Ten Things Tuesday…Mansfield

Written by Dawn.

Previously, Andrea wrote about all the wonderful things Lexington, KY has to offer.  Now that I’ve moved (and am trying to solicit visits from good friends…hint hint :))…I want to let you in on 10 great things to do in the Mansfield area…and there is truly something for everyone (and only a 4 hour drive from the Lexington, KY area…where I know a fair amount of our readers are from)…

1. Mid-Ohio Race Car Track

Mid-Ohio is a road-racing circuit track of over 2.4 miles in length (so basically it is just not an oval shape) that hosts races all through the spring and summer months.  Everything from motorcycles to Indy cars race on this track throughout the season. They race all weekend, from Friday’s qualifying laps to the weekend races. And a little budget tip, it is less expensive to go on Fridays.  While it is not the actual race, qualifying is still pretty exciting, especially to the little ones who have no idea it is not the “real” race.  Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to a race this year but I guarantee we will have the boys out there next year.  Jackson is obsessed with watching racing with his Daddy and will be thrilled to know there is now a track in his backyard.

 

2.  Kingwood Center


Kingwood Center is 47-acres of gorgeousness!! Besides the immaculate mansion, there are beautiful flowers everywhere…all different types (it’s a prom picture dream location :)).  When not walking the grounds looking at all the flowers, there is a pond where the ducks love to be fed.  There is also a peacock that roams the grounds.  Besides all this, special classes are held there throughout the season, including tai chi in the gardens…talk about peaceful!! We previously have enjoyed taking Jackson there to burn energy, feed the ducks and look at the peacock. It really is a great and relaxing way to spend a day!

 

3. The Carousel District


Until a month ago I had never really worked in downtown Mansfield (I was a teacher in a former life :)). But now I am downtown on a daily basis, often walking back and forth from my office to the courthouse.  However, with my mom watching the boys this summer I have gotten some time to take afternoon lunch breaks with them in other parts of downtown Mansfield. And one thing I have fallen in love with is the Carousel district.  There are really nice quaint shops and some wonderful and very local restaurants.  I especially love the Coney Island Diner, where you are instantly transported back to the 1950s. In fact, just yesterday we celebrated Jackson’s last day of summer break by grabbing lunch there…sitting at the counter on swiveling bar stools, eating our coney dogs and looking at all the historic decor.  We like to follow that up with a trip to the Carousel…the first new, hand-carved carousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930s.  These horses are now in demand all over the world.  The Carousel is gorgeous!! And if you are so inclined, you can take a tour at Carousel Works to see how these horses are made. 

 

4. Malabar Farm


Malabar Farm is a state park in the area.  It was originally the home of Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield.  While there, you can explore the rich farmlands, animal sanctuaries and educational exhibits (it would be wonderful for home school field trips or even a weekend educational trip).  You can also take hikes on the nearby trails.  If that is not your speed, you can go to a barn dance, play or picnic in the park.

Fun fact…Laurel Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were married at Malabar Farm in 1945.

 

5. Mohican Area


There is plenty to do in the Mohican area. There is Mohican State Park…where you can stay in the lodge or camp outside, run or walk in the trails (I can vouch for the quality of the trails) and even go horseback riding.  It is a nature lover’s dream.  Close to the state park are several canoe liveries, if you have not had enough of the outside.  We have gone canoeing several times at Mohican, and have had so much fun each and every time. Seriously, I have just touched the surface of all the possible activities in the Mohican area. Check this site out for more activities. Interestingly, there is even a real castle that you can stay in…Landoll’s Mohican Castle.  Yep, you can spend the night in a real live castle…or if that is not up your alley, you can just eat dinner there.  Simply, you can easily make a weekend trip out of the Mohican area alone.

 

6. Richland County Bike Trail


Created from previously used railroads, the local bike trail traverses the Mansfield landscape for 18 miles, starting in North Lake Park in Mansfield and ending in Bellville.  It is mainly black topped and is perfect for walking, running or riding.  When training for my marathons, I was pretty much a fixture on the bike trail.  And I am loving the fact that my boys are starting to grow up on it and love it like I do. It is a great place to spend some time with your family…talking, laughing and exercising.

 

7. Snow Trails Ski Resort

Photo compliments of www.touringohio.com

 

If you cannot visit during the summer months, there is still some winter activities. One is Snow Trails Ski Resort.  Snow Trails is a local ski resorts boasting 15 different trails, ranging from beginners to expert trails. There are also over 6 lift areas to take you to the top of the hill after making a run down the hill.  Don’t have skis? No problem, Snow Trials rents all ski equipment, and snowboarding too, from children’s sizes to adults.  Also, if you have never skied before, no worries, they offer lessons. Again, from children through adult.  This is really a great beginners resort.  If you are not sure skiing or snowboarding is for you, then you can head on over to the tubing course and check that out instead.  And if you are out there for a bit and need to warm up, there is a wonderful dining area inside (with hot chocolate, of course) where you can go to warm up.

Fun fact, I have both held a ski pass and a job at Snow Trails :). Both many years ago.

 

8. Renaissance Theater


The Renaissance Theater is located in the heart of downtown Mansfield and is synonymous with Mansfield.  It is simply beautiful…classic, stately and ornate.  It has hosted such persons as Bill Cosby, Norm Macdonald and Bill Clinton.  It has produced such productions as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  It is also a wonderful field trip location for school kids.  If that is not enough, it also holds the yearly Miss Ohio Pageant. 

 

9. The Ohio State Reformatory


Opened in 1896, this prison housed some of the state’s most dangerous inmates until it closed  at the end of 1990.  It is large, sturdy and absolutely stunningly beautiful.  You might be wondering why I am including a prison that closed over 20 years ago. Well, that is because you will know it as the backdrop for such movies as Tango and Cash and most notably The Shawshank Redemption.  (And, yes, I love that movie).  At the conclusion of filming, the prison is supported by a local preservation society that offers tours of the interior of the facility.  They also do ghost tours at night and conduct a haunted house each year during Halloween season.  If you are in the Mansfield area this is a must-see.

and last but not least…

10. Jones Chips


We do not manufacture Ale-8 here, that all you Kentucky people love.  We do, however, make dee-lish-ous chips called Jones Potato Chips.  Personally, my favorites (okay, you know my pizza obsession? These are a close second :)) are barbeque and sour cream and onion.  Brandon chooses the original.  Even the boys are developing a deep love for them, especially the barbeque.  It is not unheard of for people who grow up here calling and ordering bags for delivery to their houses. Yes, they are that good. So if you are in this area, you MUST stop and buy yourself a bag (or 6). You won’t be disappointed!

So, after learning about all these wonderful places and things Mansfield has to offer, who’s going to be my first visitor? :).

If you have been or live in Mansfield, did I forget any great things to do or places to visit?

Debbie G. - August 30, 2011 - 6:58 pm

Don’t forget the Mansfield Symphony performing at the Renaissance Theater! I spent many lovely evenings there as a part of the Mansfield Symphony Chorus!

Great overview of the area Dawn, I think I even managed to hit most of those when I lived there!

Heather - August 30, 2011 - 9:16 am

Love this post but I hate to burst your bubble….Jones salt and vinegar are hands down the best chips ever!!!!

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