There is a snap in the air, leaves present an ever-changing palette of incredible color, apples hang heavy in the orchard, pumpkins and corn mazes abound. That’s autumn and Mohican Country near Loudonville is a favorite to enjoy the change of season.
“One of the best places in Ohio for fall foliage is Loudonville,” explained Bob Yun, Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau Executive Director. “The changing season brings with it a display of incredible color at every turn on our country roads. Acres and acres of forest and woodlots around every corner ablaze with color create a “not to be missed” experience.” How can your family enjoy autumn in Loudonville?
The official Canoe Capital of Ohio, Loudonville is home of six canoe liveries. “As a State designated Scenic River, the gentle Mohican River has gorgeous scenery that is even more memorable as a river trip that is ablaze with the colors of the season,” Yun said. Most Loudonville area liveries are open daily until the end of October. Trips can be from 45 minutes to 3 hours, even longer. Depending on the weather and river conditions, guests can rent a canoe, kayak, or raft. All liveries are located at or near campgrounds, so plan to spend the day on the river and the night in a camper, tent, RV, even a cabin. Five other area campgrounds have free canoe livery shuttles.
Don’t miss a leisurely autumn stroll through Mohican State Park & Forest 1,100 wooded acres on 45 miles of scenic hiking trails. The two mile hike on Lyon Falls Trail to Pleasant Hill Lake and Dam is particularly scenic this time of year. A 24 mile mountain bike trail circles the Park’s Clear Fork Gorge, a 300 foot deep and 1,000 foot wide National Natural Landmark showcases the colors from another perspective.
Other great places to enjoy the fall colors in Mohican State Park is Overlook Gorge, the 80-foot Fire Tower, the Covered Bridge, Pleasant Hill Lake Dam and Wolf Creek Grist Mill. A driving trip down Wally Road Scenic Byway following the Mohican Scenic River from Loudonville to Greer is great for coloring viewing too.
“Why not enjoy the foliage from the treetops on the Tree Frog Canopy Tours zip line,” Yun added. “Guests spend two and one-half to three hours 125 feet off the ground to get a real bird’s eye view of the virgin forests near the Mohican River off Wally Road south of Loudonville.” It is Ohio’s fastest, longest, highest canopy tour over 4,000 feet of thrilling fun ! Tree Frog Canopy Tours is open Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, through the end of October. Reservations are highly recommended with weekends being the most popular. Weekdays have special rates for adults and children. For more information go to their web page at www.TreeFrogCanopyTours.com or call 740-599-2662.
Located on the grounds of Tree Frog is Natural Fit Outdoor Adventures, Loudonville’s newest attraction – recreational tree climbing. Natural Fit provides an environmentally friendly method of tree climbing to enjoy the autumn countryside from atop the areas’ lush forests. Climbs last about one hour. Great for all ages, especially if the zip line it not for you or your children. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October 31. Reservations are recommended. Contact Natural Fit at 740-599-1599 and online at www.NaturalFitOutdoorAdventures.com.
To celebrate the season the Loudonville Mohican Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau sponsor an annual Fall Foliage Tour, Friday October 12 through Sunday October 14. The Tour, which includes more than 20 stops, guides visitors on a self drive exploration of the best scenery and foliage of the season.
The Tour begins in downtown Loudonville. “Our quaint Victorian downtown greets visitors with a streetscape of colorful awnings,” Yun said. From shoes and electronics, to hardware and jewelry, customers are treated to small-town service rarely experienced today. Specialty shops feature hand-crafted Amish furniture, Native American art, gifts, clothing, and jewelry, art and craft galleries and antiques, gift shops, florists, year-round Christmas decorations and more. Of course, don’t forget to enjoy a bite to eat at one of our many downtown eateries. From down home to upscale and fast food. And don’t skip on great desserts including fresh based pies, ice cream, malted milk shake, even custard. Not all downtown stores are open Sunday October 16.
The Tour continues by following the signs to Mohican State Park with stops in Clear Fork Gorge, Fire Tower, Memorial Shrine, Mohican State Park Lodge, Wolf Creek Grist Mill and more. Free downloads of the Tour booklet are available at www.DiscoverMohican.com in the October Area Events section and at area merchants during the Tour.
For a special treat plan to attend Ceely, an historical drama about the 1896 murders of the Rose family at Malabar Farm State Park. It is performed in the Farm’s barn featuring period music and veteran actors from the area. Audience members are encouraged to come early and explore Malabar Farm by foot. Packages are available that includes the performance, self-guided tour of Louis Bromfield’s 32-room country mansion, “The Big House”, Farm wagon ride, plus a great catered BBQ dinner (or lunch). Most performances were sold out at last year’s play, so advance ticket purchase is recommended. Be advised the show dramatizes actual historical events which took place on the site over a century ago. This includes murders committed by a mentally distributed individual.
The performance takes place October 12, 13, 14 and October 19, 20, 21. Tickets are available by calling 419-522-2726. More information is available at www.MansfieldTrilogy.com.
Not enough fall fun? How about the new Horsetail Run, a family-owned farm located near the Mohican State Park on State Route 97? Horsetail Run features a petting zoo, crafts, farm stand, hay rides, orchard, and pumpkin patch. For a special treat enjoy Horsetail Run’s Haunted Hay Ride and Corn Maze including face painting and a bonfire. It is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday through October 28. More info call 419-994-4696 and online at www.HorseTailRun.com.
Need more reasons to visit Loudonville to enjoy the fall foliage? How about country markets brimming with the bounty of summer’s harvest? Orchards full with a wide variety of “pick your own” apples, such as Scenic Ridge Fruit Farm on SR 89 south of US 30. Don’t miss gardens overflowing with flowers, gourds and pumpkins. Fall Ornamentals Farm north of town offers seven varieties of pumpkins and colorful mums.
“Autumn is a great time to spend the night in the area too,” Yun emphasized. “Overnight guests can spend their fall foliage getaway camping in their RV, in a cozy cabin, quaint bed and breakfast, hotel, former family homes, a deluxe resort, even a luxury castle. In Loudonville guests can rough it, soak in a whirlpool, enjoy a refreshing massage, take a private carriage ride, relax around a campfire or in front of a fireplace enjoying our spectacular scenery and wildlife.”
“Mid-October is usually the best time for peak colors,” he added. “The forecast this year is for a colorful season with some species of tree already turning.” Current leaf conditions and visit info are available on the Visitors Bureau web site, www.DiscoverMohican.com. Click on the Fall Foliage button to get current leaf conditions from the State of Ohio. It is updated weekly.
For more information on fall foliage and other October activities in Mohican Country, contact the Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau toll free at 1-877-2MOHICAN and on-line at www.DiscoverMohican.com.
Halloween, I’m sure. How did this Native American plant become a symbol for this Old World holiday?
What would Halloween be without the smiling countenance of a Jack-O-Lantern to scare away ghosts and goblins? Many vegetables are ready for harvest in the fall, so how did the pumpkin become king of the fall season? Part can be traced to the Native Americans who cultivated pumpkins along with other winter squash like the green stripped cushaw and butternut squash. With their thick rinds, nutritious seeds and tasty flesh they made an ideal storage crop with a history of cultivation dating back more than 3,000 years.
Early colonists learned to cultivate pumpkins from the Native Americans and the vegetable became part of the fall harvest season. But to turn it into a Jack-O-Lantern, we have to go to Ireland where the Irish hollowed out large Swede turnips and carved hideous faces in them. Lit with a candle and placed on the doorstep they warded of evil spirits on all Hallows Eve. The new world pumpkin, with its larger size, bright orange color and easy to hollow out seed cavity made it an easy replacement for the turnip. Pumpkins now come in all sizes from the pocket-sized Jack Be Little to the enormous Dills Atlantic Giant with the 2010 record weight of 1,725 pounds.
Both varieties are grown at Farmpark’s Planters Overlook gardens along with many other types of pumpkins and squashes.
Check out the Corn and Pumpkin Harvest Weekend at Lake Metroparks Farmpark October 8 & 9, 2011.
(Article submitted by our Friends at Lake Metroparks.)