Unmatched FestivitiesVermilion is recognized for its festivals and community events. The Woollybear Festival is a one-day gathering that draws over 150,000 visitors to our city and includes the longest parade in Ohio. The Festival of the Fish, held each June, is a three-day event drawing visitors to take part in our celebration of the sea.
Third Thursdays provide an array of live music for your listening enjoyment in several different locations throughout town. Market In The Park offers locally grown produce and products, local cottage industry products, art, and local crafted items. Watch as the roads and walks along Vermilion's Main Street fill up with bright chalk drawings created by local artistic talent at Chalk it Up!
Special events at Vermilion River Reservation offer demonstrations, music entertainment, and touring the historic Benjamin Bacon Homestead of 1845. The Annual Vermilion Ice-A-Fair is a day-long winter event for the entire family filled with glistening sculptures, ice carving demos and more! Art shows are planned throughout the year. Additional events include summer concerts, the Annual Chocolate Festival, the Annual Gardeners Fair, the Vermilion Beach Market, Live At The Lighthouse, the Annual Duck Dash 500, the Vermilion River Watershed Open House, and much, much more.
Trails, Routes & Tours
Vermilion is located on the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, the Wing Watch & Wine Trail, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route, the Lake Erie Circle Tour and the Shipwrecks & Maritime Tales of Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. The area's largest vineyard and winery is located on Vermilion's South Side.
Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—Vermilion River Reservation is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs. Vermilion River Reservation is located at 51211 North Ridge Road, just 4 miles south of downtown Vermilion, by the intersection of North Ridge and Vermilion Roads.
Arts & Culture
The Arts Guild features rotating exhibits of a new Artist of the Month, as well as special art shows and events. A wealth of art galleries abound in the Harbour Town district. The Vermilion Community Music Association, which features the Community Band, Community Chorus, and the Wind Jammer Dance Band, provides professional music services to numerous events throughout the year. The Vermilion Opera House, built in 1883 in the Vermilion Town Hall, is being restored and houses a premier performing arts center featuring high quality touring performers, local theater, music and community events. Ritter Public Library, which is the jewel of our community, provides cultural events, plays, speakers, book clubs, and educational programs to all levels of our community. Meeting and housing space is provided for the many non-profit activities and events in town.
Historic Harbour Town
Harbour Town 1837 (historic downtown Vermilion) is home to dozens of retail shops, restaurants, professional businesses, marinas, accommodations and tourist activities. Visit Harbour Town by car or boat. Downtown public docks are within walking distance of a museum, dozens of boutiques, art galleries and fine dining. Harbour Town is also home to a beach and several parks. Enjoy the sandy beach, recreational boating of every kind, jet skis, canoeing, sailing and more where ship building was once the major industry. On summer nights, residents and visitors congregate at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the beautiful Lake Erie sunset and enjoy the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River.
Harbour Town features events and entertainment throughout the year including sidewalk entertainment, artists, grand parades, festivals and bazaars. Summer months feature outside music and weekly events. Winter offers an array of holiday activities and fabulous shopping bargains.
It doesn't get any better for rail buffs than Vermilion's historic downtown, with at least 5 trains racing through town every hour. The railroad action in Vermilion is virtually non-stop, and no other railroad town offers a more beautiful location in a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Erie.
There is something special about preparing home-cooked meals with fresh fruits and vegetables picked up at a farm market within hours of harvest. Discover farm fresh foods at Vermilion's farm markets. Vermilion markets and roadside stands offer the freshest produce and seasonal favorites. From homegrown apples, lettuce, corn, beans, cucumbers, brocholi, radishes, cider, gourds, and fall squash - to a vast array of tropical fruits - you'll find everything you need for your cooking needs at Vermilion's own farmers markets and roadside stands. Visit area farms during one of the Pick Your Own seasons. Families and children gain the learning experience of where food comes from by Picking Your Own. Relax in the rural setting and soak in the fresh air and sunshine.
In 1919 a group of investors from the Cleveland area purchased a wooded property with 600 feet of Lake Erie frontage in tiny “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, Ohio. They cleared the land, and using the very logs they felled, built an approximately 10,000 square foot private community center known as the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse. The big bands of that era were soon accompanied by couples dancing on polished hardwood floors beneath a glittering globe. Those original hardwood floors, framed by the original log walls, are still there today. The VOL (Vermilion-on-the-Lake) Historic Community Center remains today one of the only wedding venue's still situated on Lake Erie's shore. The 'VOL CLubhouse', as it has been called, demands only modest rental fees which assist the effort to save and renovate this historic building.
Vermilion River Reservation is home to the the picturesque Bacon House Museum at Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.
The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, former home of Vermilion’s weekly newspaper 1905-1964, houses two linotypes and four letter presses as well as a collection of Vermilion photographs, signs, and other materials. The Vermilion Area Archival Society stores and indexes archival materials for research from the Vermilion area and provides assistance, as well as monthly programs, regarding the history and records of the area.
The Brownhelm Historical Association projects include the restoration of the Brownhelm Heritage Museum, the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum, and three local historic cemeteries (Brownhelm Cemetery, Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery, & Rugby Cemetery)..
Bacon House Museum
Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Vermilion River Reservation's Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives. The museum is located at 51211 N. Ridge Road in Vermilion and is typically open on Sundays during during the Spring and Summers and during special events during the Fall and Winter. Call (440) 967-7310 for more information.
In 1817, Benjamin Bacon settled with his family along the top of the cliffs overlooking an oxbow in the Vermilion River that would eventually be called Mill Hollow. Soon afterwards, and at an early age, Benjamin was elected to the prestigious position of Justice of the Peace, and in 1824 was selected as one of the first commissioners for Lorain County. In 1835 he purchased an interest in a saw and grist mill that had been relocated to the oxbow in the river. A mill race was cut across the oxbow to increase the water power that turned the mill’s large water wheel. The mills were very successful and by 1845 had provided Benjamin the means to build a nice house across the road. When he died in 1868 at the age of 78, the house and mills were sold to John Heymann, a German immigrant new to the area.
Frederick Bacon was born in 1840, the youngest son of Benjamin and Anna, Benjamin’s third wife. In 1860, he enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War for four years, after which he returned home to his wife Abigail (formerly Abigail Wells) and started a family in Brownhelm. In 1879, John Heymann sold the mills to Frederick Bacon. They’d been modernized with steam power after a fire destroyed them in October of 1876 which started after the close of business. Frederick now not only owned the mills, but also owned land in Geauga county and coal fields in Iowa. This diversity was very fortunate because with the advent of the railroad, fewer farmers needed to mill their grain locally and many local residents weren’t even farmers, but rather worked at the sandstone quarries instead. By 1901, the mills were no longer profitable and had to be sold and dismantled.
Frederick and Abigail Bacon
Frederick and Abigail had nine children, seven of whom never married. After Frederick’s death in 1901, his children continued to farm the river valley. By the late 1920s, only Sarah and Charles remained, and the house was rented to several people for decades until Charles’ death in 1957. Dorothy Bacon DeMuth, a distant cousin, inherited the property and donated it to the newly formed Lorain County Metro Parks. The Vermilion River Reservation became the first park in the Lorain County Metro Parks. The Bacon House was opened as a house museum in 1962 with the help of the Lorain County Historical Society. Today, the house is open Sundays and Holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day, and scheduled private tours throughout the year.
Vermilion News Print Shop Museum
The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, in Downtown Vermilion, served as a print shop and a weekly newspaper from 1905 to 1964. The print shop houses two linotypes (c.1915), and 4 letter presses: A Stonemetz 2 revolution newspaper press (c.1919); a Kelly press (c.1917); a Chandler & Price 8"x12" Gorden Jobber Press (c.1900); and a Heidelberg windmill Press (c.1954). There is a book bindary and storage room with a manual paper cutter, electric stapler, and a manual hole punch machine.
The building was built in 1904 by Caselton Roscoe of Milan, Ohio for his son and daughter-in-law, Pearl and Bessie Roscoe, to house the business. There is an apartment above the shop where the Roscoe's lived and raised their two daughters.
Today the apartment has become part of the museum featuring historical artifacts from the printer's family, as well as those from Vermilionites of the past.
The Brownhelm Historical Association is renovating the former Brownhelm School (1889-1988) located at 1940 North Ridge Road. The Historic Brownhelm School & Museum offers a place for meetings, hosts the annual Brownhelm Community Christmas, provides events for the community, and hosts fundraisers such as the annual Grandma’s Attic Sale.
Upstairs classrooms house museum space displaying historical artifacts from the school’s past and from notable historical locations such as Swifts Mansion and the Light of Hope Orphanage.
The Brownhelm Historical Association maintains the Brownhelm Heritage Museum at 1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Built in 1870, it was formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church and was given to the association by its last 3 remaining members. The church was restored and it now houses many artifacts of Brownhelm history.