Peach picking and ice cream factory: A day trip to Utica


As summer comes to an end, we had a few more items to check off on our summer bucket list! We have done lots of berry picking in the past, but wanted to try peaches since we missed the peach truck that came through Columbus last month.

Day Trip to Utica

We had heard many great things about Branstool Orchards and decided to load up the van and take a day trip to Utica!  From Columbus, it took us just 50 minutes to arrive and it was a quick and easy drive. The orchard also offers apple and pear picking depending on the season.

The market itself is clean and inviting! It has a large variety of produce selections and goodies to choose from. They had cobbler mix on hand to assist you in making the perfect summer dessert.  There was even a Little Library on the grounds too, so bring a book to donate! 

Barnstool Orchards
The Orchard has a bright and cheery atmosphere!

When we arrived, we were greeted by a welcoming staff that explained the best route to take when picking. It was a hot and humid 90-degree day, so we arrived early in the morning to try and beat the heat. We suggest bringing water and sunscreen with you, as things got a little sweaty! You may want to wear closed-toe shoes or rain boots, as it may be wet with the morning dew or if it has rained. Rookie mistake: we wore sandals! This made things a little unpleasant for a 3-year-old. 

u-pick peaches at Barnstool Orchards
Picking peaches on a hot day! Be sure to pack sunscreen and water!

There were two types of peaches on site the day we were there and a lot to choose from on the trees. They had wagons available for little ones or to use to transport your peaches. You will want to grab one since you do have to travel up a road with an incline to get to the peaches. It took us just 45 minutes to walk and complete our picking. Peaches are $1.75 per pound, and the baskets they provided will help you reach your $10 minimum requirement. The picking is expected to run until mid-September. The sampling that we did let us know that our peaches actually tasted like peaches! They were so sweet and juicy. We had a great time, and the cobbler turned out delicious!  

peach picking
Grab a wagon to help you reach the peaches!

Velvet Ice Cream Factory 

We cooled off in the car, and we decided to travel less than 2 miles up the road to visit the Velvet Ice Cream Factory. I knew that they had free tours that started on the hour, so arriving at 11 a.m. was perfect. We watched a short video on the history of Velvet Ice Cream and then we got to explore the Mill.

day trip to Utica
Exploring the Mill!

After the Mill, we were taken to the actual factory where we learned about the process of making ice cream and even got to see the workers preparing sherbet. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and was full of information for kids too. The girls remembered the essential ingredients in ice cream: milk, sugar, water, and cream! The tours only run during the week from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (May 1st- October 31st) at the top of the hour. Some Fridays are included, but not all so be sure to check their website for updated information. As of now, it says tours on Fridays in October will not feature live production. Groups of 20 or more need a reservation. 

Ice Cream Factory Tour
Factory Tour!

After the tour, we headed to the museum and gift shop. The museum was tiny, but still had a variety of things to keep the girls engaged. The piano was a big hit, as well as the ice cream simulator. Next, we decided to have lunch at the Ye Olde Mill restaurant. The staff was very friendly and accommodating to families. 

Ice Cream Simulator


things to do at Velvet Ice Cream Factory
Playing the piano in the ice cream museum!

If I had known the grounds had picnic areas, we could have packed. However, the food was tasty and convenient! Our waitress suggested taking the leftover crust to feed the ducks in the pond on property. The girls enjoyed feeding the ducks, as well seeing other kids catching fish at the catch and release pond. 

Mill at Velvet Ice Cream
The pond is located in front of the Mill. It has catch and release fishing, and you can feed the ducks.

With full bellies, we headed to the playgrounds behind the restaurant for more fun. There is also a nature trail on the grounds that we did not venture to, but many families did partake in this. We spent a lot of time on the swings and decided we needed to get our ice cream!

playground at Velvet Ice Cream
One of the playgrounds at Velvet Ice Cream

They offer a variety of kid’s sundaes and milkshakes along with an array of samples. πŸ™‚ A mint chocolate milkshake was the winner today! 

Velvet Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes! Yum!

I couldn’t believe it was three o’ clock when I looked down at my watch. I had hesitated before to make the drive to Utica, but we had a blast and would recommend this as a great day trip. Don’t forget to take a picture by the banana split on the way out! The drive home was a perfect time for naps too. πŸ™‚ 

Velvet Ice Cream Factory
A fun day for all!

Things to remember about Branstool Orchards and Velvet Ice Cream

  • Branstool Orchards is open M-S for picking from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Market is open an hour past the orchards. (Always call ahead before you go to make sure there is fruit available to pick that day.)
  • Dogs are permitted if they are on a leash at the orchard. 
  • Bring a fishing pole to Velvet if you are interested in catch and release. 
  • Pack a lunch or eat at the restaurant at Velvet Ice Cream. 
  • Wear closed-toe shoes to the orchard. 
  • Bring sunscreen, hats and water for both spots. 
  • Tours at Velvet Ice Cream are only 11 to 3 at the top of the hour during the week. (Be sure to call on a Friday.) 

It’s official. A quick road trip that includes peaches and ice cream is a win for all! Enjoy and don’t forget about the Ice Cream Festival each year over Memorial Day Weekend! 



Previous articleSummer’s Not Over Yet: Confidence and Safety with Goldfish Swim School
Next articleEat and Play with your Family in Grandview Heights and Victorian Village
Maureen Ingham has enjoyed living in the great city of Columbus for nearly 13 years! Originally from Canton, Ohio, Maureen attended Ohio University and will always be a bobcat at heart! After completing her education degree in Athens, she made her way to The Ohio State University to obtain a Masters degree in Special Education. She fell in love with Columbus then and convinced her now husband to join her in this awesome city! She taught 5th grade for 6 years, before deciding to stay home to raise two beautiful girls. Their family has recently moved to Worthington with their two girls and are excited to plant their roots here! Their first daughter, Maeve is 6 and her sister, Reese will soon be 5 years old. They welcomed a son, Miles in March 2020. Maureen has been with The Columbus Moms Blog since the beginning and now enjoys working on editing and events for the blog. She also works as a Postpartum Doula with her sister at a company called Together Wee Grow. They provide night nursing services, as well as daytime support to local families and babies in Columbus. It is a wonderful job to work along her sister and help families with their precious little ones in a vulnerable time period. In between the night shifts, sweeping up crumbs, exploring Columbus, and getting kids to where they need to be, Maureen enjoys working out, trying new recipes and restaurants, traveling, spending time with family, being crafty and trying to help others whenever she can! Maureen has many Columbus favorites. Her go-to restaurant is Third and Hollywood, she enjoys a sweet treat at Sassafrass Bakery or Fox in the Snow, a slice of pizza at Dewey's Pizza and a warm cup of joe at Highline Coffee. A perfect Saturday involves an outdoor activity with her family and trying a new restaurant when they can! She is excited to be a part of an excellent team here at Columbus Moms blog and hopes to be able to inspire mothers that small acts of kindness go a long way in raising their kids and the city they live in!