The Velvet Ice Cream Factory

I've wanted to take the kids (and myself!) to Ye Old Mill forever, it just always seemed too far away and Rhys wasn't into ice cream yet. But, behold. This year he is a fanatic and we finally made the trip to Utica (which is not that far away, it turns out).

We went at 11:00 on Wednesday (we left Worthington at 10:00 and got to Ye Old Mill at 10:48 with zero traffic).

I was excited to see a playground, an actual mill (reminds me of Gatlinburg so much!), and a pond. This meant that, yes, there is more to see and do than eat ice cream.

A friendly staffer invited us into the Visitor Center for a free tour. They run every hour and are about 20 minutes long. She gave us the history of Velvet as a company, the mill, and the family, and part of it was a good-quality video. I couldn't believe they produce 5 MILLION gallons of ice cream per year and distribute it all over Ohio and surrounding states.

We got a glimpse in the factory viewing room, where the staff was busy at work on the line. The kids liked seeing the machines and play-calling what the "guys" were doing. There are a few cute photo-ops in that building, where the tour ends.

After the tour, ice cream of course! There are three ways to order: sit down at a table outside and order, inside at a table to order, or walk up to the ice cream cases and pick what you like (and then walk around with it outside). They have a full lunch menu and we took some chicken salad croissants to eat on the way home. YUM.

Normally, this sampler is only ordered from a table, but we didn't know what we were doing and they were kind enough to make it for me to-go since the kids already had theirs. Whoops.

Banana cream pie, Rocky Road, Elephant ear, Birthday cake, and Orange Pineapple. Elephant Ear and Rocky Road were my favorites (actually, I can't stop thinking about them). 

My mom got a sugar free Butter Pecan and Cashew, which she liked, and we both regretted not trying the gelato (oh well, we have to go back now!) Rhys got a simple chocolate with sprinkles, and Larkyn demolished her cookies and cream cone (the first time she hasn't eaten ice cream and handed me the soggy cone).

After the sugar high, we ran around the nice playground, grass area, and sandbox. I saw signs for a Nature Trail, but rain was looming, so we went inside.

Adjacent to the ice cream parlor is a gift shop and ice cream museum. The kids were really into buttons, cranks, piano, and just generally putting their hands on everything.  Some of the activities didn't actually work, so I'd love to go back when they are repaired and the kids can try again (that's just me; they didn't care).

After a quick look at the pond and throwing some pennies in the fountain, we set off for Columbus. We can't wait to go back and try the flavors that many people have suggested: Buckeye Blitz, Salty Caramel Crunch, and the elusive S'mores, which was sold out. Do you have a favorite Velvet flavor?

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