Malabar Farm (NE)
4050 Bromfield Road
Lucas, Ohio 44843
Reservations for Camping, Shelters & Pugh Cabin
Malabar Farm in Pleasant Valley was the dream of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield. Today, visitors can see the house and farm existing just as they did in Bromfield’s time. The outbuildings and pastures still house chickens, goats and beef cattle. The hills are ribboned with strips of corn, wheat, oats and hay while the scenic trails are adorned with nature’s bounty.
Nature of the Area
The natural features of Malabar Farm are representative of the diversity of the glaciated Appalachian Plateau region of Ohio. This area is renowned for its interspersion of woodlands, lakes, streams and bogs along with villages, fertile valleys, dairy and grain farms. Located in the Pleasant Valley of Richland County, Malabar’s forests and fields offer visitors a glimpse of both the cultural and natural history of the area. The rolling countryside and fertile farmlands of Malabar recreate the pleasure of life on the farm while the wooded ridgetops support an abundance of natural wonders.
Glaciers pushed up and over the hills of the area depositing rich soils in the valleys. The woodlands are diverse with beautiful stands of beech and maple along with remnant stands of eastern hemlock in the ravines. Sandstone outcroppings adorn the slopes covered with ferns and mosses. Trillium, spring beauties and wild blue phlox carpet the forest floor. The woodlands are home to the wood thrush, barred owl, fox squirrel and raccoon while the fields support populations of bluebird, red-winged blackbird, cottontail rabbit and red fox.
History of the Area
In the rolling countryside of Richland County, Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and dedicated conservationist, created his dream — Malabar Farm. Inspired by his love of the land, Bromfield restored the rich fertility of the farmlands and preserved the beauty of the woodlands. He built a 32-room country home, where his family, friends and neighbors could share the pleasure of life on the farm.
In his book, Pleasant Valley, Bromfield wrote, “Every inch of it (the house) has been in hard use since it was built and will, I hope go on being used in the same fashion so long as it stands. Perhaps one day it will belong to the state together with the hills, valleys and woods of Malabar Farm.” Bromfield’s prophecy came true in August 1972, when the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm. The state pledged to preserve the beauty and ecological value of the farm.
Earlier that year, Bromfield’s legacy to future generations came close to being extinguished. Malabar Farm, owned and operated by the Louis Bromfield Malabar Farm Foundation for 14 years, was threatened with foreclosure. But the Noble Foundation, which held the mortgage, agreed to erase the mortgage and accrued interest — about $280,000 — when the state of Ohio accepted Malabar Farm as a gift to the people of Ohio.
From 1972 to 1976, Malabar Farm was operated jointly by Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture. Then in 1976, Malabar became one of Ohio’s state parks. As a park, Malabar Farm is dedicated to perpetuating Bromfield’s farming philosophies, preserving the Big House and its many artifacts, and providing a place where visitors can explore life on a farm and the beauty of nature.
On April 4, 1993 the main barn tragically burned to the ground. Through volunteers of the Timber Framers Guild of North America, a new barn was raised in September 1994. Although modified for modern building standards, the new structure used the same traditional construction methods perfected by the colonists.
- 15 non-electric sites
- Fire rings, picnic tables, drinking water and latrines are offered
- Pets are permitted on all sites
- Equestrian camping is available
- Download the Campground map
- Pugh Cabin is a day-use facility for groups up to 50 people
- This building can be rented for meetings and group functions from 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
- Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling 866-644-6727
- Malabar Farm reflects the agricultural tradition of Ohio while focusing on Louis Bromfield’s life and philosophies
- The 32-room Big House, designed by Bromfield and architect Louis Lamoreux, is a blend of Western Reserve architectural styles and was built to appear as if it had been added onto over the years
- Tours of the mansion, preserved just as Louis left it in 1956, are offered year-round
- Wagon tours of the farm are offered May through October • During the growing season, Malabar Farm offers educational tours of its vegetable garden
- There is a nominal fee for house and wagon tours
- Contact the park for hours and fees
- 3 hiking trails
- Doris Duke Woods Trail • 1 Mile • Easy
- Jungle Brook Trail • 1 Mile • Easy
- Butternut Trail • 1 Mile • Easy
- Bridle Trail • 11 Miles • Easy • Hiking is also permitted
- Good catches of bluegill and catfish can be caught from the farm ponds at Malabar
- A wheelchair-accessible dock is provided at the Big House Pond
- Valid Ohio fishing license is required
- A picnic area with tables, grills, drinking water and latrines is available
Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)
- Ice skating
- Cross country skiing
- Malabar Farm Restaurant, located within the park, is a restored “stagecoach” inn built in 1820 • Today, the restaurant is state-owned and offers home-cooked meals, Tuesday through Sunday, year-round • The restaurant features many of the local and Malabar Farm raised products
- Malabar Farm Market, produce business operating at the park, revives the vegetable garden and spring-cooled roadside stand that Bromfield built in 1952 • Fresh produce is for sale Memorial Day weekend through October, and guided tours of the garden are available • Call 419-938-5000
- Nearby are Mohican State Park, Mohican Memorial State Forest, and Pleasant Hill Lake
- Other attractions in Richland County include Kingwood Gardens, Renaissance Theatre and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
- Malabar Farm’s Youth Hostel, administered by the Hostel International Organization, is a traditional 19-bed hostel, offering simple dormitory-style accommodations • For reservations and information call (419) 892-2055
- Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve, north off State Route 13, is a mixture of mature beech-maple forest and swamp forest • Spring wildflowers are abundant • Visitation is during daylight hours only
- For more information on area attractions, visit
- Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website or call 800-642-8282
- Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE