There is a new word sweeping the nation, and that’s Agritourism. Also referred to as Agritainment, the industry is defined as: “activities carried out by a farm or ranch that allow members of the general public for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities” (nmlegis.gov). In Licking County, OH you can find an abundance of great rural gems open to the public during the Fall Season. From Traditional Farms & Orchards to Outdoor Entertainment, here are the places to visit you don’t want to miss this Fall.
1. Pigeon Roost Farm – Small Town Hebron
Do you love Fall family activities? Have you been searching for places to visit with your family that brings you back to simpler days; a place you can create and share memories with your family? You will love Pigeon Roost Farm in Licking County!
Pigeon Roost is a working family-owned and operated farm that has been steadily building up a Fall following for the past twenty years. Originally started by Ralph and Janice Jutte, the couple’s original ambition for the farm came from wanting to instill a good work ethic in their three children and give them a resource to save for college.
My Town had the pleasure of spending time with Ralph, and I can tell you, this goal was accomplished and then some! Not only do the Jutte children all have prestigious college degrees, but their daughter Amy, came back to help run the farm and begin the Fall Agritourism features you see today.
What To Do At The Farm
At Pigeon Roost, you’re going to get all your Fall favorites, like shopping for varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and curated gifts in the market area. But, what really sets Pigeon Roost apart is their Great Pumpkin Fun Center. Here there are over 30 Activities for kids of all ages! If you have young children, you’ll love looking at all the animals, playing the Milk Jug Toss, and playing in the Conestoga Corn Wagon. You will also love the Mini Corn Maze- made especially for parents to see those little bobbing heads! There are tons of inventive ways to play spread over their 25 acres! For older kids here are a few new highlights: Pumpkin Vine Zip Lines, Ninja Warrior Course, and an Expanded Corn Maze! Click Here for Video.
What My Town loved the best about Pigeon Roost? Their incredible value and old-school feel. This is a family farm, and you can feel that when you visit. This is not a commercialized space- it’s large, but everything has a personal touch put on it. The prices are affordable and reasonable for Fall décor and use of the activity areas. The Jutte family is clearly interested in serving families, and the enjoyment they get is more important than charging high prices for their produce and letting kids play on the farm. These are the kinds of places you hope will continue for a long time. I could go on and on about Pigeon Roost, but why don’t you come to see it for yourself before the season ends?
2. Van Buren Acres – Small Town Hebron
Located in Hebron, of Licking County, Van Buren Acres is A family-owned and operated Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm with unique features you can only find here. Currently run by two Van Buren brothers, their dad bought the farm in the 1950s. The family farms corn, soybeans, and wheat in addition to their dedicated 80 acres of pumpkins!
The Pig Races were My Town’s favorite activity and a major crowd pleaser! Check out Video Here. Van Buren Acres has become known for its star attraction- The Corn Maze Design. Last year, it was a Celebration of Dolly Parton, and Dolly was involved in this process! Don’t you want to see what they have in store for this year’s design?
In addition to the abovementioned here are a few additional highlights of Van Buren Farms:
*U-Pick Locally Grown Pumpkins
*Explore the Corn Maze and Sunflower Trails
*Ride on the Cow-train
*Jump on One of Two Kids Jumping Pillows
*Eat Pumpkin-Inspired Goodies
3. Branstool Orchards – Small Town Utica
Welcome to Branstool Orchards! A must-stop open-air market located right outside the adorable small town of Utica, OH in Licking County. Branstool’s legacy goes back almost 40 years to 1983 when Marshall Branstool started growing peaches on the current land Branstool Orchard resides. Ten years later he started growing apples as well. Today, Branstool is known all over the state for its peaches and grows over 40 varieties of apples!
When visiting, you will love browsing through the open-air market that’s been specially curated with local items. Plus, there are great outdoor play items set up for kids, wonderful backdrops for selfies, and a beautiful U-Pick Flower Area! Check The Website for today’s Fresh Picks! Click Here for Video.
4. Lynd Fruit Farm – Small Town Pataskala & Johnstown
I would have to say that Lynd Fruit Farm is a Licking County Institution. This family farm has been in operation since 1911- so they are definitely doing something right, and their large location on the corner of Rt. 310 & Morse Rd is hard to miss. Known for U-Pick Apples, Lynd now has a market where you can find just about anything local.
Besides fresh fruit, you can also find specialty items & gifts like packaged muffin mix, jams, and soups. Something My Town loved was “The Sweet Shop” located in their outdoor Snack Shack. Here you could get fresh apple donuts & fritters to begin your experience at Lynd!
Where To Eat During Your Fall Adventure
5. Ray Ray’s Meat + 3’s – Small Town Granville
Ray Ray’s Meat + 3’s James Anderson is bringing an Old Southern Tradition to Small Town Granville!
While you’re out exploring the beautiful small towns and agricultural destinations of Licking County, you should stop in to try one of the best BBQ restaurants in Ohio- Ray Ray’s.
Owner James Anderson has been in business for 12 years as part of the popular Columbus-based Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. Word of mouth has spread about his awesome Southern Style BBQ, offering a traditional choice of smoked meat and three sides. His love of BBQ eventually had him taking vacations around BBQ places he wanted to visit while he perfected his craft. Eventually, his dream of opening a brick & mortar establishment in Small Town Granville, OH (where his family farm resides) was realized in the Spring of 2021.
My Town’s Experience
My husband & I had an awesome experience here. He loves to catch me in my “happy place,” which usually means food that I am not afraid to dig into and get messy! We had the pleasure of talking with Manager Jason Cameron while digging into a huge sampler platter called “The Meat Sweats. But one of the most fun takeaways for us personally, was that this establishment serves Scotch Eggs.
My husband who is uber into his Scottish Heritage was blown away by the quality and the very fact that they serve them. We have never been to a restaurant in Ohio that has served them before. For those of you who don’t know what they are – it’s a hardboiled egg completely wrapped in sausage. Traditionally Scotch Eggs are deep fried, but at Ray Ray’s they use the leftovers from their smoked sausage and pack it on tight. No parts of deliciousness are left behind here!
Extremely fun and satisfying dining experience.
6. The Nutcracker Family Restaurant – Small Town of Pataskala
A truly unique and amazing small town diner that you do not want to miss. This place is BELOVED by its community. Started in 1995, this diner’s great food, 1950s soda shoppe feel, and nutcracker décor had the community hooked. So much so that when the diner tragically burnt down in 2005, the community helped to rebuild it in 11 months and replenished the nutcracker collection! The nutcracker collection is comprised of donations from all over the community and now has over 230 in the restaurant.
While the history here is reason enough to come, the food is outstanding! I would recommend indulging here. My Town had the “Meatloaf Stack” (see photo gallery). This is comfort food at its best! When you come make sure to call ahead- this restaurant has become a foodie favorite, and there will probably be a wait.
Where To Stay During Your Fall Adventure
7. Cherry Valley Hotel – Small Town Newark
Doesn’t this picture say- beautiful, relaxing, maybe take me there this Fall??
My Town has known about Cherry Valley Hotel for quite some time but has not had the opportunity to stay until now. Turns out my timing was great because they have been recently purchased and underwent a large renovation!
Cherry Valley Hotel is a great place to stay to get that small-town feel without giving up any creature comforts. There is an onsite restaurant, bar, pantry featuring Starbucks Coffee, and a brewery, so, you will not be at a loss for any amenities. But, the best part of this hotel is that it’s surrounded by small towns; so it retains that wonderful small-town feel My Town readers love!
The rooms are updated with contemporary décor and great views of the gardens, pond, & gazebo recreational area. The gardens are beautiful this time of year. It’s lovely to take a little walk after dinner or view from your room or the Craftsman Kitchen and Terrace (Restaurant on Site). The outdoor patio around the gardens and pond was a great workspace for My Town. I loved sitting out with my laptop & coffee and just letting the ambiance of the space take over.
Cherry Valley is ideally located near several great small towns- Granville, Newark, Utica, Hebron, & Buckeye Lake. So, when traveling in Licking County to visit small towns you can retreat to Cherry Valley Hotel for the perfect end to your day!
A Note From My Town & Licking County Photo Gallery
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