Spend some time with My Town Travels as we tour Licking County this travel season and show you all the small town charm, history, and culture they have to offer! Spend some time getting lost to intentionally immerse yourself in their unique outdoor spaces like Blackhand Gorge, the Welsh Hills, and The Newark Earth Works soon to be a National Heritage Site! Plus, My Town readers know that you will always find great food spots in our articles, and Licking County has some amazing ones to share! So join us on our Spring tour, and make sure to come back to see what we get up to in Licking County in Summer and Fall!

Fireside Music at the Welsh Hills Inn

THE WELSH HILLS INN

Have you ever been in love? If you have, then you know that being in love makes you want to tell everyone about this amazing thing that you found. This great discovery that is so wonderful you won’t stop talking about it to your family and friends. Well, in this case, the wonderful thing happens to be a place called the Welsh Hills Inn located right outside small town Granville, OH. From the moment of arrival, my husband and I knew this was going to be an amazing stay. On the drive up to the Inn, we spotted hammocks in the trees, and once we grabbed our luggage we were greeted by the sweetest little footman (actually foot woman), the owner’s dog Wrigley, who is a part of the experience as she helps guide you around the Inn.

THE REASONS YOU COME TO AN INN

Gorgeous local & fresh ingredient breakfast omelet- with a table set beautifully and comfortably to make you never want to leave

The next several days were filled with discovery and relaxation. The Innkeepers Jeff and Bobbi, have beautifully curated this five-room Inn with eclectic pieces from their travels and personal interests. There is a heated pool and hot tub with a great seating area outside. In addition, there is a wonderful sitting porch and grounds for hiking, fishing, and even skeet shooting! Oh and I would be remiss not to mention the five pm wine and cheese happy hour!

But, I think my favorite memories here are the downtime created around the fireplace, a glass of wine, or a beautiful meal. It’s always amazing to me how someone who lived a completely different life before, steps into a passion role and does wonders. For example, the innkeeper Jeff, who spent his career as an engineer- steps into the role of a chef and is absolutely amazing! I could have talked with him for hours about his love of local, hunting, and cooking.

People are so fascinating when you take the time to sit and chat, and that is what is so special about places like the Welsh Hills Inn. You will not want to pick up your phone, tablet, or computer. You will want to sit and talk to other guests about their journeys around the fire, pool, or breakfast. It’s no wonder the Welsh Hills Inn was voted The Number One B & B in The U.S. by TripAdvisor.

ON THE TOWN IN GRANVILLE

Eisner Center for the Performing Arts Broadway Entrance

A visit to Denison University’s Eisner Center for the Performing Arts puts you in the Heart of Downtown Granville, When visiting, you will see why this small town gem is worth scheduling into your itinerary when you visit Licking County!

Here is the background: ** “The Michael D. Eisner Center for Performing Arts is home to the departments of dance, music and theatre, creating a dynamic, interactive space where students and faculty can collaborate across disciplines. The building is named for Michael D. Eisner ‘64, a Life Trustee of Denison University, a former chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, and founder of the Tornante Company”(denison.edu).

Here is why My Town thinks the Eisner Center is amazing for Visitors:

  1. It sits in the heart of Granville. You can literally walk out its front doors onto the heart of Broadway for shopping & dining.
  2. They have a wonderful museum open to the public, with changing exhibits supplied by notable well-traveled alumni and other contributors. This is also a teaching museum (see pictured).
  3. Arts events are free and open to the public and the famed “Vail Series” Events are only $15.
  4. The calendar of the Eisner Center gives travelers a chance to see great up -and -coming performances and art in this high- class setting that happens to also be set in the adorable small town of Granville. You may just get to see the next Jennifer Garner or Steve Carell (notable alumni, see photo gallery)!
Prospect St, Downtown Granville, OH

INSTITUTIONS OF THE PAST TRANSFORMED IN THE PRESENT 

It seems like every small town has unique old buildings that capture your attention and your imagination. It
is wonderful when you’re able to visit a town that has invested resources in these institutions and brings them back to life, or they have been lovingly maintained.

In Licking County, there are several places My Town was able to stop by this Spring you don’t want to miss. Places that are great monuments to the past and beautiful representations of the present and what the future holds for these small towns.

Bryn Du Mansion

Bryn Du Front Lawn Polo Games

Such an interesting place to visit, even the name sounds intriguing 
doesn’t it? The name pays homage to the rich Welsh heritage of Licking County meaning “Black Hills” in Welsh. Bryn Du is not only a great place to travel for feature events like their Bryn Du Art Show, or the Daffodil Show and Sale. But also to see the Italianate Villa type structure built by local businessman Henry D. Wright in the 1860s and enjoy the beautiful grounds.

Bryn Du Mansion is over 56 acres and is home to a field and carriage house, and even a polo field! Did you know that there is a polo league in Licking County? My Town found this fascinating, and you can join the fun for Free on Sundays! Bryn Du also plays host to wonderful free outdoor concerts, so pack your lawn chair when you visit this season, so you don’t miss out on this unique location!  Click here for event info.

The Midland Theatre

You may remember the Midland as the great movie house of old, or you may remember the Midland as the theater that the late Businessman and Philanthropist Dave Longaberger, led the charge to save and restore in 1992. But, there is no denying that today the Midland Theatre is the gem for performing arts in South Central Ohio.

The Midland Theatre in Concert
The Midland Theatre in Concert

Bringing in acts from all genres from comedy to country, rock, and children’s shows, performers clearly love coming to the small town Midland. My Town had the pleasure of getting the VIP backstage pass- and getting to see how the community rallies around the Midland through its members and outreach programs.

Did you know every theatre has a House Mouse? If you did not know about this I won’t give away the fun- just make sure to ask when you visit. But let’s just say My Town loves a good story!

The Works

I had not been to The Works in over a decade, and it was cool back then! In that time, their dedicated staff has done nothing but making it even more experiential for Licking and surrounding counties. The Works truly has become a destination for hands-on learning for children and is now a Smithsonian Affiliate and a Member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

Glass-Blowing Demonstration at The Works
Glass-Blowing Demonstration at The Works

The Works now also boasts a state-of-the-art planetarium – With a program put together and overseen by The Ohio State University. There is so much to do here there is no way to contain it all in just one section. From the history of Licking County to hand-blown glass presentations and science labs- The Works is making this museum The Small Town Destination every day.  

But some of My Town’s favorite parts of The Works are the Train and Land of Legend Village Exhibits. We Just can’t help it! It’s The part of The Works that physically takes you back in time. It makes your mind wander to a different golden age of travel and time. Plus, in the Land of Legend, You get to see parts of the actual 1800’s Scheidler Machine Works (see history here), in which The Works was founded. 

The National Heisey Glass Museum 

My Town's favorite Small Town Movie "It's A Wonderful Life" displaying Heisey Glass in the famous scene
My Town’s favorite Small Town Movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” displaying Heisey Glass in the famous scene

Taking a trip to Heisey Glass Museum is a must-do in Licking County! Not only is this a vital component to past industry for Licking County (The A.H. Heisey & Company1896-1957) But now, the museum preserves, and helps interpret these pieces for collectors all over the country. Did you know there is a Heisey Collectors of America, Inc? There is and in fact, they are the organization that began the museum in 1972. The museum has done a wonderful job of displaying the glass in fun and interactive ways; showing all the different movies, eras, and ways it was used that seem somewhat fascinating to our fast-paced culture today! The Heisey Museum’s history, charm, and beauty are worth your time to explore in Licking County. Not just to explore Licking County’s industrial past, but our American Cultural Past.

THE DELICIOUS AND DELECTABLE OF LICKING COUNTY

There are wonderful choices in Licking County when it comes to great food. From formal dining to casual downtown staples, here are a few My Town Picks:

Ghostwriter Public House 

My Town Founder Kristy Burns, at Ghostwriter Public House- Eating Their Famous Cheese Curds!

Pictured to your left is a very happy food picture- My Town Founder Eating A Very Special Cheese Curd at Ghostwriter Public House! **A Must Stop for food in Licking County in small town Johnstown. When I first saw the name on my itinerary, I was super intrigued. Given what I do for a living, I started imagining some sort of tavern-style hang out where all sorts of laptop lifestyle and Edgar Allan Poe types got their meals, which would have also been cool, but luckily, the name has a much truer meaning Read More Here….

Elliot’s Wood Fired Kitchen and Tap

If you’re on the look for a great family-run restaurant in Central Ohio with a small town feel, look no further than Elliot’s Wood Fired Kitchen and Tap! A local favorite for Pizza, Tacos, and Meatballs this family-run restaurant delivers! LOVED that they kept this historic building’s namesake, and that everyone we ran into at the bar could tell us everything about the town. Read More Here….

1922 on the Square 

Ahi Tuna Tartar at 1922 on the Square

You all know I get excited about food, but it’s not often I get excited about seafood in the middle of Ohio. I was so happy I was in the mood for some the evening my husband and I dined at 1922 on the Square in Newark, because everything we had was outstanding! 1922 is a Newark, downtown fine dining restaurant owned and operated by Alex and Stephanie Athan.

The current location is where Alex’s great grandfather George Athan started the famous “Natoma Restaurant” in 1922. The Natoma was a successful family restaurant and staple of the community for 88 years. Make sure to check out 1922’s full story! Read More Here…..

NOTABLES

There were some amazing food choices this trip- too many to choose! Here are a few more great ones My Town is hoping to spend more time in the next round. 

The Green Velvet Downtown- Downtown Granville

The Pub on Broadway-  SteamRoller Bagel Sandwiches-  Granville Inn –  Day Y Noche-  

MTT ANTIQUE AND MARKET FINDS

Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This includes Thrift shops, Local Eats, and the like! In Licking County there are great Antique and Market Finds everywhere you look. Below are some of My Town’s Favorite Finds.  The Green Velvet, The Original Goumas Candyland, The Kussmaul Gallery, Footloose Vintage, Village Coffee Company

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A NOTE FROM MY TOWN

We hope you enjoyed this article on The Top 11 Small Towns To Visit In 2021! My Town visits are based on exploring and discovery as a first-time visitor and promoting the unique assets small towns have to offer.

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My Town CEO, Kristy Burns in Fayettville, WV
My name is Kristy Burns (@mytowntoday). I am a travel entrepreneur, writer, influencer, and founder of the platforms My Town Travels & My Town Today. As a lover of small towns, travel junkie, and small town foodie; I work with small towns to showcase their unique attributes, experiences, and businesses to the My Town website and social media audience, to tell their unique stories. Click Here for Full Bio.