MANSFIELD ─ The 2021 Richland County visitor guide looks much different from its predecessors.
It is no longer a small brochure that fits your pocket, but a magazine-style guide featuring various topics, including The Shawshank Trail, tourist attractions suitable for children and art activities in the county.
“We wanted a larger magazine-style format to make it more of a leave-behind, coffee-table kind of piece, and one that could be utilized by more than just visitors and tourists,” said Lee Tasseff, president of Destination Mansfield – Richland County.
The organization recently published the visitor guide. Tasseff said the 80,000 hard copies will be distributed to travel centers across the state, local hotels, attractions and many other places.
People can also request a hard copy or download a PDF of the guide on Destination Mansfield’s website.
The guide is part of Destination Mansfield’s new branding project, paused last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tasseff said the team decided to move the new guide forward because it’s important to create the latest version as a broader community marketing piece.
There are plenty of large photos in the information book, which aims to create a more significant impact on readers. Tasseff said Destination Mansfield spent seven months on the project, much longer than it did in previous years.
Instead of writing the content itself, the team partnered with Great Lakes Publishing, which also publishes the Ohio Magazine and the 2021 Ohio Travel Guide for the state.
Tasseff said the company is experienced in making this type of publication. Another reason why Destination Mansfield worked with it was the potential exposure. Some of the photos taken in the Richland County area made the state publications, gaining more attention for the region.
“Field Day” is a new section in the guide that features three local people who shared their favorite places to take visitors, the best local meals and the best activities.
“Part of the reason people travel is to immerse themselves or experience things the way locals did,” Tasseff said.
That is why the user-generated content was created, the president said, to show what those who live here would do and think.
The new guide’s cover features a local family walking at the Kingwood Center Gardens. Tasseff said the tourist spot was also the “cover poster child” for last year’s guide, but not many people had the opportunity to get one.
It is many people’s favorite time to visit Kingwood, development and marketing director Brenda Nelson said. The garden staff planted about 20,000 tulip bulbs throughout the gardens. The flowers are blooming and close to their peak season.
Nelson said the April snow last week did very little damage to the tulips. People can find the progress of the bloom on the gardens’ Facebook page. After the tulip season, perennials will be planted and are projected to start reaching the peak in July.
“Our gardening staff, they take a lot of time in planning the design and the color schemes of every bed. So, nothing is the same year to year,” Nelson said.
With its new visitor center opening in October, Kingwood stayed open from January to March for the first time this year. Nelson said many people came to the outdoor venue and checked the exhibits as well.
Kingwood will host its annual Spring Plant Sale from April 30 to May 2. Nelson said those interested can find different types of flowering plants, vegetable and herb garden plants at the garden and gift shop.