Did we say, “Escape to the Middle of Nowhere?” Perhaps we should change that to say “Escape to the Middle of Everywhere!” There are so many choices of things to do around the inn that you’ll have a hard time deciding.

Conveniently located to explore Holmes County and Ohio’s Amish area, and just a short drive from Columbus or Cleveland, The White Oak Inn is near Kenyon College, Tree Frog Canopy Tours zip line, Longaberger Basket headquarters, and historic Roscoe Village. The Kokosing Gap Trail and Mohican Valley Trail both start in nearby Danville. The area abounds with antique stores, cheese factories, furniture stores, wineries, quilt shops, and potteries.

Self-Guided Ohio Tours

For the convenience of our guests, we’ve created several self-guided tours you can enjoy during your stay, each featuring some of our own favorite local destinations and hidden gems. We give you a written itinerary and map, and you get in your own car and explore at your own pace.

Our tours include:

  • Eat Your Way Through Amish Country
  • Pottery, Arts, and Artisans of Central Ohio
  • The Wine and Cheese Trail
  • Antiques, Flea Markets, and Treasures
  • Country Roads and Hidden Gems

Explore Nearby Towns and Amish Country

Amish Holmes County

Of course, one of the most popular things to do is to explore the nearby Amish area. Holmes County boasts the largest Amish population in the U.S. The Amish are renowned for their handmade quilts, fine woodworking, cheeses, and baked goods. There are farmers’ auctions, quilt shops, cheese factories and furniture stores, antique stores and flea markets, bulk food stores, and gift shops. See a blacksmith at work or farmers plowing the fields with teams of horses. Taste the local cheeses, homemade candy, and local wine.

Throughout the inn, you can see many examples of pieces made by potter Cary Hulin at Holmes County Pottery, located in Western Knox County, a 30-minute drive from the inn. Cary mixes his own clays and glazes and fires his pieces in his wood-fired kiln. Kiln opening sales are held three weekends a year and are very popular events.

The restored community of Roscoe Village is a short drive from the inn. It features costumed craftspeople and shopkeepers demonstrating the working crafts and history of the 1830s, as they practice the trades of blacksmithing, broom making, weaving, printing, bucket making, and more. Be sure to stop at Good Boy Bakery to pick up home-made treats for your favorite four-legged friend.   From May to October, enjoy a 45-minute horse-drawn canal boat ride on the Monticello III.

Gambier, Home to Kenyon College

Fifteen minutes from The White Oak Inn, Gambier is home to the Kenyon College campus. In the 1800s, Lord Kenyon imported some of Europe’s finest stonemasons and woodcarvers to create the original buildings on this beautiful campus. The Kenyon bookstore has a wonderful selection of books and is open 365 days a year. Grab a bagel and coffee and curl up on a sofa with your favorite! Also open to the public is the Kenyon College Brown Family Environmental Center. The center features a bluebird trail, seven-acre prairie, butterfly garden, wetlands, bird feeding area, and hiking trails. It offers nature walks and workshops.

Outdoorsy Knox County Activities

For some of the finest outdoor experiences, look no further than Knox County. Canoe or fish on the scenic Kokosing River, reportedly the best small-mouth bass river in the state. Try to catch a glimpse of the bald eagle nest close to the inn. Walk, cycle, or rollerblade on the Kokosing Gap Trail, a rails-to-trails project running from Danville to Mount Vernon. East of Danville, the Mohican Valley Nature Trail features the 370-foot-long covered “Bridge of Dreams” over the Mohican River.  For the ultimate outdoor thrill, Tree Frog Canopy Tours is Ohio’s newest zip line that leads adventurers through the tree tops by means of zip lines, rappels and sky bridges.

Knox County has 9 different golf courses, including Apple Valley Golf Course.

Entertainment (and ice cream) in Utica

Just 20 minutes from the inn, The Olde Mill in Utica is home to Ohio’s family-run Velvet Ice Cream. From May to October, you can tour the factory, visit the ice cream museum, and enjoy a sweet treat from the soda parlor. On Memorial Day weekend every year, Velvet hosts the Ice Cream Festival, featuring entertainment, a car show, motorcycle show, sheepherding demonstrations, pony rides, ice cream eating competitions, and lots of fun for the whole family. Sunday afternoons at Velvet feature live entertainment in the pavilion.

Food & Wine

There are several wineries within an hour’s drive of the inn, most of which offer wine tastings to the public. For a fun day’s outing, pick up a copy of our wine tasting tour during your stay. The White Oak Inn can also arrange private wine tastings or wine pairing dinners at the inn for groups of 4 or more people.

From spring to fall, there are local farmers’ markets, market stands and produce auctions all over the area. Nearby Mount Vernon has a local farmers’ market every Saturday morning in summer and fall, featuring produce, meats, cheeses, and eggs, much of it from organic farms, as well as flowers, artisan bread, honey, and other products. The first Friday evening of every month, downtown Mount Vernon features live entertainment, gallery hops, and special events. In mid-August every year, Mount Vernon hosts the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival. Musical history comes to life as Mount Vernon’s main street is closed for four days of music, food, artwork, and entertainment.

Annual Events

Memorial Day Weekend – The Utica Ice Cream Festival
Mid-June The Danville Turkey Festival
July – The Knox County Fair
August – The Dan Emmett Music, Arts and Crafts Festival
September – the Fredericktown Tomato Show
October – Apple Butter Stirring in several locations

Looking for a more comprehensive guide? Check out our free Ohio Vacation Guide!