Longaberger Company (and the world’s largest basket building), historical sites, classic theaters, museums, an array of excellent eateries and breweries, arboretums, and The Newark Earthworks—the largest Native American earthworks in the nation.
The Cherry Valley Hotel is a great basecamp for your explorations. Previously named the Cherry Valley Lodge, a $13 million-dollar renovation endowed the property with 60,000 square feet of event space, updated guest rooms, the new O&E Tap House, a forthcoming spa, a lobby bar, meeting spaces, a coffee shop, and a terrace restaurant that uses local ingredients and offers classic cocktails.
The hotel’s pastoral location is complemented by the courtyard’s terraced pond (with catch-and-release fishing), a patio, numerous out-of-the-way seating options, and gas fireplaces. S’mores kits are available at the front desk. Further, the cooking demonstration by Chef Mynor Estrada is informative, fun, totally delicious and highly recommended. Absolutely bring your appetite for that one.
Fun & Entertainment
Nearby Dawes Arboretum offers 2,000 acres of serene gardens, plant collections, and natural areas. There are eight miles of hiking trails, a four-mile driving tour and some 17,000 plants. Bryn Du Mansion in Granville is on the National Register of Historic Places, consists of 52 rooms and covers more than 50 acres. It hosts art and flower shows and polo matches and is a popular wedding venue. If you are a science, history, and/or glassblowing fan, check out The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology in Newark. The museum features interactive history, science and technology exhibits, a planetarium, and a working glass-blowing studio.
For evening entertainment, check out the local musicians and renown artists (like Dar Williams and Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer) that frequent the Thirty One West venue or the line-up at the historic Midland Theater, which offers a breadth of performing arts events, classic films, comedians, and more.
Food & Drink
You will not go hungry in Licking County. Fuel up with upscale sandwiches, nachos, and other great eats at Snapshots Lounge in Granville. The biscuits at their sister establishment Snapshots Coffee & Kitchen are not to be missed. Elliot's Wood Fired Kitchen and Tap in Newark offers an array of wood-fired pizzas, succulent sandwiches, salads, and tasty street tacos.
Wrap up your evenings at a slew of great brewpubs. Three Tigers Brewing in downtown Granville serves an array of Vietnamese and Vietnamese-inspired food, as owner Scott Wilkins lived in the country. In Newark, Trek Brewing’s beers often have outdoor-inspired names, as owners John & Kristin Ream are passionate trekkers and backpackers. Or simply return to the Cherry Valley Hotel to sample many local beers at the O&E Tap House.
To best enjoy all that Licking County has to offer, consider a longer weekend stay to explore the attractions at leisure, take your time to really enjoy the culinary experiences, the beer, and relax and unwind.
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Check out the gallery above to catch a glimpse of what Licking County has to offer.