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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield loved his rolling countryside home and had a hope for its future. "Every inch of it has been in hard use since it was built and will, I hope, go on being used in the same fashion so long as it stands. Perhaps one day it will belong to the state together with the hills, valleys and woods of Malabar Farm." Bromfield's dream came true in 1972 when the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm. In 1976, Malabar became an Ohio state park. Dedicated to preserving Bromfield's farming and conservation philosophies, Malabar Farm State Park is unusual in that it invites visitors to explore life on a ...

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield loved his rolling countryside home and had a hope for its future. "Every inch of it has been in hard use since it was built and will, I hope, go on being used in the same fashion so long as it stands. Perhaps one day it will belong to the state together with the hills, valleys and woods of Malabar Farm." Bromfield's dream came true in 1972 when the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm. In 1976, Malabar became an Ohio state park. Dedicated to preserving Bromfield's farming and conservation philosophies, Malabar Farm State Park is unusual in that it invites visitors to explore life on a farm along with the beauties of nature. The 1919 mail order catalog home where Bromfield and his family once lived is now a hostel, the first hostel located in a state park. The 32-room Big House where Bromfield later lived is now a museum, preserved just as Bromfield left it when he died in 1956. Outbuildings and pastures still house chickens, goats and beef cattle. Hills host crops of corn, wheat, oats and hay. From May through October, farm wagon tours conducted by naturalists are an appealing way to see the farm. For a closer look, choose a hiking trail such as the Doris Duke Woods Trail that meanders through 180 acres of woodland habitat. The trail is named after the tobacco heiress who bought back the timber rights for this woodlot after Bromfield's death. A petting barn area introduces youngsters to special barnyard friends and a songbird aviary showcases many of Ohio's native birds. For an old-fashioned pastime, borrow a free pole and head over to one of the park's stocked farm ponds to fish for bluegill, catfish, bass or crappie. An Ohio fishing license is required for those 16 to 66 years of age. Visitors can also volunteer to be Farmhand for a Day, assisting with the many chores around the farm, such as collecting fresh laid eggs, brushing the pony and filling buckets with grain and water.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring to see the baby animals or Saturdays in October for hay rides