Fall Road Trip on Ohio Route 16
The 53-mile stretch between Pataskala and Coshocton County passes by the World’s Largest Picnic Basket and ends at a village that celebrates the Ohio & Erie Canal era.
With its western edge at Civic Center Drive in downtown Columbus, state Route 16 heads east along Broad Street through our capital city and neighborhoods such as Bexley and towns like Pataskala into neighboring Licking County, where it passes through Granville and Newark as it continues east to its endpoint in Coshocton County. Along the 53-mile stretch between Pataskala and Coshocton’s Historic Roscoe Village, travelers will find the World’s Largest Picnic Basket (the former headquarters of the Longaberger basket company was constructed to resemble one of its products), great family eats and a destination that shares what life was like here during the era of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Nutcracker Family Restaurant
Step back in time at this fun 1950s-style diner, complete with red vinyl booths, a server’s station modeled after an old gas pump and bright neon signs. What originally opened in 1995 as a sweets shop in downtown Pataskala soon moved to this spot along Broad Street, where it serves up diner favorites ranging from country fried steak to meatloaf to the restaurant’s signature grilled cinnamon rolls. 63 E. Broad St., Pataskala 43062, 740/964-0056, nutcrackerfamilyrestaurant.com
Founded in 1805 and the home of historic Denison University, this Licking County community holds a variety of spots for travelers to enjoy. Make a stop off of state Route 16 here to grab a cone at Whit’s Frozen Custard or book an overnight stay at the Granville Inn. The shops and restaurants of Granville offer plenty to explore, from The Pub on Broadway to Cedar & Thread, a home decor and clothing boutique. visitgranvilleohio.com
Travel about 8 miles east to Newark and check out this fun, hands-on museum that focuses on art, technology and history. Observe a glass blower at work, gaze deep into the night sky at the planetarium and learn about the past of this city with a long and interesting history. Afterward, take a walk through downtown and check out the farmers market that runs 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays through October. 55 S. First St., Newark 43055, 740/349-9277, attheworks.org
Longaberger Basket Building
Along state Route 16, about 3 miles east of downtown Newark, stands an office building shaped like an enormous picnic basket (complete with 75-ton handles). The former Longaberger headquarters was built in the shape of the company’s medium-size market basket but has sat empty since 2016 waiting to be repurposed. The one-of-a-kind building makes for a great photo op and is arguably one of the state’s most famous roadside oddities. 1500 E. Main St., Newark 43055
Historic Roscoe Village
This restoration of the historic port town bursts with fall color as autumn takes hold. The season also brings the village’s annual Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival each October. Nestled along the route of the Ohio & Erie Canal, this inviting village’s shops, gardens and establishments tell the story of how canal travel shaped this portion of our state. It offers living history demonstrations and a variety of wares for sale from local makers. 600 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton 43812, 740/622-7644, roscoevillage.com