Summertime for families in Central Ohio often means warm weather, sunshine, ice cream, trips to the playground and picnics. For families visiting the Velvet Ice Cream headquarters in Utica, Ohio, summer images merge in one rural spot: Velvet Ice Cream’s Ye Olde Mill. If the family has not taken the opportunity to drive to Utica, about 35 miles east of the metropolitan Columbus, area—it is worth a family trip. To make the most of a day trip to Ye Olde Mill and Velvet Ice Cream’s home, there are a few tips to consider.
Plan the trip prior to visit to avoid disappointments. While the mill and the grounds are open seven days a week during the season, the Velvet Ice Cream factory may not be up and running on weekends. For families wishing to participate in the free factory tours, a weekday visit may be necessary depending on the facility's operating schedule. Of course, noteworthy events and activities, such as petting zoos or live musicians are primarily on site only during the weekends. Phone ahead when planning a trip to ensure that desired activities are available during the proposed trip dates and times.
Swap baby’s stroller for a backpack. Backpacks are easier to maneuver than strollers throughout most of the grounds. The parking area and most of the trail access are gravel or unpaved—and the gift shop, visitor’s area, and restaurant spaces are somewhat small and become rather crowded during peak season. Strolling through tight spaces involves less stress when tackled with less bulk. Parents may; however, wish to have a stroller on hand for naptime since a nap may be required during the day.
Play clothes and old shoes are a must. There is a spacious children’s playground, trails, open green space, a pond allowing duck feeding—and access to a multitude of ice cream flavors. Ye Olde Mill and Velvet Ice Cream’s headquarters offer an excellent space for kids to be kids—and be messy. The gravel parking lot and dirt trails are also prone to dust when the weather is dry and mud during rainy months.
Plan ahead for meals and snacks during your mill visit. Whether opting to eat in the Wheel Room Restaurant or pack a picnic lunch, it is possible to enjoy family friendly meals during a Velvet Ice Cream visit. The onsite restaurant offers an affordable kids menu and adult friendly meals—and, of course, the 19th Century style ice cream parlor serves up lots of Velvet Ice Cream treats. Packing a lunch or snack from home is also perfectly acceptable--and free. There are lots of picnic tables or green spaces for a picnic blanket available throughout the grounds.
Prepare for an extended visit. Pack along extra water—especially if venturing out on the hiking trail. Remember sunscreen since many of the areas are not shaded. The little ones will certainly want to play on the playground, feed the ducks, and have more than one scoop of ice cream. Plan to make the visit to Ye Olde Mill a full day trip. Parents may wish to take along a book or take advantage of the free wi-fi onsite while the little ones spend the day playing. Plan to have at least one meal and at least one snack—not including ice cream--while visiting Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill.
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