On this edition of Awesome Places to Visit Around Cincinnati, we take you 80 miles northeast for a romp through Ohio history.
In the afternoon, we’ve got Adena Mansion and Gardens, once home to one of Ohio’s most influential governors. In the evening, you can enjoy the splendor and enormity that is TECUMSEH! Then stay overnight at one of Chillicothe’s hotels, cabins, or bed and breakfasts!
It’s hard to overstate the allure of this 300-acre hilltop estate. You feel like you’ve gone back in time to the early 1800s as soon as you enter.
Thomas Worthington’s the name you’re looking for. As Ohio’s sixth governor and one of its first U.S. senators, Worthington owned Adena Mansion. But you probably know him better as the father of Ohio’s statehood. In fact, it was Worthington who hand-delivered the Ohio Constitution to Washington D.C. for Congressional approval in November 1802.
Even more famous than Adena Mansion’s owner was its architect, Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Renowned across the Atlantic for his neoclassical and gothic revival styles, Latrobe articulated a design language that quickly became popular throughout the United States. And Adena Mansion is one of only three surviving Latrobe homes in America.
That’s the sort of stuff you’ll learn while at Adena Mansion and Gardens. You’ll also learn what it was like to live in the 19th century, including what the customs were, how food was stored and prepared, and what it was like to entertain visitors — one of whom, so long as we’re on the subject, was the famed Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Who was he? Glad you asked.
Adena Mansion is great. Really. Thoroughly edifying. But if you leave Chillicothe with your jaw on the floor, it’ll be because of this outdoor play.
As it happens, “play” also undersells this larger-than-life production about a larger-than-life dude. No offense to Worthington and Latrobe, but they got nuthin’ on Tecumseh. The guy was a force of nature, the leader of an Indian confederacy that in 1813 joined with the British to reclaim parts of modern Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. (Maybe we should have let ‘em have that last one, huh?)
All joking aside, the play that bears his name is a monstrous production enjoyed by thousands every year. It features herds of galloping horses, live military cannon in action, and dazzling battle sequences. Best of all, a ticket grants access to a behind-the-scenes tour prior to the show as well as dinner at the Terrace Buffet. Pretty good deal.
Adena Mansion tours are available April through October. They run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more info, visit the Arena Mansion and Gardens Society’s website.
TECUMSEH! Runs Monday - Saturday, June 9 through September 3. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more info, visit the production’s website.
Don’t know where to stay? Check out the Chillicothe Visitor’s Bureau for accommodations.