At times we’ve experienced bouts of spring-like weather this winter season however, the cold and snow are still our companions. Although winter can be unpleasant and inconvenient, the season is also a source of great enjoyment. Winter is winding down, so the Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau suggests their favorite Winter Tourism Ten so you don’t miss one of the area’s favorites before the season ends.
Cross Country Skiing/Sledding
Get your blood moving and your heart pumping by trekking across Richland County on your cross country skis. Trails are open in several parks from dawn until dusk; weather permitting. The best part is the trails are free to use by the public! Gorman Nature Center has four miles of trail set aside exclusively for skiers and hikers. Another option is the Bridle Trail at Malabar Farm State Park that stretches 88 miles and connects to other parks. Alternatively, the B&O Bike Trail meanders through picturesque-back country in Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville and Butler. Shelby Reservoir No. 3 is also a destination for skiers and has a 3-mile nature trail or a 1.25-mail paved trail open for exploration. Take a break during your adventure to enjoy sledding at locations on the trail.
Escape cabin fever by taking a relaxing hike across the trails of Richland County. Several parks have hiking trails available for burning off the winter blues. Malabar Farm State Park has 4 trails that travel through various terrains and will accommodate for several skill types. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary has eight trails open to hikers of all skill levels which will take you through 90 acres of scenic wooded glades. Download trail maps from the “Parks & Reservoir” and “Skiing & Snow Tubing” tabs on mansfieldtourism.com.
Whether you’re young or young at heart, Snow Trails Winter Resort is the hot spot for winter activity that is fun for all generations. Your grandparents may remember having to carry their sleds back up the hill for another run in the snow, but at Snow Trails the lift cuts downtime and gets you back in the action quickly. “There are no age or height restrictions!” says the Snow Trails website. So bring your giant toddler or your tiny grandparent and experience how much fun the snow can be.
Snow Trails celebrates winter with The Annual Winter Ski Carnival. Skiing, snowboarding and tubing slopes are operating normal hours and include extra festival activities. Live music, brats, beer and specialty races for kids enhance the excitement of a day at the slopes. It’s possible that when you think of winter you don’t think: historic sugaring techniques however, if you want to have a fun weekend activity then go to Malabar Farm for the Maple Syrup Festival. This festival takes place during the first two weekends in March and immerses attendees in Ohio and food-producing history. You might even pick up some fun facts to share at your next dinner party. Before heading home, don’t miss the opportunity to purchase a bottle of locally made syrup onsite
Take a few hours out of your busy day to unwind retro-style. On the Corner of Church and Main St. in the Village of Bellville, the traditional ice rink is sanctioned off and if the cold weather is good for anything, it’s good for making water freeze. Strap on your skates and enjoy an hour gliding around the ice.
Cold winter nights give you a great reason to settle into a comfy seat at the theater. Downtown Mansfield has two theaters that are running shows for the winter season. The Renaissance Theatre is having multiple shows of Hot Mess: A Lethal New Musical. For something kid-friendly, the Mansfield Playhouse will host their production “Into the Woods Jr.”, a sure hit for kids and parents alike. Fancy yourself a detective? The Ohio State Reformatory is hosting a “whodunit” style Murder Mystery dinner with the goal of catching a killer.
Snow Day Solutions
Snow days can quickly turn to boredom and pent up energy. Luckily downtown Mansfield has the solution for a fun snow day for satisfied kids. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum showcases several interactive exhibits that create an environment to stimulate learning while playing. Children get to burn off excess energy and parents get the added benefit of knowing their child may learn something. Across the street is the Richland Carrousel Park where adults and kids alike can spend time riding on this indoor work of art. From there, walk down to Main Street Books and peruse a large selection of new and used books you are sure to find something to combat long-cold days. Ask for recommendations for local authors and stories! Check the bookstore’s calendar for events for kids and adults.
Winter warms on the Wine and Ale Trail
Seek refuge in the comfort of Richland County’s wineries and breweries. Explore the Wine & Ale Trail. Several wineries offer locally made wine as well as unique dining experiences to enhance your evening cold and dreary to warm and cheery! Register yourself for an afternoon of wine, appetizers and painting at the Winery 1285 at the Blueberry Patch, no experience is required but you may find yourself a new hobby. The Vault Wine Bar features work by local artists every Saturday, and will even allow you to become an artist yourself at a canvas painting art class. Registration is required so make sure to get your name in soon! Drop in to The Phoenix Brewing Company and enjoy live music and craft beer in an historic building.
Winter gives you a chance to explore indoor culture. Currently the Mansfield Art Center is hosting the Glass Matrix exhibit which features several artists and will be available to view until March, 6. If you want to spruce up your living area to combat the winter blues, Element of Art Studio & Gallery and Artspace are your stops for unique and local art to display in your home.
Hibernate all winter long
If you’re determined to boycott winter entirely, check out these businesses to help you carb up and relax for your deep sleep. Cooper’s Mill can provide all-natural, locally-made jams and jellies to sweeten anything you’re eating. Or skip doing any work and just buy handmade chocolate, fudge and popcorn from the Squirrel’s Den in downtown Mansfield. Eatmor Bundt has a selection of cakes and loose leaf teas that are the starter’s guide to “staying inside for the day.” Show winter you don’t feel the cold and make a visit to Relax, It’s Just Coffee for a hot chocolate, coffee or tea in a relaxed environment. After you get your sweets, head out to buy a book at Main Street Books and you can pretend you’re exploring a world where winter doesn’t exist (but your chocolate and coffee does).
Whether you want to embrace the cold and enjoy winter weather for what it is, or if you’re going to avoid stepping outside at all costs until April, then Richland County has the answers. Check the Calendar of Events on www.MansfieldTourism.com for dates, times, and plenty of ideas.
Article written by CVB intern: Adam Bloir
(Photo: Levi Davis cross country skiing at Gorman Nature Center)