Just two and a half hours from Cincinnati, the rolling hills, farms, charming main streets, and scenic landscapes of bucolic Licking County, OH offer a verdant vacation from your weekly grind.
Named in 1808 for the abundant salt licks in the area, the county includes nine towns that are rife with markets, craft breweries and wineries, nature preserves and arboretums, art and music venues, historic architecture, and very lick-able frozen treats.
WHERE TO VISIT
Charming Granville is reminiscent of historic clapboard towns in old New England. Founded by Welsh settlers in the 1800s and now home to Denison University, it’s filled with great local shops, restaurants, and distinctive architecture. Don’t miss the farmer’s market for local eats on Saturday mornings, then wind down your active day with craft brews at Three Tigers Brewing Co.
While Whits Frozen Custard now boasts more than fifty locations in eight states, it all started in Granville. They make their creamy treats fresh daily and only feature three flavors at a time: vanilla, chocolate, and a special weekly flavor.
Meanwhile, Utica’s Ye Olde Mill is home to Velvet Ice Cream. The facility is situated within 20 picturesque acres of forested hills and has been serving up delicious ice cream, fresh food, and fond memories since 1970.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodations in the county run the gamut, from the renown Welsh Hills Inn (named by TripAdvisor as the #1 B&B in the nation in 2015 and the #4 B&B on the planet in 2017), to the elegant—and allegedly haunted—Buxton Inn, to fabulous ‘glamping’ on the grounds of the Orchard House Bed and Breakfast.
WHERE TO GET OUT & ABOUT
Fish, kayak, hike, camp, or bird-watch in Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve, Buckeye Lake, Lazy River at Granville campgrounds, or Riverview Park and Canoe Launch. If you're looking to explore a different sort of trail, visit the five wineries or 10 breweries on their wine and craft beer trails.
You can also visit the 2,000-year-old Newark Earthworks—the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. The Native Americans regard it as sacred ground and it’s where you can learn how the earthworks align with the rising and setting of the moon. Savor more celestial studies at the SciDome, a 30-ft, 4K projection planetarium with cosmic programs like 'Voyage Through the Solar System' and 'Icy Birth, Fiery Death: The Life Cycle of Stars.'
Filled with craft spirits, farm-fresh foods, elegant accommodations, celestial wonders, natural escapes, and local culture, Licking County should be on your shortlist for a relaxing-yet-engrossing get away from your regular routines.
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