Labor Day Weekend in North Central Ohio is when the last colors of summer blend with the early fall colors that are just beginning. The leaves of the trees are just starting to change to their beautiful yellow, red, orange and russet colors. The ornamental grasses are at their peak and the mums are just beginning to bloom. We know summer is on its way out as the beautiful roses, pansies and dahlias that are blooming blend with the mums and grasses signifying the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.
We are fortunate in North Central Ohio to have four noted and vital locations with beautiful plants and gardens to visit all year long and especially on Labor Day Weekend. The air is a bit cooler, the sun is shining and a walk through the gardens and grounds is more than pleasing. The senses are engaged with the sights, sounds, feel and aroma of nature. All ages enjoy the beautiful show of color through the blooms and foliage so perfectly landscaped.
All within a half and hour of Smithville or Wooster are:
OARDC Secrest Arboretum
This 115 acre arboretum is located on the campus of the Ohio Research and Development Center. The arboretum is divided into several areas and signs direct you to areas of interest, specific gardens and a drive which circles the arboretum for viewing from your vehicle.
One visitor aid that I enjoy is the pre-recorded messages that are available in the many gazebos placed throughout the garden area. As you walk from one area to another you can sit and listen to the message which combines history and plant information.
I particularly enjoy this arboretum in spring and in the fall. The walk through the gardens is so lovely. You can’t help but feel refreshed and revitalized after seeing the lovely plants and landscaping features.
Visit the arboretum at the intersection of Pine Road and Green Drive in Wooster. The arboretum is open from dawn to dusk every day. There is no admission fee. The address for the Secrest Arboretum is 1328 Dover Road, Wooster, Ohio 44691-8905. Online information may be obtained at http://secrest.osu.edu .
Kingwood Center Gardens
This 47 acre garden has been a public garden since 1953. The garden is a resource for local gardeners, a place of workshops and programs, a location for many weddings and other special occasions and a beautiful location for people of all ages to enjoy.
Our family has visited many times and each time left wanting to return soon. The changing garden displays, workshops and programs and exhibits make you want to be more and more involved. An afternoon stroll can quickly turn into an afternoon of beauty that lasts much longer than expected with a feeling of peace and contentment when you leave.
The center is open various hours during the year. It is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Admission is charged depending of the areas you wish to tour: for the gardens only it is $2.00 per person non-guided and $4.00 per person guided with children over twelve $1.00 and under 12 free. On Labor Day Weekend the center is open from 8 am until 7 pm. The address for Kingwood Center is 900 Park Avenue West, Mansfield, Ohio 44906. Online information is available at:
The Widerness Center
Wilmont is the home for the Wilderness Center. Spend a day close to nature at the center which offers an Interpretive Building with changing programs, displays, and workshops, as well as a planetarium, hiking trails, and ever beauty that changes with every season.
It is a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the Interpretive Building and you will want to walk a trail or two while you are there also. Dress comfortably and bring water and a snack if you would like for while you are exploring the grounds.
This is a great area for seeing nature up close and without any distractions. Many programs are offered to help you understand our environment, plants, animals, solar system and so much more. Check for programs of particular interest to you or just check and you will most likely find a program or workshop that demands that you return.
Online information is available at: http://www.wildernesscenter.org . The address for the Wilderness Center is 9877 Alabama Ave. S.W., Wilmot, Ohio 44689. The Interpretive Building and Wilderness Center are open on Labor Day. The center is closed on Monday, and usual hours are: 9am-5pm Tues-Sat and 1pm-5pm on Sunday.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Usually closed on Monday, the Manor House and gardens will be open on Labor Day for self-guided tours only. A guided tour of the garden is available at 11 am and focuses on historical landscape of the estate. The 1 hour and 15 minute tour will not be available if the weather is inclement. The tour of the gardens include the Great Meadow, the London Plane Tree Allee, the Dell, the English Garden, the West Terrace, the West Terrace Overlook, the Perennial Border, the Bowling Lawn, the Japanese Garden the Lagoon, the Birch Tree Allee, the Great Garden, the Rose Garden, the Breakfast Room Garden and the Elliptical Garden. The garden tour admission: members $10.00, member student, aged 6-17 yrs $$4.00, non-member adult $13.00, non-member student $$9.00. Non-member guests on the guided garden tour may add on a self-guided Manor House tour for an additional $5.00. Hours: 10am-6pm with no admittance after 4:30pm. Online information is available at: http://www.stanhywet.org . The Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens are located at 714 North Portage Path, Akron, Ohio 44303.