Category Archives: Dawes Arboretum

Detour to Dawes Arboretum

Pink peony by Daweswood House; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.

If not for photography I might run too much. Sadly, when friends refer to rehab projects, I think of ankles and knees. Anything in excess is unhealthy, even “good for your body” things like exercise. Fortunately, photography provides enough outdoor thrills to compensate for an endorphin-less “rest day”.

The Dawes Arboretum Visitor Information and Map

Kentucky coffee trees with farm field; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

One of my favorite photo stops is Dawes Arboretum, east of Columbus in Newark, Ohio. Dawes cradles some 1700 acres of botanical beauty. Founded in 1929 by the colorful Beman and Bertie Dawes, the park is free to the public and offers an impressive display of more than 15,000 living plants. Eight miles of trails allow visitors to wander through a cypress swamp, a Japanese garden, a woods and multiple collections of labeled plant specimens. The grounds are well manicured in a non-fussy sort of way. It’s the kind of place one could imagine as his own backyard with enough money, time and the knowledge to make it so.

Japanese Garden; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

The serene Japanese garden includes a reflection pool, meditation house and two islands, artfully accessed by stepping stones and arched wooden bridges.

Bald cypress swamp; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

The Bald cypress swamp is other-worldly with pneumatophores or “cypress knees” protruding all over like odd little families wading through the algae coated water.

Collections of conifers, holly, oaks, ginkgoes, magnolias and many more fill the seemingly endless acreage that eventually rolls into Dawes Lake at the southern edge of the park.

The view from an observation tower just beyond allows one to decipher the “secret message” in the hedge planting at the park’s southern tip: “Dawes Arboretum.”Japanese Umbrella tree; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

The park was a Sunday drive destination for my family when I was a young girl, but as many times as I’ve wandered the grounds there, I still discover something new every time.

Tulip bloom on tulip tree; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

Tree bench at Dawes Memorial; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

This time a deciduous variety of holly, a blooming tulip tree and bench grafted into the trunks of two sturdy trees caused the double-takes. The bench sits within the family cemetery just beyond the Daweswood House Museum and History Center, which I aim to check out next time.

Yellow flowering shrub; Dawes Arboretum; Newark, Ohio

On my last visit we tried identifying as many trees and shrubs as we could without peeking at their labels but found that even the most common tree species have impressive families.  Who knew there were so many varieties of ginkgoes?!

That afternoon slipped by as gently and sweetly as the rolling hills around us, and I found plenty of thrills through my camera lens.  Should the truly shocking occur this year, a non-stormy/non-freezing Mother’s Day, a picnic at Dawes sounds about perfect.

Updated from June 2, 2008.


The Dawes Arboretum Visitor Information and Map

The Dawes Arboretum (Newark, Ohio)
1800 acres of botanical beauty to drive and walk through.
Eight miles of trails with labeled specimens.
Collections of holly, azalea, conifers, cypress, bonsai and more.
A 36-foot Outlook Tower and serene Japanese Garden are visitor favorites.
Picnicking permitted.
Free to the public.
“Yes” to pets (on leash)

Directions: Take I-70 east from Columbus. Take Newark exit and travel north on Jacksontown Rd. Arboretum entrance will be on left.
Visitor Center: Open Mon-Sat, 8AM-5PM; Sundays and holidays, 1PM-5PM
Address: 7770 Jacksontown Rd. SE; Newark Ohio 43056
Phone: 740-323-2355 or 800-44-DAWES
Admission: Free!

View Larger Map


In-Town Tourist: Hello Summer!

Xander the Sun Bear; The Columbus Zoo

Don’t let the temporarily (I hope!) damp cold weather fool you.  Summer has arrived here in Ohio.  My oldest son started a full-time job in downtown Columbus this morning.  My younger two are undoubtedly wriggling in their seats at school today, minds wandering ahead to Wednesday morning, when their own summer vacation will finally begin.

Like many, I’ve been planning how best to accommodate the summertime shift to our schedule.  In years past we kept a basket of our written activity goals for summer.  These goals ranged from kayaking and biking to picnics and “ice cream walks”.  From going to the fair to cleaning the garage (one of mine)…  We all wrote down three or four choices and emptied the basket over the summer months.  I kept the slips of paper as “evidence”, however, for the inevitable “we haven’t done anything!” moment of boredom that typically ocurs in mid-July.

Kentucky Coffee Trees; Dawes Arboretum

My aim is to designate an afternoon each week for an “In-Town Tourist” type activity.  Dawes Arboretum, Blackhand Gorge, The Kokosing Trail, The National Airforce Museum, The Columbus Zoo…  we have a lot of choices around here.   A weekly afternoon devoted to exploring won’t begin to uncover all that Ohio offers us, but it will hopefully buy me some uninterrupted work time during the rest of the week.  ~And kids are the best excuse to enjoy the activities you never quite outgrow…  like racing at the local go-cart track and skipping rocks across a quiet river.  Hello Summer.

More “In-Town Tourist”

Columbus Things To Do


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