2020 has become the year to explore near home. We’re sharing a few reasons to plan a staycation in Mansfield, Ohio to help you do that!
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 chose to cancel several trips to avoid the 14-day quarantine that was mandated in the areas we had hoped to visit. This year may not have turned out the way we’d hoped but it did provide us the perfect opportunity to explore near home and appreciate our own backyard; both figuratively and literally.
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 would never consider visiting at another time.
9 Reasons to Staycation in Mansfield, Ohio
1. Mansfield has One of a kind Attractions
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. Grab some popcorn, watch the movie, and spend part of the day touring the prison, and driving the self-guided Shawshank Trail– something you won’t find anywhere else.
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.
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
Fifteen years ago, I never would have suggested you visit the Carrousel District unless it was to ride the carrousel. 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 traveling 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 one of the 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
In normal years, race enthusiasts flock to nearby Lexington from around the country. Popular AMA Motorcylce and Indy Car Racing are held on the track as well as many car club events. 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 in 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 a 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.
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. You can read about that 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 to visit the zoo, art museum, or German Village. Head north into Cleveland and spend the day at Jacobs Field 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: