If there are two things my family loves, it’s a hike through the woods and a good plate of french fries. And that’s just what we found after a sunny trip to the town of Wilmot, Ohio. A lesser known stop through Amish Country, Wilmot holds a few gems that are definitely worth a visit.
We began our trip hungry, as most trips with children are, and stopped at BeeBops Diner. Motorcycles lined the gravel parking lot and you could smell the onion rings (in a good way!) as you opened the door.
With glasses of canning jars, BeeBops was a friendly, comfortable, clean, and fun place for the family. Famous for their stuffed ½ pound cheeseburgers, we knew exactly what we would order the next time we came with a really hungry belly.
They're also famous for their onion rings and fries. “We make our own batter here,” said our waitress. “And fresh cut our own french fries.” With malt vinegar waiting on the table, we were all nearly drooling on their menus.
Just north of Wilmot is The Wilderness Center, a magnificent natural wonderland. What started as a few hundred acres in 1964 is now over 2,000 acres today. This not for profit organization provides visitors with many opportunities in an area that is naturally protected. Learning opportunities abound for people of all ages. There are organized hikes for adults, children, families, schools and scouts available, all led by the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. Mostly staffed by volunteers, The Wilderness Center is a place that is truly loved by many.
The beautiful visitor center provides information, a great store (pack your wallet!), and a hands-on learning room for children of all ages. You can meet Boris, a black rat snake, and Barnaby, a box turtle. A bird observation room with outdoor speakers lets you get a close up look at our feathered friends as well.
Out on the trails, the possibilities are endless. There are trails that lead through a well-maintained tall grass prairie, along a creek, through the woods, to a pond, or even to a lake where you can find a gaggle of Canada geese. In the lobby, there is corn available to take to feed the geese, which you transport in an ice cream cone. Once the geese have eaten the corn, take a walk out onto the dock and break up the cone to feed the fish. With two large beaver dams on the lake, there is certainly wildlife everywhere.
One of our family’s favorite things to do is to hike around the lake, feed the geese and fish, and then continue through the pine forest on the Pond Trail and up to the watchtower. Just a few flights of stairs and you can overlook the property and enjoy a snack or a good book.
The Wilderness Center does not charge visitors for hiking, but some programs require a small fee. Yearly membership is very affordable and goes to support a fantastic wild area that provides so much to so many, not to mention the service it does to the natural world.