25 Fun Things To Do in Bellefontaine, Ohio

The small but mighty town of Bellefontaine, OH has lots to do, see, and eat!

a historic bellefontaine building
HER, REALTORS:
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Bellefontaine

By

Jean Linder

on

Jan 21, 2021

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Bellefontaine, Ohio is the county seat of Logan County, about 48 miles outside of Columbus. Ohio’s highest point-- Campbell Hill-- is located here. Formerly a Shawnee settlement, Bellefontaine is now home to around 14,000 residents. It’s name is French for “beautiful fountain,” and we’ve corralled a list of the top 25 things you gotta see and do while here.

Concrete is such an everyday sight on the streets that it may surprise you to learn that up until not too long ago, it wasn’t used for making roads. Image courtesy of Jessica Decloux on Facebook.

1. Court Avenue

www.roadsideamerica.com | Downtown

Civil engineers may geek out about this the most-- or construction workers-- but Court Avenue is the oldest concrete street in America. In 1891, George Barthelomew convinced the city of Bellefontaine to try using concrete to build a street-- he even posted a bond guaranteeing it would last at least five years. Called “artificial stone” at the time, concrete was a newer building material and its use for street paving hadn’t been considered yet.

Women drinking

They gave him the street near the Logan County Court House-- hence the street’s name, Court Avenue-- with which to experiment. Obviously, it worked-- because 100+ years later, it’s still intact! In 1991, a statue of George was erected in the street-- it’s closed to traffic to help preserve it-- and the plaque reads “He started the better roads movement.”

The Logan County Courthouse towers above Court Avenue and the statue of George Barthelemew. Image courtesy of Mapio.net.

2. Logan County Courthouse

www.sconet.state.oh.us/Courthouses/logan | Court Avenue

Hopefully you’ll never need to enter this Second Empire building for legal reasons. Built in 1870, the Logan County Courthouse truly represents the area-- after all, it’s built from locally mined sandstone, and its architect was from Cleveland. In 1973 it was entered into the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Logan County Historical Society has two other buildings-- the Transportation Museum and the Orr Mansion. Image courtesy of the Logan County Historical Society Facebook.

3. Logan County Historical Society

www..loganhistory.org | E. Columbus Ave.

The Logan County Historical Society contains a wealth of information and artifacts from various stages of local history, including the Native Americans and the Underground Railroad.

Vintage Plane

Quite comprehensive, the local Genealogical Society is also part of this historical society. Whether you’ve got roots here, you just moved, or you’re driving through, local historical societies are always worth the stop in our opinion. It helps you understand how each particular town lived through the same periods of time, and gives you a great sense of where the pride and culture of each town lives. Don’t forget the gift shop!

While it may not hold the illustrious title any longer, Mckinley Street still makes for interesting pictures and history. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

4. McKinley Street

www.roadsideamerica.com | Downtown

McKinley Street was named for President McKinley, and it used to be the World’s Shortest Street. Clocking in at just fifteen feet in length, it’s place was usurped in 2007 by Ebenezer Place in Scotland at six feet and nine inches. Oh well-- it’s still pretty cool, even if it’s the World Second Shortest Street.

Mary Rutan Park is worth a stop even if you’re just traveling through town on your way to somewhere else-- it’s a great place to stretch the legs and burn off some steam. Literally, if it’s a hot day and you have your swimming suit handy! Image courtesy of Peak of Ohio.

5. Mary Rutan Park

bellefontaineoh.myrec.com | E. Williams Ave.

Mary Rutan Park is 28 acres of woods that give shelter to numerous birds and other wild animals throughout the year. Gorgeous during any season, folks can enjoy the park in various ways-- hiking, picnicking and swimming at the Hoffman Pool are popular activities.

women wearing jacket

You can also birdwatch and take some fantastic pictures. Mary Rutan Park boasts four shelters-- all rentable-- three playgrounds, tennis courts, golf and basketball courts.

Snow tubing is also available, though skiing is the primary form of entertainment on Mad River Mountain. Image courtesy of Only In Your State.

6. Mad River Mountain

www.skimadriver.com | Snow Valley Rd / Zanesville, Oh

In nearby Zanesville, Ohio, Mad River Mountain used to be a sugar camp. But around 1959 Bellefontaine resident Fred McPeck had the idea to take advantage of the vast mountain vistas and turn it into a ski resort.

Women looking sky

The highest mountain in the area, there’s plenty of coast room and is the closest ski resort to places like Columbus, Dayton, and Indianapolis. Amenities include a bar, wine club, summer lodge rentals, and live web cams.

A photo of a dancer from the 2018 Annual Summer Powwow at Zane Shawnee Caverns. Image courtesy of Crazy Crow Trading Post.

7. Zane Shawnee Caverns

www.zaneshawneecaverns.com | 7092 State Route 540

We’re really impressed by this place! Native American-owned-and-run, Zane Shawnee Caverns offers a ton of activities that can be enjoyed as a group of friends, family, or as an individual. Camping (both primitive and modern), fishing, swimming, cave and museum tours, even a pioneer village are all offered. Cabins, too. What we especially love about this place is its dedication to preserving and educating folks about the Native American values as part of PROJECT N.A.T.I.V.E. They also hold an annual summer powwow, now in its 47th year. So not only will your visit here be full of whatever action and adventure-- or relaxation and quiet-- you choose, it’ll also be educational and help preserve Native American culture.

These beautiful textiles just beg to be taken home, washed, and snuggled. Image courtesy of The Olde Mint Antiques Facebook.

8. The Olde Mint Antiques

facebook.com/oldemintantiques | 135 W. Columbus Ave.

Old Mint Antiques has over 30 dealers filling their historic building to the brim with treasures waiting to be found and take home. Founded in 2010, you can find anything from antique books to blankets, lipstick holders, dolls, furniture, and more… there’s four-- yes, FOUR-- floors stuffed to the ceiling.

The Olde Mint Antiques

9. Cherokee Hills Golf Course

cherokeehillsgolfclub.com | 4622 Co. Rd. 49 N

As soon as you walk onto the green, the serenity overcomes you. This 18-hole golf course is a step above the rest with its lush treelines and path that undulates around the gently rolling hills.

Man smoke cigar

The clubhouse provides food and beverage-- and a respite after the challenges of the courses-- and the courses have 4 sets of tees for dinner skill levels. Have troubles? Ask the friendly staff, who are always happy to give advice or tips and tricks for their green. Want to grab some green while on the green? Participate in their monthly Cash Scramble in the summer and win up to $1,000!

Don’t just see yourself making a hole-in-one, see yourself here, amongst the natural beauty of the Liberty Hill Golf Club. Image courtesy of the Liberty Hill Golf Club.

10. Liberty Hills Golf Club

www.playlibertyhills.com | 665 Rd. 190 W.

Liberty Hills Golf Club offers a gently sloped terrain, complete with a creek and tall oaks. The fact that this golf club is family owned and run is evident in their dedication to bring golf to all ages with junior leagues and player development. Leaders in great service, if you meet the owners Roy and Donna, don’t be shocked if Roy remembers you the next time he sees you. They’re real “people-persons,” and Donna’s love of flowers is reflected in the club’s natural beauty. This family does golfing right-- they even curate a blog that keeps folks connected to the club and each other.

At one point, the window boxes on the fake houses had real tulips, with windmills that would wave them gently in the breeze. Image courtesy of Heritage Ohio.

11. Holland Theatre

thehollandtheatre.org | 127 E. Columbus Ave.

The only Dutch-style historical theatre in the United States, Holland Theatre is a call back to when movie theaters didn’t just offer the fantasy of the movie-- the very building and decor were fantasy, too. The interior of the theatre is designed to look like a Dutch cityscape, and to this day it hosts movie screenings, concerts, and other live productions. Since 1931, this venue has been the beautiful beating heart of the arts scene in Bellefontaine and Logan County. Whether you’re just visiting or live here, support this cultural icon with patronage and donations. It’s a true gem!

Try the Lemon Jewel Quark-- it’s won awards, and one bite will show you why! Image courtesy of Peak of Ohio.

12. Blue Jacket Dairy

www.bluejacketdairy.com | 1434 Co Rd 11

Why visit Blue Jacket Dairy? Two words: CHEESE and QUARK. This farm is the beautiful product of wife Angel’s love of cooking with husband Jim’s love of farming. Their award-winning lemon quark is a must-try, and the cheese is as fresh and yummy as it gets. This is your chance to literally get farm-to-table products directly from the source-- cutting out the middleman and making sure your money supports a local family farm. Even the kids get into the cheesemaking action by applying labels-- so if they’re a bit off center, we certainly don’t mind! Blue Jacket Dairy gets its name from Blue Jacket Creek nearby, which in turn is named after the famous Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket.

Hang out and craft or take home and create-- either way, you’ll love this place! Image courtesy of Craft Paper Scissors.

13. Craft Paper Scissors

www.craftpaperscissors.net | 142 W. Columbus Ave.

This amazing place is creativity central! It’s a craft supply store, creation space, and vinyl & stencil-making service all in one! If they don’t have the supplies you need, they’ll order it for you. And their workshop is well-stocked for crafters of all ages to come and create-- they’ll clean up after you, help you with questions, and show you how to use equipment. They also custom-create vinyl and stencils for projects of all sizes and types AND classes and workshops with professionals. We love this place for any day-- rainy days and Mondays will never get your family down again-- and for any age!

These calm waters are perfect for a variety of both active and relaxing water activities. Image courtesy of TripAdvisor.

14. Indian Lake State Park

parks.ohiodnr.gov/indianlake | 13156 State Route 235 N / Lakeview

A short drive from Bellefontaine is Indian Lake State Park. The lake is man-made, offering everything from fishing to boating. Campsites are available seasonally, and there are two beaches for swimming. Heron, swans, egrets and more make this a rest stop on their migration routes each year. Campsites are suitable for tents or campers, with heated shower houses and laundry facilities available. This 5,100-acre park has something for everyone!

Three generations of love and effort go into making Marie’s Candies the best you’ll ever have. Image courtesy of Peak of Ohio.

15. Marie’s Candies

www.mariescandies.com | 311 Zanesfield Rd. / West Liberty

The story of Marie’s Candies begins in the 1940’s when polio struck Winfred King. To express thanks to the friends and family that assisted them, King and his wife-- Marie-- began making candies as gifts. Eventually, the candy making replaced the farming King could no longer do as their main source of income. By 1956, Marie’s Candies was officially in business, and three generations of the King family have since kept the business alive. Their candies are old-fashioned and the kind of quality that major companies can’t hope to compare! So when that sweet craving hits, head over to Marie’s Candies. You won’t be disappointed!

Marman Family Farms puts Christ first in everything. Image courtesy of Marman Family Farms.

16. Marmon Family Farms

www.marmonvalley.com | 7754 State Route 292 S. / Zanesville

Marmon Family Farms is not shy about their religion-- it infuses everything they do and how they operate their farm and horse camp. Life on this farm is simple, and it heralds a return to a way of life often not lived in today’s modern world. Horseback riding, archery, and barn dances are all offered. Whether you want to visit for a few hours, a whole day, or overnight, Marmon Family Farms will make sure that you have a lovely visit getting in touch with the gifts of nature.

Lush forest and ponds make Myeerah Nature Preserve an important resting and nesting spot for birds and other animals. Image courtesy of the Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters.

17. Myeerah Nature Preserve

bellefontaineoh.myrec.com/info/facilities | 7405 State Rt 540

Maintained by the Bellefontaine Joint Recreation District, Myeerah Nature Preserve is 450 acres of protect lands for flora and fauna. Open dawn to dusk, you can hike, fish, birdwatch, photograph and picnic to your heart’s content. There are also two ponds-- one is 10 acres and the other much smaller-- ideal for activities.

A portal to wonders lies ahead… Image courtesy of the Ohio Caverns.

18. Ohio Caverns

ohiocaverns.com | 2210 East State Route 245 / West Liberty

So, again... Technically this isn’t in Bellefontaine, but it’s only 15 minute or so drive away. The Ohio Caverns offer two ways to explore the caverns in the summer and one in the winter. Hailed as “America’s Most Colorful Caverns,” the rich geological history and amazing earth formations that dazzle. The caverns are family owned and run, so they make sure it’s family-friendly and safe, while doing their best to preserve it just as it was discovered in 1897. Bring the camera-- the caverns are gorgeous, and you’ll want some great family pictures and selfies.

Mac-A-Cheek of the Piatt Castles is open to the public and available for weddings and events. Check out their old-fashioned 4th of July celebration! Image courtesy of Dayton.com.

19. Piatt Castles

piattcastle.org | 1 mile outside of West Liberty, Oh

Built in the countryside-- the official address is a P.O. Box-- the Piatt Castles were established by the Piatt family around 1820’s. The Mac-A-Cheek house has been preserved in the family for generations-- just like Mac-O-Chee, but open to the public-- and is now a museum with over 200 years of Ohio history and family artifacts on display. Tours are self-guided, with plenty of chairs for resting and taking in the ambiance. And paging all you happily-engaged couples-- they’re an unforgettable gorgeous wedding venue with three locations to choose from and a wedding coordinator!

Grab your bike, helmut, and water for this gorgeous Ohio bike path. Image courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

20. Simon Kenton Pathfinders

www.simonkentonpathfinders.org | Urbana, OH

Biking enthusiasts, rejoice! Simon Kenton Pathfinders is a group of dues-paying members created in 1997 to develop a shared-use trail in Champaign County. Over 300 members and growing, SKP follow the unused Erie-Lackawanna Railway from Bellefontaine to the end of the Miami River-- a whopping 120 miles through three counties! The trail completes the connection between the SW Ohio Trail Network and the Ohio-to-Erie Trail. It’s partially paved, partially gravel, and partially spur in good condition-- which means that you’ll get plenty of challenges and personality from this trail. Member dues are extremely reasonable, so even travelers who aren’t regulars can afford to support the SKP and their great work on this community resource.

First Fridays Brewfest drew a happy crowd! Community events build friendships as well as neighbors. Image courtesy of Bellefontaine First Fridays Facebook.

21. Bellefontaine First Fridays

www.ci.bellefontaine.oh.us/first-fridays | Downtown Bellefontaine

Music, food, games, vendors and hometown pride all feature heavily in Bellefontaine’s First Fridays. Events include a BARbell Crawl, Chocolate Walk, Art & Wine Walk, and more! This nonprofit event brings everyone together-- it’s all about community, and we’re all about that!

What started as a food truck with a cult following will soon will have a downtown Bellefontaine cantina as of May 2020! Image courtesy of the Flying Pepper Cantina Facebook.

22. The Flying Pepper

www.facebook.com/flyingpeppercantina | 137 W. Columbus Ave.

Total yum-dilly-uptious here, folks! The Flying Pepper started in 1994 when Humberto brought home a box truck and slowly converted it into a food truck while working at a local college. His goal is to create food true to both the Ohio seasons and his Latino roots. He accomplishes this happy marriage by working with local farmers to source the freshest ingredients.

Brewfontaine is community-centric, appearing at farmer’s markets and events all over Logan County. Image courtesy of the Logan County Farmers Market.

23. Brewfontaine

www.brewfontaine.com | 211 S. Main St.

Housed in a historic building that’s always had a reputation for great food, Brewfontaine serves craft beer, wine on tap, and amazing sandwiches. Kid-friendly and outdoor seating for sunny days, you gotta try this place! The crowd’s a great mix of people from all walks of life who are there for all sorts of reasons, and the staff is friendly and efficient. Become a regular and join their Mug Club!

Bohemian Waxwings perch in a tree at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Image courtesy by Jim McCormac via Ohio Birds and Biodiversity.

24. Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area

wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/killdeerplains | Wildlife District Two / 952 Lima Avenue

We know that some of you are hunting and fishing enthusiasts and some of you aren’t. Both of you will find the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area a perfect place for your hobbies! Certain areas of the area are set aside for hunting-- special licenses are issued for specific days and zones to keep safety a priority and prevent over-hunting-- and the ponds are well-stocked. Birdwatching will love the variety of woodland and water fowl who reside in the area, and photographers will have loads of opportunities to shoot a variety of landscapes, flora and fauna.

Nest 1896 is Bellefontaine-proud! Image courtesy of Nest 1896 Facebook.

25. Nest 1896

www.nest1896.com | 204 W. Columbus Ave.

Nest 1896 is a farmhouse-inspired boutique in downtown Bellefontaine whose building was built in-- you guessed it-- 1896! The concept of “nesting” is to create comfort through familiar and loved items. With over 50 vendors and three floors of vintage, handmade and primitive items Nest 1896 will help you turn your home into a sanctuary of comfort.

Bellefontaine businesses tend to put a priority on sourcing local talent and products. Image courtesy of Only in Your State.

Bellefontaine, Ohio has loads to do. With a focus on community and the outdoors, you’ll soon feel right at home, and Bellefontaine-proud!

November 27, 2020
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