Blue skies and warm temperatures meant it was a perfect day for hiking. It was our first hiking trip of the year without barren trees. The leaf canopy was a bright kelly green, the brush along the trail was a darker forest green, and wildflowers were held high on light green stems. While enjoying hiking trails, we could not get enough of all the shades of green.
Quail Hollow Park is in Stark County near Hartville, Ohio. Over 700 acres of wetland marshes, meadows and woodlands comprise Quail Hollow Park. There is also a 40-room historic manor located within the park. The land was purchased by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1975, making Quail Hollow the first state park in Stark County.
The Stark County park system has been responsible for the property since 2016. Historically, the land has seen many different people groups. The Delaware Native American tribe had left the area by 1810 when frontiersmen first began traveling to the area looking for land.
Conrad Brumbaugh was one of the first to settle on the land that later became Quail Hollow Park. He built his home in 1820. Harry Bartlett Stewart began acquiring land in the area in 1914, first purchasing land adjacent to the Brumbaugh homestead. The Stewart family originally used the land on weekends for hunting trips, but ultimately made it their permanent residence.
From its humble beginnings, it grew to include a large manor house, a servant’s cottage, and other smaller buildings. Harry Bartlett Stewart was chief executive officer of the Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad. His son, Harry Bartlett Stewart Jr. succeeded him in business and later lived with his wife and children in the manor house.
The family eventually sold the buildings and over 700 acres to the state at half the appraisal cost in 1975.
Over the years after the land was designated a state park, it became a local recreational hub featuring hiking, biking and fishing opportunities. Equestrian trails are also located within the park. There are over 7 miles of hiking trails, including a Nature for All trail that is an asphalt paved trail. The trails bring hikers through forests and close to wetlands and vernal pools.
Rare plants and small animals thrive in the wet conditions. The Buckeye Trail passes through Quail Hollow Park as it heads north into Summit County. We didn’t have our bikes with us but wanted to check out the mountain bike trail. The trail is 3.3 miles in length and is considered a good course for beginners.
The trail was adopted by the non-profit CAMBA, Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association. Currently, the trail is closed until the third Saturday in May per the CAMBA trail policy to protect the trail from damage during wet conditions. The single trail track has directional signs and travels through deciduous trees. It also passes by the historic Brumbaugh cemetery.
Another area we all enjoyed was walking through the herb garden. It sits behind the manor house. A sloping hillside leads from the manor house down to the garden and gazebo. With the short rock walls and hedges, it seemed like we were transported back to the Victorian era.
There is an interesting history behind the herb garden which is currently maintained by the Quail Hollow Herbal Society. The herb garden was originally a croquet court and a small part of a large garden area designed by Warren H. Manning. A famous landscape architect from Boston, Manning also designed the estate grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.
Early in his career, he contributed to the planting designs at the Biltmore Estate of George Vanderbilt. A restoration committee is working to restore the area to its original plan designed by Manning.
The park area has seen many transitions in its history, from rolling forests and wetlands to farmland and now back again with the addition of trails and accessibility. It is a work in progress with the help of volunteers. The future is bright green for Quail Hollow Park.
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