If you are looking for a romantic fall getaway we just returned from a weekend trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio.
Accommodations, meals, and activities were provided.
You may have seen my tweets last week expressing my excitement for our trip to Hocking Hills. If you haven’t heard of the area, it is an enormous state park just south of Columbus, Ohio.
It’s full of trees (lots and lots of trees!), caves, waterfalls, streams, lakes, deer, fox, rabbits, and birds. If you are looking to get away from it all, Hocking Hills is definitely the perfect place to unplug. Lodging choices do include a few hotels and motels scattered here and there, but the primary accommodations are cabins, cottages, lodges, and campgrounds.
We left on Friday afternoon and it took just over 3 hours to drive in from Cleveland. Our first stop was dinner at The Lodge at Hide-A-way Hills.
The restaurant and brew pub has a log cabin atmosphere with an absolutely fantastic deck overlooking acres and acres of trees, hills, and land. Dinner was incredible and I’m still thinking about dessert days later! (Look for more details about The Lodge at Hide A Way Hills in the upcoming post Staying and Dining in Hocking Hills.)
After dinner we navigated our way through the dark, up hills, around twists and turns to find the Cabins by the Caves, where we would be staying for the night. We found the McKinley Cabin and were quite proud of ourselves for only missing a turn or two.
Once we pulled up to our cabin a massage therapist from Blue Valley Massage greeted us. She was there for Tired Dad Dave’s in cabin massage appointment at 7 pm. Before we even got our bags into our cabin, Shelly told us to take a few steps back up the driveway to a clearing and check out the stars.
There were hundreds of stars and the moon was shining so brightly. It was such a amazing difference looking at the night sky unobstructed by city lights. It was absolutely gorgeous.
Walking down the path to the McKinley Cabin we noticed a fire pit out front and an adorable swing on the porch. Once we were through the doors of the McKinley cabin we were immediately amazed at striking spiral staircase leading to a large loft with double-bed and lots of extra room.
The cabin had such a homey log cabin feel. Not only were the walls wooden, but the woodsy décor was charming and the detail was outstanding. With everything from metal bundles of stick on the drawer pulls to the comfy quilts and country-like curtains, we felt right at home in the woods. We were also impressed to be welcomed with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, chilled sparkling grape juice, and delicious apple bread.
The cabin also offers one first-floor bedroom with double bed and as well as the one up in the loft. The bathroom is a nice size with a wonderful adjustable shower head. There is a full-kitchen complete with fridge, stove, microwave, and dishwasher and dining room table for four. The living room has an incredibly comfortable leather sofa and a cute rocking chair as well as a fireplace and tv with satellite offering many channels – there is also a dual vhs and dvd player.
McKinley Cabin Interior:
Outside you’ll find a large deck/wrap around porch with hot tub and picnic table to the side and a porch swing in the front. There is also an outdoor grill and firepit as well. Neighbors are few and far between and getting to the cabin is a bit of an adventure in itself. The road is narrow with many twists, turns, and steep hills but I would expect nothing less of a cabin located in Hocking Hills.
McKinley Cabin Exterior:
After Tired Dad Dave’s massage (which he will review in the upcoming post: Relaxation and Adventure in Hocking Hills) we went outside and sat on the deck to do some stargazing. The air was a bit cool, but the sky was clear and the stars were amazing. We were also amazed at how incredibly bright the moon was. It was wonderful to sit out on the deck just the two of us and we enjoyed being able to finish a sentence without interruption.
On Saturday, we had the chance to stop at the Wind Chime Shop, Christmas Treasures Gift Shop & Candle Shop which are 3 different stores located next to each other. The Wind Chime shop has hundreds of wind chimes and some that I’ve never seen before including a neat fountain chime that tinged every time the floating chimes bumped into one another.
There were chimes in the shape of chili peppers, chimes made of kitchen utensils, chimes made out of seashells, chimes that were so large they sounded like grandfather clocks and many more. We also learned about solar powered chimes which were as they sound powered by the sunlight. I had never heard of these kind of chimes before and now I want one!
The Christmas Shop was packed full of a wide and unique selection of Christmas decorations. There were adorable snowmen, beautiful glass ornaments, a chorus of Santa Clauses and much more. The Candle Shop was fully of handmade candles, both taper and jar candles, as well as some sweet smelling lotions. If you’re in the area I definitely recommend a visit to each of these three shops for unique décor and gift ideas.
After shopping, we had worked up an appetite and were excited to have lunch at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls.
While enjoying our delicious lunch, we had the chance to speak with Innkeeper, Ellen Grinsfelder, about the Inn. We learned about the fascinating history of the Inn, the Bed & Breakfast options, the cabins, and spa as well. While there, we got a glimpse of the bed & breakfast rooms, a tour of the property, and a look inside one of the cabins. (Look for all of these details and more about lunch in the upcoming post titled Dining & Staying in Hocking Hills).
We made a stop at Old Man’s Cave which is the most popular area in Hocking Hills. I couldn’t believe how packed the parking lot was and thanks to the gorgeous 70 degree weather there were lots of people picnicking too. We found a parking lot, crossed the street and headed down the path and stairway to check out the cave. It was amazing how much cooler it was down by the cave. We looked around for a bit and had the chance to snap a few incredible photos.
After the cave we were pretty tired, so we headed back to the McKinley Cabin at Cabins by the Caves, where we enjoyed the hot tub while watching the leaves fall and then took a much needed nap.
Harry Sowers, the owner of the 4-seat Cessna that we took on tour, was so relaxed, laid back, and funny that we had no worries at all. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening for a scenic air tour. The sky was mostly clear with just enough clouds at the horizon to showcase a gorgeous sunset. (Look for the upcoming post titled Adventure & Romance in Hocking Hills).
After the Sunset Scenic Air Tour we drove to nearby Ravenwood Castle for dinner.
We met with one of the co-owners, Pat Wadsworth, who showed us the property and spoke proudly of the castle and it’s guest rooms, cottages, cabins, and gypsy wagons. After an informative and wonderfully detailed tour of the property, we also had dinner at Ravenwood that night. We found the service to be impeccable and the food to be fabulous. I could have eaten a mixing bowl full of the Butternut Squash Soup! (Look for more details about the property and dinner in the upcoming post titled Dining and Staying in Hocking Hills).
Once we decided we could eat no more, we went back to our cabin for the night navigating the twists, turns, and hills of Hocking Hills in the dark fairly well. We only had a 20 minute detour which actually impressed us considering the street signs were a little hard to see.
One recommendation if you are traveling to the area is to be sure to bring a paper map with you. To say that cell phone & GPS service is spotty is definitely an understatement and there stores and gas stations are too few and far between to stop and ask for directions. So unless you like the challenge of navigating unfamiliar woodsy areas or knocking on a farmer’s door to ask for directions – keep that map on hand! It was a real lifesaver for us.
After a quiet night’s sleep, we packed up in the morning and drove over to Ash Cave which is the largest recess cave in Ohio. It is a really large cave that is open on one side. There is also a small waterfall that streams down from the top of the cave.
Once our relaxing morning of hiking and cave viewing came to an end, we were ready for some adventure so we headed to Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for zip lining.
Truthfully, I was pretty nervous to zip line because of the problems I’ve been having with my hip, but the zip lining itself didn’t bother me at all, it bothered me more to walk than it did to fly through the air – so that was a welcome surprise! We had a fabulous time zip lining and our guides were funny and fun and put us at ease. (Look for the upcoming post titled Adventure & Romance in Hocking Hills to read more about our zip lining adventure).
After zip lining we turned the car north and headed back home. We had a wonderful time in Hocking Hills, we’ll be back again, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing trip. It’s such a wonderful area – just a 3 hour drive from Cleveland, and you feel so away from it all that it’s the perfect location for a Romantic Fall getaway.
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