Malabar Farm State Park offers a variety of activities, including tours of the Big House, hiking, hayrides, and a program of special events in the rich, green surroundings so beloved by Bromfield. Amenities include a youth hostel, primitive campground, horse camp, an onsite, award winning restaurant, and picnic grounds. The park, however, aspires to a larger educational function as well. It already maintains a working farm (on a smaller scale than of old, lacking Bromfield's lavish staff), exhibits on grass farming, interpretive programs, and a 2500 volume library on sustainable agriculture.
Malabar Farm offers a 15-site primitive campground suitable for horse and pet camping. Facilities include: fire rings, picnic tables, hitching posts, gravel parking pads, pressurized water, and a self composting restroom. Bridle trail access available from campground.
On April 4, 1993 the historic main barn tragically burned to the ground. Through volunteers of the Timber and Framers Guild of North America and funding from the state of Ohio, a new barn was raised in September 1994. Although modified for modern building standards, the new structure used the same traditional timber framing construction methods perfected by early settlers.
Main Barn-Top Floor
The main barn is the largest building at the complex. It has a colorful mural of horses and a wagon painted on the door. On April 4, 1993, the barn tragically burned to the ground. Although modified to meet modern building standards, the new structure uses the same traditional construction methods perfected by the colonists. Many pieces of vintage farming implements are on display here.
Main Barn-Lower Level
This style of barn is very popular in the hilly areas of Ohio. Called a bank barn, farmers use the terrain to their advantage in designing and building their barns. By building a barn into the side of a hill, or "bank," a farmer has two "first floors" both accessible from ground level on the outside. The lower level of this barn is set up to house different breeds of farm animals.
Malabar Farm Restaurant
The Malabar Farm Restaurant, located withing the park, is a restored "stagecoach" inn built around 1820. Today, the restaurant is state-owned and offers home-cooked meals. The restaurant features many local and Malabar Farm raised products.
Malabar Farm Hostel and Fleming Place
The Malabar Farm Hostel, administered by Hostelling International, is a traditional 19-bed hostel offering simple dormitory-style accommodations. Located in the restored 1919 mail order home where the Bromfield family lived in 1939.
See many of Ohio's songbirds in the free-flight aviary. Species subject to change. The aviary is 60 feet long and rises to over 25 feet at the center.
Towering behind the main barn is a domed structure called a silo. It is used to house silage or ensilage. Silage is corn fodder (green corn stalks or green hay), which is made into a succulent feed for cattle through the anaerobic fermentation process (breaking down without oxygen) that takes place in the silo after storage. This feed, despite having a pungent odor, is a winter favorite among cattle because it is high in sugars. Ensilage is composed of green fodder such as hay or cornstalks.
The corn crib was used to store "ear corn" (Corn that is still on the cob). Before machinery like modern combines were used, farm families harvested corn by hand. The corn crib stands off the ground and has spaces between the boards that make up the walls. These features allow air to circulate. The circulating air dries the corn, preventing spoilage.
A smokehouse is a special structure used to smoke meat. To Bromfield the smokehouse was probably a conversation piece but to early settlers it was a necessity. Some of the first settlers built smokehouses from hand-hewn logs and wooden shingles. This smokehouse was designed by Louis Lamoreux, the same architect who designed the Big House. The bricks used to build the smokehouse are from the home of Henry Wallace's grandfather. Henry Wallace served as vice-president for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Machine Shed (Carriage House)
Originally Bromfield's 3-door machinery shed.
Attached to the north side of the Big House is the 3-car heated garage. The garage has been restored and is now an additional part of the guided house tour and is where you can find Bromfield's original restored Willy"s Jeep.
Like most farms of its day, Malabar Farm maintained an herb garden.
Bromfield's great respect for lovely gardens and landscapes prompted him to build a greenhouse. The greenhouse was used to start vegetable plants and herbs and to provide fresh flowers to decorate the Big House year round.
The Bromfield Home (The Anson/Herring Home)
"The Big House," as Bromfield fondly referred to his dwelling, began with a small existing farmhouse as a base and was enlarged into this thirty-two room home. The house, designed by both architect Louis Lamoreux and Bromfield, is a blend of Western Reserve architectural styles and was built to appear as if it had been added to over the years. Bromfield furnished the house predominantly in a french style with the original paintings and antiques collected during his world travels. Today, the Big House uses state-of-the-art, geo-thermal technology for heating, cooling, and humidification. This system helps preserve the contents of the house.
Stone Terrace Gardens
Next to the big house are the lovely stone terrace gardens. Louis Bromfield loved his gardens, often spending hours working in them. Many of the plants that he put here were first started in the greenhouse and then transplanted. The stone terrace gardens were a showplace for visitors to the Big House. The Bromfields would often entertain guests on the patio that overlooks the gardens. Louis wrote many of his works while staring out the window of his office beside these gardens.
Chickens are kept at Malabar Farm for their eggs. The chicken house, or "coop", is home to over 150 hens. These hens are brown egg producers. This chicken house design allows the chickens to have access to the outside. The interior of the chicken house has individual compartments for the chickens to roost in and lay eggs. In addition to the compartments, straw and sawdust are spread on the floor to keep the building clean. Food and water dispensers are located at each end of the building.
Big House Pond
Sitting picturesquely below the Big House and the stone terrace gardens is the main farm's pond. This pond, created by Bromfield, is not unlike many others created during the 1930s and 1940s specifically for safety. Fire departments did not have the technology to respond very quickly to rural settings. Many times the fire personnel arrived in time only to help clean up.
This pond allows silt to settle out of surface water from rain and snow melt before it enters the Big House pond below. Siltation is a major concern of pond management. Too much silt in pond water can deteriorate the health of the pond.
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Dating back to the 1820s, it is the resting place of the Bromfield's and early pioneers from the valley.
Springhouse and Roadside Market
This spring chilled produce and today still sells fresh, seasonal produce grown here at Malabar and surrounding farms.
Intensive Grazing Paddocks
Grazing cells demonstrating a Bromfield technique meant to divide larger pastures into smaller and more manageable cells.
Malabar-Reynolds Hay Dryer
A Bromfield experiment meant to serve as an alternative to the traditional method of drying hay in a timber structure.
Celia Rose Home
The setting of a triple murder in 1896. The Celia Rose story was written by Louis Bromfield in his first book about the farm titled "Pleasant Valley". The house is a residence for park employees not open to the public.
This 90 foot tall tower and bergey wind turbine is part of our sustainable energy system supplying electrical needs to the visitor center and bird aviary.
A soil conservation display demonatrating the effects of different plowing techniques.
The sawmill is operated during special events to supply the farm with timber for use on the farm.
Used every spring during the Maple Syrup Festival, the sugar camp is where sweet maple sap is boiled down using a wood fired evaporator. The end result is pure maple syrup.
A log home built by Jim Pugh for his family in the 1940's. The property was purchased by the state in 1972 and became part of Malabar Farm State Park. It is now a day use rental facility available to the public.
Bromfield's "french drains" dot the cultivated landscape at the farm. The water retention ponds provided crops water through pumping or leeching during the drought seasons. The french drains are still operable.
Used as an interpretive garden today, the victory garden was a common site across the United States in the 1940's. The produce from the garden is used for the hearthside cooking workshops in November.
Working Farm Barn (circa 1860)
One of the oldest barns on the property is located at the working farm complex. The barn was used by Bromfield as a chicken coup. It was repaired using a dead White Oak tree killed by gypsy moths in The Mohican State Forest.
The building houses the Malabar Farm Spinning and Weaving guild and is the location of the farm office.
Built in the 1940's by Louis Bromfield's friend and neighbor Jim Pugh, the cabin is nestled deep in the Malabar Farm big woods. The Pugh Cabin, available for day-use, is a perfect retreat for meetings, conferences, receptions and other gatherings.
The high valley wall opposite of Mt. Jeez is where Ferguson Meadow is located. Ferguson is the setting of Bromfield's story about "Zenobia" and is a frequent mention in Bromfield's books "Pleasant Valley" and "Malabar Farm". The horse trail passes through the meadow and is the location of several important landmarks and features including the 'Ferguson Rock Shelter and Falls' and the foundation of the Ferguson home.
A visitor favorite, the Butternut Cave offers recreational needs for your adventurous side. Walk through the cool cave on a warm day for that natural, cooling refreshment.
Once called Poverty's Knob, Mt. Jeez stands towering above the valley and offers a superior overlook of Malabar Farm.
Louis Bromfield Visitor's Education Center
Interpretive exhibit hall (1,500 square feet)
Fifteen permanent exhibits will be on display in the pavilion with topics in agriculture, wildlife, energy, conservation, recycling and literature through interactive displays.
Gift shop and book store (2,000 square feet)
A gift / book store that includes many ohio-produced inventory items that malabar farm specializes. Also feature an expanded line of sustainable energy, nature, simple-living and agricultural titles along with the published works of Louis Bromfield.