25 Best Things to Do in Mount Vernon, OH

Mount Vernon, OH
Vibrant Image Studio / shutterstock.com

Mount Vernon, a small city in Ohio, captivates with its distinctive charm.
Set amidst rolling hills and winding rivers, it serves as a remarkable repository of history, culture, and natural beauty that consistently enthralls visitors.

The city's allure is ever-changing, from the stunning display of fall foliage to the lively local culture that blossoms in the summer months.

Mount Vernon's unique appeal lies in its warm welcome, inviting exploration of its breathtaking landscapes, rich heritage, and compelling attractions throughout the year.

Embarking on a journey through this charming city reveals the best things to do in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Cheryl Mendosa, Thomas Roby, Amira Weems, Kara Mueller, Hadassah Talley, Don Watson and Nalani Meadows.

Take in the Views from the Rastin Observation Tower

Distant view of the Rastin Observation Tower
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever stood atop a place that seemed to touch the sky and looked down to capture a stunning panoramic view of your city?

If not, let me tell you about my frequent trips to Rastin Observation Tower in Ariel Foundation Park and how they never fail to impress me.

This towering structure stands as the tallest entity in Knox County and offers an unmissable experience for anyone visiting Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Every time I feel like escaping the city's hustle and bustle, I head to the park, lock up my bike at the base of the tower, and head up the enclosed staircase of this former smokestack.

As I ascend each flight, my anticipation grows, knowing what awaits at the top.

View of the Rastin Observation Tower
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

Once I reach the tower's 140-foot level, I am always awed by the breathtaking view of Mount Vernon and the surrounding region.

From the Rastin Observation Tower, I can see the entire stretch of the Heart of Ohio Trail, a part of the Ohio to Erie Trail, that weaves its way through the landscape.

For thrill-seekers and history buffs alike, this site offers a unique twist – it’s a historical place turned into a work of art.

The tower, once a crucial part of the PPG Works glass factory, now stands as a testament to our city's industrial past.

One of my favorite times to visit is at night when the tower is illuminated.

The dazzling display of red, white, and blue lights transforms the tower into a beacon in the night, a symbol of history, hope, and resilience that is visible from miles away.

Top of the Rastin Observation Tower
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

Have a Picnic on Mavis Island

There's something undeniably captivating about Mavis Island.

My weekend routine isn't complete without a leisurely cycle ride from Bangs right to this secluded, tranquil paradise.

It's the ideal spot for an impromptu picnic, with the serene lake waters gently lapping against the rock-laden shoreline.

Don't be surprised to find the island teeming with Canadian geese.

They're a part of the charm, in my opinion - even if they do tend to leave their droppings all over the place!

Just bring a blanket to sit on, and you'll be fine.

As you settle down to enjoy your picnic, you'll find the natural beauty of the place more than makes up for any minor inconveniences.

The way the sun's rays dance on the water, the soft rustle of the wind in the trees - it's the kind of scene that painters and poets dream about.

I promise you, Mavis Island is a place that will capture your heart just as it has captured mine.

Walk Your Fido at Wolf Run Regional Park

Ah, there's nothing I love more than a good day out at my local green space, Wolf Run Regional Park.

Whether it's a warm sunny day or a crisp autumn afternoon, this is a place where I can truly take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The park offers a unique medley of activities that caters to all family members.

I remember fondly how my children would race each other to the next page of the Story Book Trail, their laughter echoing through the woods.

And when we needed to catch our breath, we would settle down at one of the many picnic tables scattered throughout the park, basking in the warm weather with our home-packed sandwiches.

The two-legged members of my family also love it here; even our four-legged friends have a space to play in.

The enclosed area near the park's entrance is a haven for dogs, allowing them the freedom to run around and even explore the surrounding woods.

One of my personal favorite things about Wolf Run Regional Park is the changing seasons.

Each transition brings a new kind of beauty – the lush greenery of summer leaves way to a prairie colored in hues of gold and red in the fall.

It's a sight to behold and one that keeps me coming back again and again.

I can’t wait to see how the park transforms with each season.

Cycle through the Kokosing Gap Trail

Directions at Kokosing Gap Trail
Dan Keck, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every morning, I eagerly strap on my bike helmet, looking forward to the serene 10-mile journey awaiting me on the Kokosing Gap Trail.

There's just something about the way the sunlight filters through the trees that border the trail, casting a magical, dappled light on my path.

Biking on this trail never feels like just an exercise, it's an experience that soothes my soul and brings me closer to nature.

Kokosing Gap Trail isn't just a haven for cyclists and walkers like me, it's also home to an array of wildlife.

Just this morning, I spotted a deer cautiously peeking from behind a tree and a couple of groundhogs scurrying along their merry way.

It's moments like these that make my rides so worthwhile.

One of the many things that make this trail special is its thoughtful design.

Benches are strategically placed throughout, offering a resting spot for those wanting to catch their breath or simply take in the beauty around them.

The trail also boasts several charming bridges that add to its character.

While it's a great place for a bike ride or a walk, rollerblading could be a bit challenging.

The fallen sticks and other debris from the surrounding trees keep you on your toes.

But the occasional hurdles are a small price to pay for the stunning views and the peaceful ambiance.

The trail isn't just about nature, though.

It's a path that takes you on a journey through history.

As you ride along, you're greeted with sights that tell a tale of the past.

Have a Jog through the Heart of Ohio Trail

Heart of Ohio Trail embodies an exquisite charm in the simplicity of nature.

My heart always flutters with anticipation every time I turn my bike towards the trail.

Stretching from Centerburg to Mt. Vernon, this trail is an embodiment of tranquility.

Each visit to the trail reveals a new aspect of its beauty.

The labor of love that goes into maintaining the trail is evident in its pristine condition.

The wildflowers lining the path seem to sway in appreciation of the effort, creating a whimsical frame for the path that I often find myself lost in.

Heart of Ohio Trail runs parallel to the creek, and there is something refreshing about the consistent babble of the stream as I traverse the path.

Right at the heart of the city is a park that seems to be a favorite among the ducks.

Watching the waterfowl paddle around in the pond while enjoying a lazy afternoon is an experience that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

If you’re lucky enough, you might also stumble upon stalls selling farm goods or ice cream stands that serve as delightful stopovers.

For those planning a longer journey, there's even an Airbnb along the way, perfect for weary travelers exploring the Ohio to Erie Trail.

No matter how many times I cycle through here, the Heart of Ohio Trail always makes me fall in love with my hometown all over again.

It's more than just a trail; it's a journey of discovery, and I can't wait for my next ride.

Splash around Hiawatha Park

Between the hustle and bustle of a busy life, a refreshing dip in the pool at the Hiawatha Park located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is nothing short of a soul-reviving experience.

My family and I frequent this place, most especially during the sweltering summer season, to escape the scorching heat and to have a fun-filled day.

Imagine yourself sliding down the enormous waterslides, plunging into the cool water, and then floating leisurely as you bask in the warmth of the sun.

You will also find a sense of comfort in the fair prices, which is not something everyone can say when it comes to waterparks.

There are a few rules to abide by, which include no public display of affection.

This rule, however, sometimes can be overlooked, especially when teenagers are involved.

But don't let that deter you, the lifeguards are always on the watch, ensuring everyone’s safety.

Hiawatha Park is not just a place for fun, it's a great spot to create unforgettable memories with your children or grandchildren.

Often, I find myself reminiscing about the wonderful times we have had as a family at this park.

It’s a place that holds a special place in our hearts and has become a part of our lives.

The laughter, the joy, and the memories created are worth every bit of the trip!

Catch Stellar Performances at the Woodward Opera House

View of the Woodward Opera House
Ohio Redevelopment Projects - ODSA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experiencing a show at the Woodward Opera House is akin to taking a step back in time to an era when things were simpler yet grander.

The charmingly old-world aura of the theatre, combined with its modern amenities, creates a unique backdrop for an unforgettable night out.

From the moment I walked through the doors, I was welcomed by a rush of nostalgia.

The wooden balconies are a sight to behold; their old-world charm is enhanced by the stunning view they provide of the entire stage.

Seated there, I could see every detail of the show, every expression on the performer's face, and hear every note in crystal clear sound—it was as if I were part of the performance myself.

Seats at the Woodward Opera House
Ohio Redevelopment Projects - ODSA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The acoustics of the theatre are fantastic, adding a layer of depth to the performances.

When I watched ‘Sister Act’ and ‘Raisin in the Sun,’ I was struck by how the sounds resonated around the room, making the experience all the more immersive.

Not just the shows even the cheerfulness and helpfulness of the volunteers added to the overall pleasing atmosphere of the place.

Despite being a historical monument, the Woodward Opera House doesn’t compromise on cleanliness.

The facilities are spotless, making the experience comfortable and enjoyable.

The only challenge might be the stairs, especially for those with mobility issues.

But the charm of the place, the performances, and the fantastic acoustics more than make up for it.

Delight in the Flavors of North Main Café

Who knew that a casual stroll down the street could lead you to a gastronomical paradise?

That's exactly what happened to me when I discovered North Main Cafe.

Tucked away in our little city, this café is a hidden gem where you can taste the world in every bite.

I'm the kind of person who can appreciate a good veggie wrap, and North Main Café serves the best in the city.

The wrap is a delightful mix of fresh veggies - leafy greens, garden-fresh tomatoes, crispy onions, and juicy peppers, all rolled in a choice of white or Tomato Basil wrap.

And to top it all, it's sprinkled with feta cheese.

The wraps aren't just healthy and fresh, they are temptation wrapped in deliciousness!

What's a good meal without a refreshing drink, right?

The bubble tea here is not to be missed.

My personal favorite is a Green-Tea base bubble tea with Peach flavoring, complete with Mango Bubbles.

The burst of sweet fruit refreshment it provides is simply out of this world.

The staff at North Main Café is what makes the place even more special.

Rain or shine, no matter how busy the café gets, the staff is always buzzing around, serving orders with impeccable accuracy and efficiency.

I've seen them juggle multiple tasks with a smile on their face, and that's something I truly appreciate.

The café has a cozy French-country atmosphere that makes you want to dine in and savor the experience.

But when I'm on the go, I usually prefer to grab a bite and enjoy it at home.

Either way, the food and service never disappoint.

Each visit makes me look forward to the next one, and trust me when I say you will be back for more!

Unleash Your Curiosity at SPI Spot

One afternoon, I took my child to the SPI Spot for a day of fun and educational activities.

In comparison to other science centers we've visited, SPI Spot may be smaller in size, but it packs a punch when it comes to content.

Mt.Vernon may not have the largest science center, but what we have is truly a treasure.

As we walked in, we were welcomed by a pristine setup, and the friendly staff made sure we were comfortable and knew where to go.

What I appreciate the most about SPI Spot is how it encourages children to play, learn, and explore all under one roof.

My child was absolutely thrilled, to say the least.

There are tons of activities to keep the young ones engaged.

It's not every day that you find a place where learning the basics of science is as fun as playing.

SPI Spot does an outstanding job at that.

It's not just about teaching kids science, it's about inspiring them.

One thing that stood out to me was the space.

Even on a busy day, it never felt crowded.

There was plenty of room for everyone, allowing the kids to move around freely and safely.

Practice Nature Photography at Honey Run Waterfall

Scenic view of the Honey Run Waterfall
arthurgphotography / Shutterstock.com

If you've never really fallen in love with a place, wait until you visit Honey Run Waterfall.

Nestled amidst the serenity of nature, this place offers an invigorating respite from the humdrum of city life.

The vibrancy of flowers, the melodic murmuring of the creek, and the majestic waterfall make you feel as though you've stepped into a world borrowed from a fairytale.

The place is a haven for photography enthusiasts, families, and nature lovers alike.

I often enjoy a short, leisurely hike along the well-trod paths, soaking in the scenic beauty around me.

The best part?

You don't have to be an experienced hiker to enjoy it here.

The trails are easy and the journey to the waterfall is hardly a 0.2-mile walk.

If you're up for a bit more exploration, the unpaved trail through the woods is an adventure in itself.

Closer view of the Honey Run Waterfall
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

For those preferring a less strenuous route, you can always choose to walk down the steps and around.

The evening hours, especially after 7 pm, are my personal favorite.

The crowd dwindles, and the ambiance is simply enchanting.

Parking is convenient, with two lots available, one of which is paved and situated right next to the waterfall trailhead.

The other, while unpaved, is equally accessible.

Both have porta-potties for convenience.

The only drawback, perhaps, is that the viewing deck doesn't provide a crystal clear view of the falls.

But fret not; an easy-to-navigate dirt path will lead you right to the splendor of the falls.

There's a small charming bridge you can cross, with just a dozen steps down.

If you're at a loose end and looking out for a quick adventure, Honey Run Waterfall is the place to be.

Water running from the Honey Run Waterfall
arthurgphotography / Shutterstock.com

Discover Local Biodiversity at The Brown Family Environmental Center

Sometimes, you just need a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine.

This is when I usually head to my sanctuary - the Brown Family Environmental Center.

This is not just any ordinary park or garden but a magical retreat nestled in the heart of Ohio.

On summer days, the center is a fusion of color and life.

As I walk through the manicured garden paths, I'm always enchanted by the myriad of flowers that bloom in a riot of colors.

The air is always filled with the sweet scent of blossoms and the delightful symphony of birdsong.

And then, there are the butterflies!

It’s like stepping into a fairy tale with hundreds of these beautiful creatures fluttering around, adding to the ethereal beauty of the place.

But the true charm of the center lies in its vast network of trails.

Each path leads to a different pocket of nature, each unique in its own way.

Whether you want to stroll along the scenic bridge, hike up the hill for breathtaking views, or lose yourself in the pine tree forest, there's always something for everyone.

The trails are well-marked and maintained, perfect for a leisurely walk or a vigorous hike.

I have often spent hours exploring these trails, immersing myself in the tranquility and beauty of nature.

Brown Family Environmental Center is conveniently located off the Kokosing bike trail, making it a perfect pit stop for bikers like me.

Although it's not well-marked, the detour is always worth the discovery.

If you're lucky, you can even catch one of their environmental programs or workshops.

Go Fishing at Apple Valley Lake

Remember the allure of fireworks reflecting off the water?

That's just a regular evening at Apple Valley Lake.

The lake sometimes gets a bit wild, but it's all part of the fun.

And there's nothing quite like watching the fireworks show from a boat in the middle of the lake.

I've spent the better part of my life here - 21 years to be exact.

The thought of packing up and moving elsewhere has crossed my mind a few times, but there's just something about Apple Valley that's hard to let go of.

It's not just a place, it's home.

A place I've chosen to spend my retirement years, basking in the tranquility and calmness that the lake and surrounding areas offer.

The local amenities and services are top-notch, catering to all age groups.

There's so much to do, and every season brings with it a new set of activities.

Summer days are for boating and fishing, while winter months transform the place into a snowy wonderland, perfect for snowball fights and cozying up in front of the fire.

Family time spent here is cherished and full of fun.

Apple Valley Lake has recently added gates to ensure only members have access, adding an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

It's the little things like this that make living here an absolute joy.

Soak in the Serenity of Schnormeier Gardens

aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

Every so often, I find myself drawn to the tranquility of the Schnormeier Gardens, a place that's been a part of our local history for years.

Here, the beauty of nature takes on a whole new level, where rolling hills, lush vegetation, and shimmering waters come together to create a peaceful oasis.

As I lace up my comfy shoes and fill my water bottle for the day, I can't help but anticipate the serenity that awaits me.

Dotted across the expansive property, you will find various gardens.

Each inspires a sense of calm, and as you walk further along the paths and learn more about the gardens, you'll begin to appreciate the sheer effort and love that has been poured into maintaining this place.

The day seems to fly by as I stroll through the gardens, taking my time to admire the meticulously manicured landscapes.

I often find myself exchanging greetings with the friendly staff or even members of the Schnormeier family, who ensure that this oasis continues to be a place of tranquility for all visitors.

Pedestrian bridge at Schnormeier Gardens
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

A quick stop by the Welcome Center is always on my itinerary, and it's not just for the well-kept restrooms.

You can learn more about the gardens’ history or just take a moment's reprieve in the cool indoors.

The Schnormeier Gardens are a true gem, nestled right here in Ohio.

It's a paradise that's not to be missed, especially during the open house in June when the gardens are in full bloom, and the Schnormeier family generously shares their oasis with the world.

Water lilly at Schnormeier Gardens
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

Hop in the Festivities at Knox County Fairgrounds

There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh popcorn and cotton candy wafting through the air as the sun sets over the Knox County Fairgrounds.

It's the kind of experience that makes you truly appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

One of my most unforgettable experiences happened at Knox County Fairgrounds last summer.

I remember it was the second to the last day of the fair, and some of the vendors had already packed up to leave.

But that didn’t take away from the overall experience.  

Quite the opposite, it added a sort of calmness to the usually bustling atmosphere.

I enjoyed some fantastic food at the fair, savoring every bite of a juicy burger and a side of crispy onion rings.

The food vendors at the fair never disappoint.

The variety is fantastic, and there's always something new to try.

But the real highlight of the evening was the Rodeo show.

There's something about the energy of a rodeo that's just infectious.

Watching those brave riders holding on for dear life was nothing short of exhilarating.

It's a spectacle that everyone should witness at least once.

And then, of course, there was the remarkable Truck n Tractor Pull event.

Even the unexpected downpour of rain that evening couldn't dampen our spirits.

Instead, it added an extra layer of excitement to the whole experience.

I must also mention the top-notch security at the fairgrounds.

I had a bit of a misadventure and lost my phone in the crowd.

However, thanks to the diligent Sheriff's office, I got it back in no time.

The Knox County Fairgrounds always promises a night of fun, thrills, and unforgettable experiences.

It has a charm that keeps me coming back, year after year.

Take a Glimpse into the Timekeeper's World at Urton Clock House

Every city has its hidden gems, and for me, nestled right in the heart of Knox County, the Urton Clock House is my go-to sanctuary.

An edifice of history and exquisite craftsmanship, its timelessness washes over you as soon as you step foot through its doors.

I remember the first day I walked in; the aroma of oiled wooden gears and brushed metal engulfed me, triggering a wash of tranquility.

The rhythmic ticking of the countless clocks, each unique in style and origin, formed a soothing symphony that had an oddly calming effect.

The walls were adorned with an exquisite assortment of over 30 wall clocks, each with its own tale to tell.

Grandfather clocks that have stood the test of time, cuckoo clocks with their charming bird calls, and elegant mantel clocks that once added grandeur to living room fireplaces, each piece adding a unique element to the symphony of ticking.

But what truly captivated my fancy was the signature piece, a 30-foot tower clock, lovingly restored and displayed prominently at the park.

It seemed like a gentle giant, ticking away the seconds, reminding us of both the relentless march of time and the fleeting moments we savor.

Urton Clock House isn’t just a museum, it’s a school where people can learn about the art of clock making and repair.

An art that seems to be fading in a digital world.

But here, nestled in the heart of Ohio, it thrives.

It's an unforgettable experience and a must-visit place.

Play Disc Golf at Thayer Ridge Park

If you're looking for a peaceful retreat, Thayer Ridge Park may be your hidden gem.

Located just on the outskirts of the city, this park is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

I often find myself heading here after a long day, seeking solace in the beautiful woods.

The trails, though underutilized, weave a path through the serene beauty of nature.

It's true they may not be the best kept, but their slightly unruly charm adds to the allure of the park.

The low foot traffic means that the trails maintain their untouched beauty and make my hikes here feel like a personal adventure.

The park is also equipped with a well-manicured lawn in the main area, inviting visitors to relax and enjoy a picnic or a game of frisbee.

One of my favorite features of Thayer Ridge Park is the dedicated disk golf area.

It's great fun to bring family and friends along for a day of friendly competition.

The park is also horse-friendly, with trails specifically designed to accommodate our four-legged friends.

Parking is a breeze, with ample space for twenty or more cars right by the trailhead.

And if you're up for some grilling, there's a picnic pavilion equipped with a grill just waiting for you to fire it up!

Another feature that makes this park a hit among local families is the open space for kids to run around and the little dirt hills that become the perfect mini-adventure for them.

Catch an Event at Ariel-Foundation Park

View of the Ariel-Foundation Park
Richard345 / Shutterstock.com

When I first heard about Ariel-Foundation Park, I was intrigued.

This was not just another park.

This was something unique, something special.

This sprawling 250-acre park, built on the grounds of a former factory, is a testament to regeneration and rejuvenation, a place where the old has been given a new lease of life.

Walking through the park, you get a sense of the history that has seeped into the ground.

This was once a bustling factory, but now it's a peaceful oasis with lush greenery and sparkling lakes.

View of the Ariel-Foundation Park
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

The park plays host to a multitude of events, from concerts to weddings, adding a touch of industrial charm to any occasion.

One of the park’s main attractions is the Rastin Observation Tower.

It's not for the faint-hearted, but if you can muster the courage to climb up, you're rewarded with a breathtaking view of the entire park.

But be warned, they close the entrance to the tower at dusk.

Another fascinating feature of Ariel-Foundation Park is the glass river.

This beautiful piece of sculpture is a testament to the creativity and drive of the community activists who worked to transform this industrial wasteland into a stunning park.

It’s a reminder of the park’s past and a symbol of its transformation.

The ruins scattered around the park provide a sharp contrast to the natural beauty of the area, creating an unusual and intriguing landscape.

Bird's eye view of the Ariel-Foundation Park
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

Go Grocery Shopping at Kroger in Mt Vernon Shopping Plaza

Ever wonder where the freshest produce in the city is?

Well, let me tell you, it's right here at the Kroger in Mt Vernon Shopping Plaza.

It's a bit chilly in there sometimes, but once you get a taste of their fresh produce, you won't mind a bit.

And it's not just about the produce; the meat, bakery, and the entire range of goods are simply phenomenal!

The staff at Kroger are worth their weight in gold.

They're not just efficient; they're friendly, knowledgeable, and always on hand to help.

And you know what?

Most of them have been working here for years!

That tells you a lot about how well they're treated.

As for the prices, they're nothing short of exceptional.

Keep an eye on their sales, and you can snag some fantastic deals.

I remember one time when I was checking out, my bill was about $76.

I looked away for a moment, and when I glanced back, it had dropped to $52!

Can you believe it?

That's the magic of the Kroger card and the app.

Kroger in Mt Vernon Shopping Plaza is more than just a grocery store; it's a cornerstone of our community.

No wonder it's the go-to-market in our locale!

Yes, the prices can seem high sometimes, but that's not Kroger's fault.

And with all the benefits you get shopping here, it's worth every penny.

Have a Peaceful Retreat at the Tree of Life Labyrinth

Just when the golden sun dips beyond the horizon, you can find me walking the winding paths of the Tree of Life Labyrinth, a hidden gem in our city's heart.

Each step I take carries me deeper into a world of tranquility and serenity.

The labyrinth is not just a path but a journey, an experience.

As I tread the intricate pathways, the hustle and bustle of the outside world melts into insignificance.

The lush greenery that surrounds the labyrinth breathes life into it, and the soft rustling of the leaves sings a gentle melody that calms my spirit.

It’s a pathway to meditation, to contemplation, to peace.

The labyrinth is a place of solitude, but it’s also a gathering spot.

I've spent countless hours here, lost in thought or engaged in deep conversations with fellow locals.

It's incredible how this place can be both a sanctuary of solitude and a hub of community interaction.

As the name suggests, at the center of the labyrinth stands the Tree of Life Labyrinth.

This majestic tree, with its far-reaching branches and robust trunk, is a symbol of strength and resilience, a reminder that life, even when it takes unexpected turns, always finds a way.

This is more than just a spot in our city.

It's a living symbol of our community's resilience and unity.

Take in the Community Spirit at Public Square

Every city has a heart, and for Mount Vernon, it's Public Square.

To me, this statement is as true as daylight.

Public Square is not just a place - it's a lively gathering spot, a resounding heartbeat, and a nostalgic memory lane all in one.

Just yesterday morning, as the sun was casting its early golden hues over the city, I took a stroll through the Square.

You should've seen how the sunlight bounced off the historic Knox County Courthouse, casting long, elegant shadows.

It's a sight that never gets old.

The Square was waking up, with local shop owners sweeping their storefronts and the aroma of fresh pastries wafting from Sips Coffee.

There's something to be said about the events, too.

They breathe life into this place.

Just last week, we had the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The Square was adorned with sparkling lights, and the joyous carols resonated with a sense of warmth and togetherness that only home can bring.

Let's not forget about First Fridays.

Every first Friday of the month, the whole place turns into a vibrant festival with food stalls, live music, and art exhibits.

The energy is simply infectious.

Let Your Little Ones Run Free at Memorial Park

Fountain at Memorial Park
CourtneySimons / Shutterstock.com

"One man's retreat is another man's adventure," I always say, especially when it comes to our local gem, Memorial Park.

As an outdoor enthusiast, I've frequented this park more times than I can count.

From launching kayaks for a Kokosing river float trip to enjoying a casual weekend ball game, there's always something to do.

The trail to the river does have a bit of a challenge, though it's steep and can get quite muddy.

So, if you're planning for a less strenuous launch, I'd recommend Riverside Park.

But the thrill of the descent is what makes it so much fun for me.

The park is not just about rigorous activities.

It recently got a makeover, and now it's every child's dream.

The new padding on the ground is a godsend for parents, no more worrying about scrapes and bruises when the little ones take a tumble.

As for the older kids, they will be spoiled for choice with all the varied activities available.

And for us adults?

There are plenty of places to sit back, relax, and keep an eye on the kids.

My 12-year-old nephew absolutely adores this park.

Every time he visits, I make sure to bring him here.

His face lighting up with the biggest smile is a sight I cherish more than anything.

Memorial Park it's truly a place for everyone.

Celebrate Special Occasions at The Alcove Restaurant & Lounge

Let me tell you about a well-kept secret in my city - The Alcove Restaurant & Lounge.

Nestled in the heart of Mount Vernon, it's an old-timey eatery with a lot to offer.

My love affair with The Alcove started when they upped their game and revamped their menu recently.

I was skeptical at first - after all, it's hard to improve on perfection.

But they've managed to do just that.

The food is better than ever, with each dish a perfect blend of flavors that remind you why American cuisine is so beloved.

One thing I really appreciate about The Alcove Restaurant & Lounge is the staff.

They've struck the perfect balance between being attentive and giving you space to enjoy your meal.

It's a breath of fresh air not to feel rushed or neglected at a restaurant.

Now, let's talk about their cocktails.

If you're a fan of mixed drinks, you're in for a treat.

The French 74 is my personal favorite right now.

It's a delightful concoction that's equal parts refreshing and intoxicating.

Moreover, The Alcove has become our go-to spot for special occasions.

Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, or just a night out with friends, it has never failed to make the event memorable.

Take Snaps at the Charm of the River Of Glass

Shiny stones at the River Of Glass
Nicholas J Klein / Shutterstock.com

It's a quaint little secret in our neighborhood, the River Of Glass.

Ah, let me tell you, this place was something else back in the day.

It used to be studded with thousands, no, millions of glittering glass chunks, nestling in the sunlight, painting a surreal picture.

Too bad some people couldn't appreciate the beauty without wanting to possess it.

As a result, a good number of those glass pieces have gone missing, picked up by disrespectful visitors.

However, don't let that put you off.

The River Of Glass still holds its charm.

It's a unique feature of our locality and has a certain cool vibe that never fails to amaze me.

To be honest, on those days when time seems to stretch, I often find myself wandering off to this place.

Just standing there, watching the remaining glass pieces gleam, has a calming effect, you know.

Journey through Time at the Knox County Historical Museum

Ever since I moved into this charming neighborhood in north central Ohio, the Knox County Historical Museum has been one of my most cherished local spots.

One of my favorite things about residing here is the deep sense of community and history that you get to experience, and this museum helps to encapsulate that feeling.

Each visit provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of Knox County and the people who have shaped it.

The museum staff are always friendly and knowledgeable, ready to share their insights with an infectious enthusiasm.

The exhibits are not just beautifully presented but also well-documented, and it's an absolute pleasure to take a slow walk through history, one story at a time.

A standout exhibit for me has always been the Paul Lynde memorabilia, which even includes his 1964 Ford Thunderbird car - certainly a sight to behold!

I've also always been intrigued by the George Tanner collection of old telephones.

It's quite remarkable how these artifacts can instantly transport you to a different time and place.

Now, I might not be an expert on woven goods or glass, but even those displays have thrown up some surprisingly delightful moments.

And if you're interested in oil and gas, like I am, you're sure to find the museum's exhibits, generously supported by local corporate contributors, very rewarding.

The Knox County Historical Museum is not just a place for learning about the past; it's also a space that brings the community together in the present.

I remember when the museum hosted the Mount Vernon Middle School's History Day projects.

It was a joy to see the kids presenting their projects and answering questions, glowing with pride.

Cast a Line at Kiwanis Pavilion

Whenever I need a tranquil space to relax, I find myself drawn to the Kiwanis Pavilion.

The pavilion is a lovely sight, especially when it's lit up in the evening.

It's a perfect place to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day, with plenty of tables scattered around.

The walkways that wind around the pavilion add to the overall charm of the area.

However, it's not just the pavilion that attracts me, but the opportunity to engage in some peaceful fishing.

The ponds nearby are teeming with fish, making them an ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts like myself.

The grassy area around Kiwanis Pavilion is great for a leisurely walk.

But, just a heads up, you might want to watch your step for goose droppings!

Despite this minor inconvenience, I wouldn't trade my walks in this lush, green space for anything else.

One of the most distinctive features of the park is the smoke tower.

It's quite a sight to behold, standing tall against the backdrop of the park.

It's one of those unique elements that make the Kiwanis Pavilion a gem in our community.

Final Thoughts

Mount Vernon indeed holds a special place in my heart.

Every corner is brimming with history and natural beauty, from the charming Ariel-Foundation Park to the scenic Kokosing Gap Trail.

Whether you're a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, I hope you find as much joy in exploring Mount Vernon as I do.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.