I don’t remember too many Mother’s Days where the weather was inclement. It may be because the fondest memories of Mother’s Day are the days spent with my mother(s) or my children.
Even now, my favorite snapshots of memories are with the grandkids doing something outside.
For our family, visiting gardens or wildlife sanctuaries is a long-standing tradition to celebrate Mother’s Day.
At the top of the list of stands of recurring visits Kingwood Center Gardens here in Mansfield. An outing for everyone, no matter what age, Kingwood Garden is breathtaking all year round, but I prefer to visit in the spring.
For me, the flowers displayed in the garden in the spring bring a liveliness to the day that reminds me of vintage Technicolor films.
In keeping with tradition, Kingwood continues to be a pleasant, interesting, serene and interactive place to visit. Events for artisans, producers and admirers of all things nature are easily found here.
If you haven’t been there recently, the development of the last few years is wonderful and you can enjoy it while strolling the alleys, visiting the house or even spending some time on the terrace with a bite to eat at the cafe. .
Malabar Farm takes a very close second place in recurring Mother’s Day releases. A walk, full of eye candy, down Pleasant Valley Road – past waves of grass corn, red barns and farmhouses, cattle and graveyards – is a vast playground of natural beauty that once belonged to Louis Bromfield.
Although it is no longer a working farm, many agricultural activities take place in Malabar. Spring is the best time to see hatchlings. Every year we seek out the orange and white cat, who usually greets us at the barn door and acts as our host while we ogle kids, rabbits and lambs.
On the way out, a stop at the fence to pet the Shetland ponies is a must, as well as a walk around the pond to see what might be there.
Malabar Farm Big House and Visitor Center often hold events in addition to their regular tours or exhibits. But, many may not know that there are 2.53 miles of hiking trails that take you past the farmhouse into the woods and down to the valley floor where cold streams flow and all the sounds disappear.
Then the trails take you back to the top of the hills where ancient rock formations sit among the trees tapped with syrup lines. There is also a popular 5.27 mile trail for hiking and horseback riding.
I don’t know where we’ll be spending Mother’s Day this year, but in case you’re looking for outdoor places to visit for families, I’ve noted a few options for nature outings a short drive away. of Mansfield.
In the heart of Mansfield begins the Richland B&O Trail.
It covers 18.4 miles and passes through Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville and Butler. You’ll see skaters, cyclists, walkers enjoying the farmlands and glacier-carved forest areas along the route. There are 18 bridges to cross, ice cream stands to visit, and a winery and other local eateries just off the path.
Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield, is maintained by the Richland County Park District and consists of 150 acres of open fields with woods and streams. There are six different intertwined trails totaling just over four miles. From the wildlife lookout tower you can look through and see good depictions of what ancient Ohio was like.
The trails here are natural and rugged. Gorman is also a great place to enjoy some nature activities and programs. One to catch is their Night Sky program.
Fox Glen Park is located on West Straub Road. It is just under a mile away with an easy nature and even pedestrian path for a serene stroll within the city itself. Is known for bird watching, especially Canada geese, wild turkey, cooper falcon and red-shouldered falcon.
The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a 90-acre reserve and bird rehabilitation center offering educational programs.
Over 30 different species of native songbirds and raptors live here as they can no longer survive in the wild. They have a new Treehouse classroom and offer field trips, day camps, and even a Junior Naturalist program.
Live birds of prey and an aviary are outside, but both are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. One of the four trails, the Wood Duck Trail, includes a wheelchair accessible portion.
In total, the trails cover four miles from the sanctuary to the Clear Fork River. Stoller Road Trail is a 1.9 mile trail that takes you along the edge of the Transparent fork reservoir from Lexington-Ontario Rd to Marion Ave. The terrain changes in elevation but nothing drastic, but it’s not a clear path and often a favorite for mountain bikers.
The second trail (upper trail) winds through the woods for 2.5 miles. Keep an eye out for the remains of a stone chimney and two wooden bridges along this trail if you venture there.
Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail begins in Perrysville and features an 8-mile hike through 570 acres of nature preserves, incorporating old-growth forests, rolling terrain, prairie flowers and grasses. This path connects the B&O Bike Trail to Butler at one end and Malabar Farm and Mohican State Parks at the other.
The eight miles has two spurs, including Valley View Spur, which at an elevation of 1,370 feet is one of the highest points in Richland County. Skipping both spurs will make the way about 6 miles. For those who like a more regular path, the cycle path section is the best bet and has some great views to enjoy.
Loudonville bicycle and pedestrian path is 1.5 miles of paved surface that begins in downtown Loudonville, crosses the Blackfork River at Riverside Park and continues along the river and tree-lined State Route 3 to Mohican State Park. The southern part of the trail consists of cycle paths on both sides of the national road.
Coming out of Mansfield on the north side of Charles Mill Lake and Campgrounds:
Donaldson Family Trail runs along a family farm and through some hills and along the river just north of US Route 30. Access to the trail is via Crider Road and it is rated as moderately difficult. The trail is a 2.6 mile loop that follows a hill with some elevation.
River Walk Natural Area is a 3/4 mile path tucked along the Jerome Fork of the Mohican River just south of Ashland and offers the ability to enjoy over 1500 feet of river access. Hiking, bird watching, spring wildflowers and amphibian watching are what draw people here.
Cooke Family Wildlife Conservation Park is also north of Mansfield and runs along the Black Fork of the Mohican River. There are over three miles of hiking trails that traverse a unique mix of grasslands, hardwood forests, pine forests, wetlands, swamp forests, marshes, beaver ponds and floodplains.
The swampy area is said to be home to an unusually large population of northern leopard frogs and pike. There is also a trap shooting range and a three-acre fishing pond.
freer field is tucked inside the city limits of Ashland and has 2 miles of hiking trails, including a one-mile paved loop that seems to be popular year-round.
There are 30 acres of woodland – half of which are beautiful stands of walnut, oak and other hardwoods – and the other half a peaceful pine forest full of holly bushes. The trails also pass through meadows which attract birds and butterflies with the variety of native grasses and wildflowers. In the center of the loop is a large grassy area that provides opportunities for kite flying and Frisbee throwing.
Fowler Woods State Nature Reserve is a beautiful 1.25 mile wooded nature walk with an elevated boardwalk. It’s flat, even and convenient for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and anyone with mobility issues.
Shelby Black Fork Wetlands is located at Reservoir #3, provides a scenic and serene location in town for a lovely walk. There is a 1.25 mile paved trail surrounding the reservoir and a 3 mile wooded trail for hiking.
Although these are known places nearby, there are plenty of other opportunities to be outdoors.