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grandfather standing behind two young grandsons looking out window with sunlight streaming through at John Rankin House in Ripley Ohio

Book Your Next Adventure on the Ohio Literary Trail

Treat your shelf to over 60 stops on this new trail from the Ohioana Library Association.

John Rankin House in Ripley

Book Your Next Adventure on the Ohio Literary Trail

By Maggie Butler

Posted On: Nov 8, 2021

Ohio has played a vital role in shaping culture and literature worldwide. The Ohio Literary Trail, presented by the Ohioana Library Association, shines a light on Ohio's contributions by showing you how to discover landmark destinations, historical markers that recognize literary achievements and book festivals. To get you started, here are a few of the destinations on the trail as well as some restaurants you can check out along the way.

The Wagnalls Memorial in Lithopolis

In 1925, author and concert pianist Mabel Wagnalls Jones dedicated the Wagnalls Memorial to her parents, Adam and Anna Willis Wagnalls. Her father, Adam, was illustrious in his own rite as the cofounder of the publishing giant Funk & Wagnalls. The sprawling memorial is a gorgeous ode to the Wagnall family, with gardens, a formal entrance hall, tower room, auditorium and banquet hall.

Eat: Located a mere 800 feet from the Wagnalls Memorial is El Pedregal, an authentic Mexican restaurant serving a wide-range of dishes, such as burritos, quesadilla, fajitas and more.

Check Out: Literary Marker for Wilbur H. Siebert Collection in Columbus. 

Interior of Big House at Malabar Farm State Park in Ohio
Photo credit: ODNR, Flickr 

Malabar Farm in Lucas 

In the late 1930s, Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and dedicated conservationist, moved back to Ohio and created his dream known as Malabar Farm. Inspired by his love of the land, Bromfield restored the farmlands, preserved the woodlands, and built a 32-room country home. In 1976, Malabar became one of Ohio's State Parks, allowing everyone to marvel in the beauty that completely entranced Bromfield.

Eat: After exploring the farm, take a short drive to Wedgewing Family Restaurant in Perrysville for some traditional American and Amish fare. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant is just as well known for their delicious meals as they are for their pastries.

Check Out: Literary Marker for Helen Steiner Rice in Lorain. 

The Mazza Museum in Findlay 

Experience the art of picture books at University of Findlay's Mazza Museum, the world's largest collection of original artwork by children's book illustrators. Exhibits include the Reinhardt Gallery (showcasing works illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, "Everything I know about Pirates"), The Laiho Gallery (dedicated to art from paper engineered books and featuring art from Matthew Reinhart, David Carter, Jeff Ebbeler and others), and many others.

Eat: Continue embodying your inner child after exploring the brilliance of picture books by satisfying your sweet tooth at Cakes for Heavens Sake. Continue your celestial food tour at Heavenly Pizza for a divine slice of 'za.

Check Out: Literary Marker for House of Four Pillars in Maumee. 

grandfather standing behind two young grandsons looking out window with sunlight streaming through at John Rankin House in Ripley Ohio

John Rankin House in Ripley 

The Rev. John Rankin was an ardent abolitionist who assisted the enslaved on their paths to freedom. Visit the John Rankin House and learn about Ohio's connection to the Underground Railroad when you step inside one of the best-documented and most active Underground Railroad "stations" in Ohio.

Eat: Head over to Cincinnati's Walnut Hills neighborhood for an abundance of restaurants to choose from after visiting the Rankin House. Fireside Pizza, Gomez Salsa and Just Q'in Restaurant are a few places where you can satiate your appetite.

Check Out: Literary Marker for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Dard Hunter Studios and Mountain House Press in Chillicothe 

William Joseph "Dard" Hunter was an American authority on printing, paper and papermaking. Dard Hunter Studios explores the legacy of Hunter and his achievements. Visit the print shop, papermill and pottery to truly appreciate Hunter's ingenuity.

Eat: Chillicothe is one of the cities along the Charming Towns Road Trip, so check out the road trip guide for more suggestions on how to explore the quaint town. If you only have time for a quick bite after exploring the studio, grab lunch at Carl's Townhouse, which is just down the block from Dard Hunter Studios. 

Check Out: Literary Marker for Burton Egbert Stevenson

For more literary adventures, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.

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