If you’re staying on campus over the summer to work a job or conduct a research project, at some point during those three months, you’re probably going to feel trapped in the Kenyon Bubble. Don’t get me wrong, Kenyon during the summer has its perks. The campus feels more pleasant and peaceful when it’s mostly empty of students and lacking the usual academic stressors. But small-town life can become repetitive and boring, and sometimes you just have to get out. To make sure you mix in some fun along with that work, here are some places/activities to keep you entertained as you enjoy summer in rural Ohio.
If you need to stay close…
Knox and its surrounding counties have plenty to offer! I wrote another article about things to do around Kenyon, such as visit Ariel Foundation Park, Honey Run Waterfall, or Kristi’s Bakery, so if you want additional suggestions, check it out. But for my next round of recommendations, here are some more ways you can entertain yourself—all within 25 miles of Kenyon:
Schnormeier Gardens: I’ve never visited the gardens, but I’m dying to go. It’s my goal to see them this year since they are right here in Gambier! The owners of the property graciously allow guests to come see their gorgeous gardens for free during a few days each year. This year, Schnormeier Gardens will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 2-5, 2016.
First Friday: This is a monthly event held in downtown Mount Vernon during which the local businesses stay open late into the evening so people can come shop and listen to music and participate in various other activities.
Fourth of July festivals and fireworks: Each year, the towns in Knox County host small festivals with carnival rides and food trucks to celebrate the Fourth of July. Usually, these are accompanied by firework displays at night. You could pretty much celebrate Independence Day for an entire week, as the small towns vary on the nights they host the activities. My hometown, for instance, always celebrates in late June because that’s when the carnival rides are available for our area.
Knox County Fair: The fair is another source of entertainment, particularly if you’ve never been to a county fair before. July 23-30 you can head to the fairgrounds for some fried food, carnival rides, country music, 4-H animal shows, and numerous other events. It’s a busy week for Mount Vernon!
Mohican Adventures: If you are an outdoorsy person or enjoy canoeing/kayaking, I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip to Mohican. Depending on the weather (make sure to check their website for river conditions before you go), spending a couple hours canoeing can be so relaxing. You can even bring food along for a picnic!
Tree Frog Canopy Tours: This 2 ½ hour ziplining tour with 7 ziplines, 2 sky bridges, and 2 rappels is another perfect adventure for the outdoors-lover. It’s more expensive than the other options, however, costing $75 on weekdays and $85 on weekends/holidays.
You may also want to consider activities such as going antiquing (I can think of four antique shops nearby off the top of my head, and I’m sure there are plenty more across the county), volunteering to walk dogs at the Knox County Animal Shelter, running in local 5K races, or visiting nearby flea markets and farmers markets.
If you’re dying to see some semblance of city life again…
I recommend driving to Columbus. Of course, you can travel to other cities if you’d prefer, but personally, I think Columbus has a lot to offer. Plus, it’s only a little over an hour away. While you may travel there during the school year already, here are some places you might not have heard of yet:
The Melting Pot: This is a fairly expensive fondue restaurant, but it’s a great place to go if you want something unusual or are looking for a romantic dinner venue. They offer three course meals, but if you want to save money, I’d honestly just recommend you go there just for the chocolate fondue. It’s amazing.
Harvest Pizzeria: I have never been to a restaurant that epitomized the meaning of hipster as much as this pizzeria. I don’t personally see myself as a hipster, but their pizza was delicious. If you’re in German Village, you should definitely stop by.
German Village: Speaking of German Village, it’s a lovely neighborhood in Columbus that you should spend a nice summer day walking around if you have the chance. It has lots of cute stores and good restaurants, so bring plenty of cash and some friends and go exploring!
The Book Loft: While you’re in German Village (can you tell I like the place yet?), you MUST go to The Book Loft. It’s a unique bookstore that is essentially a maze of rooms completely filled with books. It’s paradise. Check it out.
Columbus Clippers: If you’re a sports person, particularly a baseball fan, you may want to go to a Columbus Clippers game. To be honest, I have no idea if they’re any good, but sometimes it’s just nice to go see a game!
Franklin Park Conservatory: The Conservatory houses beautiful botanical gardens and a variety of other exhibits. It’s a very artsy and naturey (and reasonably priced at just $10 for students!) place to go. But really, you should visit it so you can be surrounded by butterflies. Everyone goes for the butterflies.
COSI: If you’re a science lover or want to go on a unique adventure, consider taking a trip to COSI. It’s a “center of science” that features tons of cool exhibits, many for children but plenty for adults, too! Forewarning: COSI becomes expensive really quickly when you tack on the added price of specific exhibits.
Other things you should think about for the summer include seeing a movie at Marcus Theaters (they have super comfy reclining seats and good prices), shopping at Easton Town Center or Polaris Fashion Place, and going to concerts at the LC or the Newport Music Hall.
A summer at Kenyon doesn’t have to be spent just at Kenyon. Take this time off from classes to explore rural Ohio and take advantage of all the great things the Buckeye State has to offer.
Image Credit: Schnormier Gardens on Facebook, Mohican Adventures, Book Loft, FP Conservatory