Join me as I visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took me to Adena Mansion & Gardens in Chillicothe.
Whether you’re an Ohio history buff, an architecture fan or just love to explore beautiful homes, you’ll find something to love at Adena Mansion & Gardens.
The estate was the home of Thomas and Eleanor Swearingen Worthington and the mansion is one of just three remaining houses designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Thomas is considered the father of Ohio statehood and served as governor, U.S. senator and state representative in the early 19th-century. The couple raised their 10 children on the estate and entertained many important figures from American history.
I would highly recommend making a day of visiting Adena Mansion & Gardens by adding in a trip to Chillicothe to explore its vibrant downtown. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could include visits to Logan Elm (an Ohio History Connection site) and the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (run by the National Park Service). Logan Elm is a peaceful place to learn about Chief Logan and relations between American Indians and settlers during the 18th century. Hopewell Culture is a spectacular example of American Indian mound building and part of Ohio’s first UNESCO World Heritage site nomination.
Address: Adena Mansion & Gardens is located at 847 Adena Road in Chillicothe.
How much time: If you just want to go on the tour of the mansion and explore the excellent museum, I would allow two hours. However, if you plan to walk to the outbuildings on the property, I would plan to spend three hours at the site. Adena offers a self-guided audio tour of the grounds. Just use your smartphone to scan the QR codes around the property and you can access more information about the estate. There’s a lot to see, so give yourself plenty of time. And definitely wear comfortable shoes!
My favorites: I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Adena Mansion. Our guide was Mary, a retired history teacher who really knew her stuff and was passionate about Ohio and Adena Mansion. Thanks to the foresight of some of Thomas Worthington’s ancestors, much of the furniture in the mansion is original to the house. You really get a feel for what life was like when Thomas and Eleanor were living and working there.
Truda's Tips: Start your day at the Adena Mansion & Gardens by parking at the Education Center. You can use the restrooms, get your Ohio History Connection passport stamped, explore the museum, poke around the gift shop and get signed up for the next tour of the mansion. Mansion tours leave every hour on the half hour. The mansion is a short, easy walk from the Education Center.
Also, keep in mind that you aren’t allowed to take photographs inside the mansion. However, there are a lot of beautiful photo ops outside, so you can definitely capture some images of your day.
Don't Miss: Great Seal Overlook is not to be missed! You can definitely walk there from the mansion, but you can also drive there and park in the pull off area on the side of the road, which is what we did. You’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous view of Mount Logan that inspired the design of Ohio’s official state seal. Be sure to read the marker there. I was very amused to learn the circumstances of the idea for the state seal!
I would also be sure to make time to explore the museum in the Education Center. It has some great interactive exhibits that give you an insight into the Worthington family, as well as their times. You can also see an amazing collection of objects, like a tomahawk that Tecumseh gifted to Thomas Worthington. And there’s a huge diorama of the estate that gave me a good overview of the layout. I love a good diorama!
Lunch: No road trip is complete without some local food! Chillicothe offers everything from fast food to fine dining. We decided to go old school and have lunch at a Chillicothe mainstay, the Sumburger, located at 20 Executive Drive Center. And when you’re at the Sumburger, you have to order the Sumburger platter, which includes a burger, fries and coleslaw. The burgers were great—juicy, cheesy and slathered in secret Sumburger sauce. The restaurant is very family and budget friendly with a large menu and helpful staff.
Another great meal option would be to park in downtown Chillicothe and eat at one of the many restaurants located in this very walkable city. We got coffee at Paper City Coffee and took a leisurely stroll. I definitely plan to go back to Chillicothe when I have more time to explore. There are a ton of cute shops and historic buildings to see.
There are also covered picnic tables located at the Education Center at Adena, which would be perfect if you wanted to bring your own lunch.
Ohio History Connection members enjoy free general admission to our 50+ historic sites and museums around the state. For more information and to join today, visit www.ohiohistory.org/join!