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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Things to do in Ashland for incoming AU students

Below you can find plenty of different activities to do in and around Ashland
Brynn Meisse
Grandpa’s Cheese Barn, located on the east side of Ashland, can be a great spot for students to explore!

Moving away from home to a new city for college can be scary. You do not know anyone or even the city you are moving into, but Ashland offers many exploration opportunities.  

Whether getting involved on campus or looking to explore the city, there is something for everyone.  

Campus Involvement  

The best way to meet people on campus is to get involved in the clubs. 

Ashland University offers over 100 different clubs from Greek Life to intramural sports teams to church groups.  

One of the popular church groups on campus is the Fellowship for Christian Athletes, which meets once a week on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the lower level of the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel. 

During its weekly meeting, the group will listen to messages from Pastor Joe Maggelet, AU’s chaplain, and worship with the FCA band. 

Maggelet has been a part of FCA since 1988 with his main goal part of FCA since 1988 with the main goal of his being “to reach disciple and equip athletes to know Christ and make Him know.” 

On Tuesday night services, Maggelet focuses on “scriptural-based messages.” 

“[They are] designed to make disciplines and teach the biblical worldview,” he explained. 

Dylan Phelps, a junior track athlete, has been attending FCA since the spring of his freshman year. 

“I love this group because it gave me fellowship and a place to worship the Lord on campus,” Phelps said. “I’ve met some of my best friends there!” 

The group goes beyond the walls of the Chapel. 

Maggelet can be seen at every sporting event supporting his students. 

It is important to be at sporting events because we have to develop relationships with players and to pray with them encouraging them to win,” Maggelet said. “It’s not a job but a calling from God. I was made for this.” 

Getting Outside 

If you are looking to go off-campus for a little bit, Ashland has several parks, including Freer Field, Brookside Park, Brookside West Park, and Sandusky Hollow. 

Freer Field is a short five-minute walk from campus with two miles of hiking trails and a one-mile paved loop. Freer Field is home to Ashland Balloon Festival which takes place every summer. 

Another popular park in Ashland is Brookside Park. Located at 209 Parkside Drive, Brookside offers basketball courts, a seasonal pool, Guy C. Myers band shell, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, horseshoe pits, and several spots to hammock. 

If you are looking to enjoy a picnic by the water, Brookside West Park is the way to go. This park has soccer fields, basketball courts, hiking trails, a bike trail, a dog park, two picnic pavilions, and a fishing pond. Brookside West Park is located at 1261 County Road 1153. 

A smaller park that only offers hiking trails is Sandusky Hollow Nature Preserve. This park features five hiking trails and is home to numerous native plants, trees, and wildlife.  

While easy hikes are good for an evening around campus, a day trip to Mohican would provide an escape from campus. 

Mohican is a state park located in Loudonville, which is about a 30-minute drive from campus.   

This state park has over 32 miles of hiking trails, 22 miles of bridle trails, 24 miles of mountain biking trails, campsites, and the swimming-accessible river.  

Some of these hiking trails will lead to waterfalls, a dam, an old fire tower, and a swinging bridge.  

This park is free and open to the public but closes at dusk. 

More information about Mohican State Park can be found on Mohican State Park | Ohio Department of Natural Resources (

Local Businesses 

If hiking is not your thing do not worry. There are plenty of other activities to do in Ashland such as going to the new movie theatre. 

The Ashland Theatre opened earlier this summer after undergoing months of renovations.  

Each week the theatre shows newly released movies such as Barbie and Oppenheimer. The theatre can also host live shows.  

On Sept. 16, Todd Riley, an Ashland native, will be performing his comedy show, Perfectly Inappropriate. Tickets can be found on their website The Ashland Theatre

Instead of sitting in a dark theatre, a great alternative to this is the infamous Grandpa’s Cheese Barn and Sweeties Chocolates. 

Just off Interstate 71, sits a white barn that is known for its delicious chocolate sweets, smoked meats, and variety of cheeses. 

The original idea of Grandpa’s Cheese Barn started as Yarman’s cheese house in West Salem.  

Grandpa Yarman started his business by selling his radio to purchase a wheel of Ohio Swiss in the 1900s. He was also well known for his smoked meat. 

After his passing, his daughter, Vera Baum, worked to keep his dream alive with her husband.   

Grandma and Grandpa Baum opened Grandpa’s Cheese Barn in 1978 and quickly became a well-known name around town. 

The barn offers 120 different kinds of cheeses from local farms and around the world.  

The Ashland experience wouldn’t be complete without visiting Grandpa’s Cheese Barn. 

Fall Activities 

When the leaves start to change and pumpkins start to grow, the best place to get into the fall spirit would be Honey Haven Farms. 

Located at 1327 County Road 1475, this locally owned farm offers all the fall essentials such as corn mazes, furry animal friends, pumpkin patches, warm apple donuts, apple cider, and even a pumpkin launcher. In one of the barns, different local vendors set up shops. 

Honey Haven Farms opens on Sept. 23 through Oct. 29. They are open Fridays from 3 p.m. until 7p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m. 

If you are more into the scary part of fall such as haunted houses, then the Ohio State Reformatory would be a great option with friends.  

The historic prison was built between 1886 and 1910. The Reformatory remained in operation until 1990 before being ordered to close.  

The Ohio State Reformatory has a long-documented history of paranormal activity, which has drawn crowds from all over for their tours. 

The prison offers self-guided tours, ghost hunts, ghost tours, and the famous Escape from Blood Prison, a haunted house. 

Blood Prison opens from Sept. 29 through Oct. 29. They will be open on Fridays from 7 p.m. until midnight, Saturdays from 7 p.m. until midnight, and Sundays from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. 

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