Malabar Farm State Park is a historically rich stop on your Ohio State Park tour. The unique farm built by author Louis Bromfield includes a farmhouse, barn and so much more. The buildings in the park have maintained for over 70 years since the deed was handed over to the Ohio park service.
The farm house, considered large even by todays standards, features 32 rooms and can be toured in the condition it was left in back in 1956. Built by Louis Bromfield, an author and conservationist, the house was built to look like it was added on to – although I am not sure why. The home features a kitchen, many bathrooms, bedrooms, sitting rooms, a nannies quarters and a suite for the in laws. If you tour the house, let us know what you felt stood out. We were surprised by the tiny size of the beds. The beds we have today would most likely be a tight fit in the rooms in the Malabar Farmhouse.
The Malabar Farm State Park situated in Ashland County, Ohio is just a short drive from Loudonville, Ohio. Things to do nearby include the Mohican State Park, Pleasant Hill Lake and more. Hiking, bike trails, bridal trails, canoeing and many other outdoor recreational activities are just minutes away. If you love Amish Country, Ohio’s Amish Country, the largest amish settlement in the country, is just 40 minutes away.
Malabar Farm State Park Visitor Center and Gift Shop
The Louis Bromfield Visitor Center offers a variety of learning opportunities about agriculture, wildlife, energy, conservation and more via their interactive displays.
You can purchase Louis Bromfield books and items grown on the farm and around Ohio in addition to food, snacks and other books about sustainability, nature, and natural living.
Malabar State Farm Events
The Malabar State Farm holds many events throughout the year, including Heritage Days, Maple Syrup event, barn dances, Farm Friday and more. You can subscribe to their FB page to see when they publish new events.
Malabar Farm State Park Map
The Malabar Farm State park map is available in the visitor center. We recommend you stop and grab one as the locations of various items are spread over hundreds of acres.
The Malabar Farm State Park map can be downloaded from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website here.
Malabar Farm State Park Wagon Tour
We jumped at the chance to take a wagon drawn tour at Malabar Farm. The tour guide told us all about the history of the farm, including the story of Ceely Rose, who murdered her family on the farm in 1896. The tour takes you around the property to see the various buildings, including the home of Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield, the Pugh Cabin, the Malabar Farm Inn, Sugar Camp, the Spinning & Weaving Guild, the pioneer cemetery, the Ceely Rose House, and so much more. The whole time the tour guide is explaining each historical location and sharing their knowledge of the famous farm.
You can visit the park gift shop and a sewing house while you’re on the property. The sewing house was one of our favorite stops as we just so happened to wander in while ladies were using a loom, knitting and making various items. We couldn’t help but purchase a handmade rug, shaw and a few other items.
The Malabar Farm State Park includes 12 miles of hiking and horseback trails. The foot trails are all less than one mile long. The seven mile bridle path also allows hiking.
Who Was Ceely Rose and Where is Her House?
It’s nearly impossible to miss the Ceely Rose house on the tour of Malabar Farm, although you may not even realize you’re seeing it. The house sits along the road between Malabar Farm and the Pugh Cabin. The story goes that Ceely Rose liked a boy near the town. When she was told she wasn’t allowed to date him, she poisoned her family with rat poison.
If you haven’t heard the story of Ceely Rose, you can read about it in this historical novel.
Butter Nut Trail Rock City Cave
To get to the cave, you’ll walk back the Butter Nut Trail on Malabar Farm State Park. Parking here can be a bit hard to come by as the parking lot is rather small. You’ll want to park near the Pugh Cabin (mentioned in the next segment), which is also near the maple cabin, a feature during the Maple Festival. When we explored the trail and cave, the parking lot was extremely full. Alternatively, you can park at the gift shop and make the trek to the short trail to get to the cave. I recommend trying to park by the Pugh Cabin first.
The Pugh Cabin at Malabar Farm State Park
The Pugh Cabin at Malabar Farm State Park is most famous for being in the opening scene of The Shawshank Redemption. Regardless, it’s a beautiful log cabin surrounded by a unique landscape carved by a glacier.
The Shawshank Redemption at Malabar Farm State Park
The Pugh Cabin is home to the opening scene of the Shawshank Redemption film. The few minutes of the opening scene was included in the film and is the cabins claim to fame.
The Weaving / Spinning Guild at Malabar Farm State Park
The Weaving and Spinning Guild at Malabar Farm State Park was one of our favorite stops. We got to talk with a half dozen women about what they were making and even purchased one of their loom-made rugs. There were two ladies in the basement working on the loom, which was a highlight of the stop. Women were knitting in the main room of the house. You can purchase scarves, shaws, rugs and more at the guild. Be sure to take cash.