For Janice LoRaso, heritage and Licking County are completely intertwined.
After graduating from Ohio University, Janice moved far from Licking County – as far as she could. She spent 12 years in California.
When it was time to start a family with her husband, Carlo, there was no question of what to do next. “I couldn’t think of any place but coming home,” she says. And that’s where Wendy and Erik Lindskog come in. After 30 years spent outside Licking County, Wendy and Erik are moving back, and Janice found it to be the perfect opportunity to reintroduce her good friends to the community. It was a true homecoming especially for Wendy, who is battling breast cancer.
The first stop for Janice, Carlo, Erik and Wendy was Early Birds Breakfast. Why? Hospitality, of course. “It’s the best breakfast in Licking County,” says Janice. “The sisters who run it – Sara and Elizabeth (Ernest) – you’re so warmly greeted and cared for there, and the food is delicious. That’s how I wanted to set the tone for the day.”
You don’t have to go back generations to receive incredible hospitality in the county. If you’re hoping for a less traditional stay, try camping at the Lazy River at Granville or the Buckeye Lake KOA, settle into your own home away from home at Studio 555, or go for the traditional bed and breakfast experience at Elizabeth on Main in Johnstown or WillowBrooke Bed ‘n Breakfast in Alexandria.
The hospitality continued at Dawes Arboretum. Like many spots around Licking County, including the Sterling Theater in Pataskala and all of downtown Newark, Granville, and Buckeye Lake, Dawes is seeing major revitalization and positive change.
All over Licking County, history is entangled with natural beauty, as it is at Dawes Arboretum. For those who love a healthy mix of natural and human history, the Great Circle Earthworks, Octagon Earthworks and Wright Earthworks can’t be missed. Another standout spot? Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve.
A journey filled with poetic rediscovering, the next stops were Kussmaul Gallery and James Young Fine Art. Kussmaul was previously the site of the Granville Times – not just the newspaper, but where Janice and Wendy would visit years earlier to pick up books and materials for school.
“There was always an appreciation for the arts among individuals, but I think there’s now a greater appreciation for them,” Janice says. “With The Midland Theatre, Thirty One West and Denison Art Space, the gallery that I curate, plus what we do with the Cultural Alliance, we help advocate for each other and celebrate each others’ events.” “If you’re connected to Licking County, you’re deeply connected,” says Janice. “There are still a lot of people here that consider themselves natives. We’re just fiercely proud of our community and our history.”
Here are just a few spots Janice would’ve hit with more hours in the day: Market Street Soda Works, Nutcracker Family Restaurant, Snapshots Lounge, The Midland Theatre, The Works, Thirty One West, Watt’s in Utica