2020 was the year to explore near home and even though people are beginning to travel again, that doesn’t mean you need to venture far to have a memorable getaway.
Tour of a haunted prison, visit Ohio’s only wax museum and take a selfie with a famous robot when you staycation in Mansfield Ohio.
Summer isn’t the only time you can plan a staycation. The entire past year has had most of us staying close to home. I don’t know about you, but my husband and I have enjoyed taking the opportunity to explore near home.
A staycation near home also has some benefits. A stay close to home can save you travel time, the hassle of reading TripAdvisor reviews while you try to determine which affordable hotel to book, and may save you money on food as well.
A staycation can also allow you to explore interesting attractions near home that you may never get around to visiting at another time.
Staycation Ideas in Mansfield, Ohio
1. Mansfield has One of a Kind Attractions
You know I love unique attractions and seek them out everywhere I go. It’s only natural that I would seek them out at home too.
The Historic Ohio State Reformatory & Shawshank Trail
The Shawshank Redemption, a popular Stephen King movie, was filmed primarily in the Mansfield area. Much of the filming took place at the Ohio State Reformatory, an imposing structure on the edge of town. I always recommend visitors to the area take a tour but I’ve talked to many locals who have never visited this historic icon.
The prison doesn’t appeal only to Shawshank fans, it’s also a hot bed of paranormal activity and draws ghost hunters from around the world. Take a tour during the day or visit for one of the special overnight ghost hunting sessions.
A few minutes from the prison is Biblewalk, the only wax figure museum in the state of Ohio and one of the only museums that depict bible scenes and figures in the entire country. You could easily spend 5-6 hours here if you opted to take all 6 tours and see the other displays.
In 2021, the museum will unveil the Museum of Woodcarving which contains the world’s largest collection of wood carvings by one man.
The Mansfield Memorial Museum
Elektro, a walking, talking Robot manufactured in Mansfield by Westinghouse can be seen at the Mansfield Memorial Museum, and is not to be missed. Built between 1937-1938, Elektro was exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and was a BIG DEAL.
He was even considered a celebrity robot. He could walk & smoke (very important at that time ) a cigarette at the same time and followed basic voice commands.
You’ll find an eclectic collection when you visit the museum. In addition to local and war history, keep an eye out for the anthropomorphic taxidermy collection on the second floor.
I bet you never knew Mansfield was this interesting!
2. Mansfield has the Carrousel District
Twenty years ago, I never would have suggested you visit the Carrousel District unless it was to ride the carrousel (not spelled wrong- this is how we spell carousel around here). There just wasn’t much there. Now you can shop for antiques, grab a bite to eat, or if you’re with your family and have small children, check out the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.
If you’re with adults or as a couple, check out the Phoenix Brewing Company, a former funeral home and mortuary, for a craft beer tasting (flights are served in a wooden coffin) or sample wines at the Cypress Hill Winery on the lower level of Hudson and Essex. If you like sweet wines, I suggest you try a Rose. Yum!
Stroll the area during the day or visit during one of the evening shop hops on the first Friday of the month when they resume.
3. Mansfield offers a bit of Nostalgia at the Springmill Drive-In
I like to talk so I prefer to watch movies at home, but at least once each year, I make it a point to watch a movie at the Springmill Drive-In. The last operating drive-in in Mansfield and one of the few remaining in the state, the Springmill Drive-In features two screens for movie-goers.
4. Mansfield entices Race Enthusiasts with Mid-Ohio Raceway
Race enthusiasts flock to nearby Lexington from around the country. Grab a chair and stake out a spot on the lawn or watch the race from the stands as you cheer on your favorite driver.
5. Get Physical on the Richland B & O Bike Trail
The 18-mile trail runs between Mansfield and Butler and offers scenic wooded views with places to stop along the way. In Bellville, you can hop off the trail and visit the antique stores or grab a bite to eat downtown, or finish the trail and reward yourself with an ice cream cone in Butler.
6. Museums & Gardens of Mansfield and Richland County
We’ve already talked about Elektro and the Biblewalk but did you know there are 12 Museums in Richland County to visit? That’s a lot of art and culture to soak in. If you need a break from the learning you can soak up the beauty of the newly redesigned Kingwood Center Gardens which has never been more beautiful. While you’re there, make sure you take a tour of the newly opened third floor of the mansion or sip a glass of wine in the cafe.
Young families will enjoy seeking out the resident peacocks and exploring the Story Book Trail.
7. Dine in Mansfield
You can grab a bite to eat in the fun and eclectic Coney Island Diner, the oldest restaurant in Mansfield or relax in a more refined setting at Skyway East and dine on Kobe beef. You’ll also find ethnic restaurants that include China Town and Athen’s Greek Restaurant. I try not to be biased but I also think the Mansfield area has the best pizza you’ll find anywhere and I’ve eaten pizza around the country and even around the world! I always crave pizza from some of my favorite pizza places that I mention in 6 Pizza Places you must try in North Central Ohio.
8. Mansfield offers Year-Round Activity
Summer may be on your mind, but Mansfield offers year-round activities. The area provides parks for recreation, hiking, fishing, and swimming in warm weather.
Visitors and locals can pick blueberries, strawberries, and apples in season. And when the snow flies, Snow Trails allows guests to strap on skis or a snowboard to brave Mt. Mansfield or fly down the tubing hill with friends.
9. Mansfield is Conveniently Located
Situated between Cleveland and Columbus, Mansfield is a great base when visiting Ohio. Pop on I-71 and head south to Columbus for the day to visit the zoo, art museum, or German Village. Head north into Cleveland and spend the day at the Rock Hall or exploring University Circle. Just over an hour northwest, Cedar Point entices visitors to Sandusky.
Want to learn more about the Mansfield area? Check out these posts: