By Maggie Butler
Posted On: Aug 28, 2020
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 allowing visitors to discover landmark destinations, historical markets that recognize literary achievements and book festivals. To get you started, we have rounded up a few of the destinations on the trail as well as some restaurants that we recommend patronizing.
NOTE: Some destinations may be closed or have limited hours. Check directly with the places before your visit to stay up to date on all safety precautions and learn more about the guidelines surrounding COVID-19 here.
Credit: The Wagnalls Memorial, Facebook
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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati
Celebrate the life and legacy of author and activist Harriet Beecher Stowe. Primarily known for her classic book "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" and its contribution to the Civil War, Stowe was an esteemed author with many published works during her career. Come and explore the house where the woman Abraham Lincoln once said "the little lady who made this big war" lived.
Eat: The Walnut Hills neighborhood offers an abundance of restaurants to choose from after visiting the 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.