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Explore Licking County: End up Somewhere Unexpected

by Dan Moder, executive director, Explore Licking County

Licking County knows hospitality. It should; it's been honing that skill since 1808. In the beginning, our form of welcome was a bit more laid back and, dare we say, untamed. It was the wilderness 214 years ago, complete with horse paths, muddy, rutted, one-lane stagecoach roads and a landscape dotted with homesteaders trying to make a go of it. Yes, it was a bit wild back then, but there was always the notion of greeting a visitor with the best we had to offer.

In the 21st Century, Licking Countians still subscribe to and willingly pass along that tradition of hospitality in a unique fusion of old and new. We've never lost sight of the old days when a hot meal and a handshake were the norms and a stranger to town was just "one of us" until the stagecoach pulled away. We're fiercely proud that we have retained that mid-western sensibility and successfully married it with modern-day amenities. It's the perfect mix for us.

The OSAP Annual Conference is an opportunity for the collective "us" to iron the good linens, polish the silver and set the table for you. 2022 is your chance to experience Licking County hospitality - centuries in the making. We get it, though, the conference will keep you busy and your free time will be limited, so we suggest a return visit to take it all in at your leisure. When we suggest taking "it all in," we stand by that statement, proud that we have the third-largest tourism economy in central Ohio.

Your return trip could include a visit to our great outdoors. Visit the more than 1,600 acres of preserved and programmed wildlife parks, including the Licking River's most extensive stretch, famous for its kayak-ability and bald eagle roosts. With more than 40 miles of continuous, paved recreational trails that stretch to all four corners of the county, your bike is worth bringing along. Still, need some more nature? The world-famous Dawes Arboretum fits the bill with 2,000 acres complete with 16,000 living trees, shrubs, and flower specimens.

You need to eat (and drink) when you vacation, so why not do it as the locals do? Every city, village and burb of Licking County offers some of the most eclectic menus. Each with its own personality, flavor and flair. Nothing starts the dinner hour (or lunch hour - no judgment from us) off on the right foot like a happy hour with friends. With more breweries per capita than Franklin County, we are always prepared to pour you a glass of our best. More of a wine person? Licking County offers a selection of wineries all set in rolling hills or funky downtown locations.

Cherry Valley Hotel and Ohio Event Center is a premier location for lodging and conferences, but that is just one of the many lodging options. Historic inns and bed and breakfasts abound around every corner, living nicely with more traditional hotel properties. Feel like roughing it? Tent, camper camping, and everyone's favorite "glamping" are all options for the more adventurous.

Licking County has a long history of entertaining. If you feel like an evening out is in order, we're happy to lift the curtain in multiple historic theatres and summer stock playhouses. All of which offer quality, first-rate performances. Want to get your rumble on? National Trail Raceway brings the stadium-shaking thunder of nationally recognized drag racing to the county every summer. Need some water? Buckeye Lake (Ohio's first state park) is a tradition in the warmer months. It never disappoints the water lover or the Landlubber.

The county's network of museums is a must when visiting. With everything from institutions dedicated to Licking County's rich heritage of art, science, and industry to our ongoing efforts to preserve 2,000-year-old American Indian earthworks. There is bound to be something for everyone.

It's a lot to take in and plan for, so you may need some help. That's where Explore Licking County becomes your go-to. Explore Licking County is a modern-day resource that is most helpful to visitors. Functioning as the county's convention and visitor’s bureau, Explore Licking County is a comprehensive collection of the best in Ohio's thirty-second county. With curated journeys, great story-telling, and a robust event calendar, this website is a must-have in navigating the seven hundred square miles we call home. Check-in with the gang at Explore Licking County at:

Enjoy the 2022 Ohio Society of Association Professional's annual conference with our best wishes and friendliest of welcomes. Remember, when you're here: You're one of us!

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