Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Ohio. Find It Here. and Experience Hartville.
What do you do when you want to get away for the weekend and are traveling with four generations? Read on. I have an idea for you!
My family was recently invited to visit Experience Hartville. Located in Northeast Ohio, this fun destination is one that will draw you back over and over again. We already can’t wait to visit again. And soon. I’ll share why, but first I want to get a few things out of the way.
Where is Hartville Located Anyway?
You’ll find Hartville a short drive from Canton or Akron, about an hour from Cleveland and my home in Mansfield, two hours from Columbus or around four from Cincinnati.
If you’re flying into Hartville, you’ll find Akron/Canton (CAK) to be the closest airport (around 10 miles away) with Cleveland (CLE) the closest international airport.
It doesn’t matter where you’re traveling from or who you’re traveling with, if you’re headed to the Experience Hartville campus, I can guarantee that it’s worth the trip. Just make sure you arrive during business hours. The current days of operation and hours are Mon., Thurs., Fri. and Sat. from 9am to 5pm.
What is Experience Hartville and Why Should I Go?
The Experience Hartville Campus consists of Hartville Hardware, the largest independently owned Hardware Store in the country, Hartville Marketplace, Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery, the Shops at Hartville Kitchen and a salad dressing manufacturer for Hartville Dressings. The complex sits on 200 acres with room for growth.
If you enjoy browsing boutique shops and specialty stores and eating incredible food, this is the location for you. Within minutes of the Experience Hartville campus, you’ll find a cute downtown with more to explore, the beautifully decorated Stewart Mansion at Quail Hollow Park, Bloom Hill Flower Farm, and the 35,000 square foot Hartville Thrift Shoppe to name a few places you want on your list of things to do in Hartville.
The Campus makes a great location for a day trip or, as my family recently discovered, an overnight getaway (though we honestly could have used another night to see and do more, so you may consider a weekend or midweek getaway).
What we did and Why I Think Experience Hartville is a TRUE Destination for Everyone.
I know a good writer isn’t supposed to use cliches, but I have to say that I truly believe Hartville is a destination for everyone. I visited with my mom, husband, son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby; four generations, and everyone enjoyed it, though the grandbaby wasn’t feeling well.
Our only regret was that we were only there one night. We easily could have stayed busy another day and have decided we would need two nights minimum on our next trip.
We arrived in Hartville around noon and the activities began as soon as we jumped out of our vehicles.
We were treated to a VIP golf cart tour to learn more about the history of the campus and it was fascinating. Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market started as an animal auction just down the road where you now find the Sheetz gas station.
The auction was successful, so they started selling snacks for all the hungry attendees. That snack shop was the precursor to Hartville Kitchen Restaurant, whose homestyle cooking still uses the delicious family recipes that were served in that snack shop. Adjacent to the restaurant is the bakery that sells the best cakes, breads and cookies.
Hartville Marketplace now has over 60 retail shops that sell a broad range of items and has become a great spot for businesses to get started. You’ll find specialty food vendors, clothing stores, home decor, jewelry shops, specialty boutiques and the brand-new Fiesta Dinnerware outlet that opened after our visit.
When Hartville Hardware outgrew its space down the road, it was moved to the campus as well and now you’ll find hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space so you can truly shop to your heart’s content.
Less than ten minutes from the Hartville campus is Quail Hollow Park. The park comprises 700 acres with paved walking trails, mountain bike trails, hiking trails, equestrian trails, camping, and geocaching.
Plus, during the winter season, the park offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Rental equipment is available. This is a great spot to take a break from shopping and get some fresh air.
While I’d love to return to camp, this time we were there for a quick look, so our focus was on Stewart Manor. The home was built in 1929 and has incredible architecture. You’ll see a safe room, dark room and many other interesting features in this 40-room home.
The grandbaby wasn’t interested in the home tour so she played outside with her grandpa while the rest of us met docents, Pam and John, for a sneak peek of the holiday preparations that were underway for their annual holiday event, Deck the Hollow.
The decorating had just begun but we saw enough to know that we want to return for the annual Deck the Hollow tour that kicks off December 8th. Each year the home and trees are decorated in a different theme. This year, the theme is based on the popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. You must purchase your timed tickets in advance for this event.
After our tour of Quail Hollow Park, we wrangled the baby back in the car and headed back to the hotel so she could eat a snack before heading to Hartville Hardware’s Annual Christmas Shop Open House.
Hartville Hardware covers 300,000 square feet so it wasn’t possible for us to explore all of it before dinner, but we’ve visited before and my husband has browsed through the tools and Carhart section forever while I’ve shopped in the houseware department.
On this trip, we wanted to check out the Christmas Shop. I expected great things and was not disappointed. It was gorgeous!
I loved the decor that features nativity scenes, holiday gnomes and ornaments galore. They even offer free ornament personalization so we had to pick up a few for our Christmas tree this year.
The main highlight for many was the 1,800 square foot Idea House turned Gingerbread House where families could get their pictures taken with Santa. The home will be up for the holiday season and makes a great backdrop for your photos.
We split up to browse the selection and shop.
Before we left we found the YETI Personalization Station and our worlds were rocked.
Experience Hartville gifted me a tumbler with my logo and I loved it so much that I bought tumblers for my son and daughter-in-law too. How cute are these?
Hartville Kitchen and Bakery
We could have shopped longer and by the time we checked out, we were almost late for our dinner reservations next door at Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery. As we stepped inside the revolving door, we were immediately met with the scent of fresh baked goods. It smelled delicious and made our bellies grumble.
Our dinner was incredible and we certainly didn’t leave hungry. Even the kids’ meals offered generous portions. We barely had room for dessert but Hartville Kitchen is known for their pies so we couldn’t resist ordering a couple pieces to try. I had the Cherry Pie and it was so yummy.
If you plan to visit, I highly recommend reservations and plan to arrive a bit early as there may be a line to get in. This restaurant has served made-from-scratch meals from local sources for generations and is a popular dinner spot.
Don’t Miss the Penny Pressing Machine in the Lobby
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the new penny pressing machine so I could add some pennies to my book. My intention was to keep them for myself but my granddaughter was enthralled so not only was this trip full of memory making experiences but it looks like she has her first collection as well.
She ran around in her newly purchased Christmas pj’s from the Christmas Shop and “read” her book to her great grandma once we were back at the hotel.
Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market for Breakfast
We awoke the next morning to an incredible sunrise and hopped out of bed to head to Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market for breakfast at Sarah’s Market Fresh Grille.
We joined a short line at the cafeteria style restaurant and placed our order before grabbing a table and hunting down my husband who had run off with the grandbaby to check out some of the booths.
While we were waiting for our food we stopped at the other end of the counter to meet Amy Yoder, the owner of Anna Mary’s Donuts and Coffee Mill where we picked out a selection of donuts, including a seasonal Pumpkin Spice Donut. The doughnuts are all made daily using fresh ingredients and they were yummy.
World Chocolate, Inc.
We spotted World Chocolate Inc. so we stopped in to learn about the chocolate making process and to make our own chocolate bars. For only $5 you can choose white, dark or milk chocolate and up to three toppings each for a custom-made bar. Each bar takes about 15 minutes to cool and wrap for you to take.
This was a fun stop and one that is great for the kids or chocolate lovers in your family. In addition to the make-your-own bars, you’ll find already made options in the store, plus, a showcase with chocolates to purchase.
We spent time exploring some of the shops and booths inside the three-acre Hartville MarketPlace. With over 60 unique shops, we definitely could have spent the day shopping and I’ve not even mentioned the booths outdoors that can encompass 12-acres depending on the number of vendors!
Voted one of the best flea markets in the country, the Hartville Flea Market has been in operation since 1939 and is certainly a spot you’ll want to add to your list of things to do in Ohio.
While planning your visit to Experience Hartville, make sure you take a look at the events page. The Marketplace has over 40 events a year including a Night Flea, 5K, and more.
During our visit, Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery hosted a salad dressing tasting that was a lot of fun and highlighted the salad dressings made on campus.
After the tasting event, we explored the Shops at Hartville Kitchen and spent a lot of time in the kids shop above the bakery shopping for the grandbaby. By this time, she’d gotten tired so the menfolk took her out to the vehicle to see if she’d take a nap before lunch.
Front Porch Cafe
Speaking of lunch, our next stop was to the Front Porch Cafe, the original location of Hartville Hardware.
The Front Porch Cafe opened in July of 2020 and is a charming coffee shop that serves amazing handcrafted coffee and espresso based drinks, including the best Chai Tea I have ever had. Not only will I return to Hartville to shop, I’ll plan a trip back for that drink. It was that good.
We placed our order for flatbread pizza, panini, wraps and BBQ sandwiches and sat outside on the patio.
The grandbaby was happy and ready for food. We placed our orders and talked to the owner, Lyn Nisly, about the future plans he hopes to incorporate that would include live music. We really could have talked to him all afternoon.
My mom couldn’t get over how huge the cookies were and had to try the Peanut Butter Cookie that she shared with everyone at the table.
We left with a box with some of their fresh baked pastries that included more cookies for my mom and muffins for the rest of us.
Hartville Thrift Shoppe
Next up was the Hartville Thrift Shoppe, a 35,000 square foot thrift store next door to the Front Porch Cafe and also part of the original location of the Hartville Hardware Store.
When you make a purchase from the Hartville Thrift Store, you’re assisting Mennonite Central Committee, MCC, in community work and relief work around the world. Their core values are relief, development and peace. Some of the work they have done include providing clean water in Haiti, education programs in Serbia and nutrition classes for mothers in Nepal while working through local churches to share God’s love and compassion.
We browsed the selection of books, clothes, toys and vintage and specialty items (located in the front display cases) before the grandbaby had a meltdown and we knew it was time to go. This is definitely a stop that I look forward to exploring further in the future.
Bloom Hill Farm
My son, daughter-in-law and grandbaby headed home while my husband, mom and I drove to Bloom Hill Farm, a flower farm where we designed our own bouquets from blooms grown on the farm and hand fed the farm goats. The grandbaby, who sniffs every flower she sees, even fake flowers, would have loved this spot. But alas, you can’t mess with naptime.
Bloom Hill Farm just wrapped up their sixth season. The property and the business are a dream come true for owners, Judd and Shannon, who longed to spend more time with their young children. After researching different farm options, they decided to give flower farming a try. And they’ve been successful in part, due the community support that they’ve received.
They offer a variety of flowers when in season, including specialty blooms like three-to-four-foot-tall Marigolds, specialty tulips, dahlias and sunflowers. They sell their product at the Acme grocery stores in the area, offer floral services for weddings and host special events like Dahlia Bar Tuesdays where you can show up and create your own bouquet, U-Pick & Design and Date Night Experiences.
How fun does that sound? Flowers and a date with my husband. Sign me up.
This past year, they also hosted a Summerfest and Dahlia Festival. The floral stand at the end of their drive uses the honor system and also gives passers-by an opportunity to see the goats, which can really make your day. Don’t worry if you don’t see them when you pull in. If you get close to the fence and they’re outside, they’ll come running.
After leaving the farm, we headed back in town to make a couple more stops before they closed. Modern Vintage is a fun shop to explore and has an eclectic inventory that ranges from classic restored furniture to the unexpected.
I found a huge, framed map that I thought would be great for my office but my husband doubted it would fit the space I had to work with. And he was probably right. This is a great stop if you’re on the hunt for unique home decor pieces.
Best Bib and Tuckers
Our final stop was to Best Bib and Tuckers, an upscale consignment shop for women, with items that range from costume jewelry to designer purses and LOTS of items in between. I found a handmade bib set for my grandbaby that is on the way and a pair of my favorite jeans for way less than I pay for them in the store.
If you’re on the hunt for gently used women’s clothes at a decent price, this is the store for you. They also take consignment items so next time I visit Hartville, I’m going to take some of my clothes along to sell.
Where to Stay when Visiting Experience Hartville
We stayed at the Comfort Suites Hartville-North Canton property located next to the campus. I can’t recommend it enough.
An all-suites property, our spacious room with two queen beds and a pull-out sleeper sofa could have accommodated all of us but since we have very different bedtime routines, we opted for two rooms and had an adjoining room with a king bed and sleeper sofa.
This set up worked perfectly. We propped open the doors between the rooms so we could all visit and the grandbaby could roam and run freely.
I had plans to play a game, check out the heated indoor pool and take a quick walk on the trail at Fichtner Park, located directly behind the hotel, but after a day of exploring, my family was worn out and fast asleep shortly after arriving back in our room.
The property has been recognized as the number one rated Comfort Suites for cleanliness and guest satisfaction so my family felt right at home.
A word of caution, the toilets don’t have a lid on the toilet seat so if you’re traveling with an 18-month-old, you may want to close the bathroom doors so they aren’t tempted to throw things in the toilet. Just sayin’.
We all enjoyed our visit to Experience Hartville and every one of us left wishing we’d had more time to explore. Not only did we find plenty of things to do, but we also met amazing people everywhere we went.
There was not one person who did not show us amazing customer service and the business owners went above and beyond to welcome us to Hartville and share the love they have for their community. Now that is a great destination!