Pumpkin pies, cranberries, and mistletoe lead us to the season of shopping, decking the halls, and trying to wedge every possible activity into our schedules. Memories are made here, so let us give you a heads up and reminder of early winter and holiday traditions not to be missed like visiting a Christmas tree farm, outdoor ice skating, and theatre classics like White Christmas. Here’s our Tourism Ten for the season:
Kleerview Farm – Christmas trees and Reindeer
This full-service Christmas Tree farm oozes holiday memories in the making. Whether you want to cut your own tree or pre-tag it for someone else to chop, the option is yours. In addition, the kids love seeing live reindeer, Santa’s Barnyard Express, and a wagon ride to the Christmas house at Kleerview Farm.
Cheers to the Season with Wine & Ale
Cheers to wonderful wine and ale options in Richland County. Take part in the area’s first Winery & Brewery Progressive Dinner on December 2. Guests will be shuttled from 1285 Winery at the Blueberry Patch to Cypress Hill Winery for appetizers and wine, then to The Phoenix Brewing Company for soup and beer, then dinner and wine at the Wishmaker House, and finally returning to 1285 Winery for dessert and wine to end the evening. Space is very limited so make reservations today. Can’t make the date? The Wine & Ale Trail offers locations all year; see them all at www.WineAleTrail.com .
Snow Tubing – no skill required
Grab the kids, the grandparents, and your gang of friends and head out to Snow Trails for snow tubing, no skill required. All ages take to the runs with plenty of laughing and even some screams. Whether you head down the hill alone or hook on for a large group run, tubing is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon. There’s even a separate snack bar at the foot of the hill for warming up and watching. Check their website for special late night tubing dates.
Outdoor Ice Skating – Rediscover and share a favorite retro pastime.
Whether they’re memories of skating at Rockefeller Center in New York or at a pond at your farm as a child, bring back the fun of outdoor ice skating in downtown Bellville, Ohio. The town sets up the rink area after Thanksgiving and then just waits for the weather to cooperate to hold the frozen surface. You’ll find the fun at the corner of Main and Church.
Kid Spots – Release all that energy indoors|
Sometimes cold weather keeps everyone in the house too long. Head to one of our kid-friendly spots to let them use up some of that enthusiasm. Start with the Tiny Tim Shoppe during Christmas, where kids can shop on their own for inexpensive gifts in a safe environment. Then, Little Buckeye Children’s Museum says no matter how cold it is outside, it’s always sunny and warm at the museum. Young children experience exhibits for educational play. New to the museum is The Little Ren, an exhibit and interactive experience for the theatre-lover in the family, equipped with cameras, tech booth, and stage for the pint-sized actor. Also, the Polar X-press rolls into Shelby, Ohio on Sunday, November 22 and captures the seasonal magic (1-6 p.m., train comes at 5 p.m.).
Holiday Traditions – Get ‘em on the Calendar
Before your holiday calendar fills up, find those special events and activities that create life-long memories. Deck the halls? You bet. Visit Malabar Farm State Park for a candlelight evening at the 1940’s era home and Kingwood Center Gardens showcases their themed Christmas Tree Walk. This is also the year for the Herlihy Christmas House. Oak Hill Cottage helps you step back in time, including a NEW history-filled event full of characters from the home’s past at a Victorian Christmas. For those fans of the Shawshank Redemption, the Ohio State Reformatory offers special hours starting November 27 and running through December 20, so show off this attraction to visiting family. And no Christmas season is complete without a day at BibleWalk, offering life-size Biblical wax figures on 5 tours, exhibits, rare Bibles, and a Christian dinner theatre.
A Night at the Theatre
Create a special “night out” with live performances at the Mansfield Playhouse (A Miracle on 34th Street, A Tuna Christmas) and the Renaissance Theatre (Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical, The Nutcracker – Neos Dance Theatre). And don’t forget to pick up a gift certificate for someone and share a performance in the new year.
Give Gifts from the Area
Whether it’s a favorite food or something made in the area, consider shipping a local gift to loved ones. Join long-standing traditions like shipping Jones Potato Chips to those in the military or to friends who moved away. Need a healthy gift? What about boxed fruit from Apple Hill Orchards? Sweet items like homemade Bundt cakes from Eatmor Bundt or chocolate from Squirrel’s Den are always a hit. And don’t forget to spread good cheer, or good “Cheers” that is, with local bottles of wine and growlers of beer from one of our wineries or brewery in town. For the film buffs, what could be better than ordering an online gift from the Ohio State Reformatory to showcase our local connection to Hollywood? And finally don’t forget about all our local artists creating paintings, pottery, and jewelry. That one-of-a-kind gift is waiting for you at the Mansfield Art Center, Artspace, or Element of Art. Main Street Books finds the perfect book with local authors. And don’t forget Small Business Saturday is November 28.
Pumpkin Seed Bulk Food Co. is the spot for special ingredients to make all the season’s favorite food for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Visit their famous wall of spices, along with candy flavorings and decorations for baked goods. Both Pumpkin Seed and Wayne’s Country Market help you stock the fridge with specialty cheeses and meats for all your party trays and serious snacking, including products from the region.
Hometown Parades & Tree Lightings
So make it official! Head to a local parade or tree lighting activity. Head to downtown Mansfield on November 21 to usher in the season with the morning’s Holiday Parade. Christmastime in the City and the Mansfield Tree Lighting take place on Dec 4 in the Carrousel District. Ontario lights their tree in front of the city building on December 8 at 6 p.m. and continues to celebrate with WVNO Holiday Spectacular, a light show to music at the corner of Rt. 309 and Stumbo Road by Sears from Nov 26-Jan 1. Light Up Lexington on Nov 30 from 6:30-7:30. Bellville’s Yule Log Lighting @ the Bandstand is Dec 3, 7-8pm, Candlelight Concert at the Bellville Bandstand on Dec 4, 7-8 pm, and the Bellville Christmas Parade on Dec 5, 11am-12pm. There are also Holiday Church Tours (Dec. 4) and Holiday House Tours (Dec.5).
Whew, tired yet? For dates, times, and details, visit www.MansfieldTourism.com under our Calendar of Events section or call 800-642-8282. Immerse yourself in the local sights, sounds, and tastes of our area!