Retreat & Revive: Local Escapes

Traveling the world is exciting, interesting and fun.  But, we often overlook the treasures that lie in our own backyard.  With the summer driving season upon us I would like to dedicate the next few columns to adventures right here in the Buckeye State.  
The first destination we will explore is Hocking Hills. This area is near and dear to my heart because my husband and I spend many a day with our two sons cavorting through this magical landscape.  Hocking Hills is part of the Appalachian Highlands – a heavily wooded area with deep gorges, waterfalls and rock formations.  Some of the most interesting areas include Old Man’s Cave, a deep and narrow gorge with beautiful waterfalls;  Rockhouse, with many cliffs and a rock shelter; Cantwell Cliffs, a gorge at the head of a hollow with a stone stairway; and two large rock shelters with waterfalls known as Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.
Like many others, I thought of Hocking Hills as a day trip, until I recently discovered its plethora of inns, spas, fine dining and extraordinary outdoor experiences.  Last May I made the trip with some of AAA’s travel professionals to take a closer look.  We were astonished to find some of the most outstanding lodging establishments we had ever seen right here in our backyard.  We were so convinced that our members would also love the area, we developed getaway packages with three premier properties.
The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls offers rooms at the original Inn, comfy cabins deep in the woods and cozy cottages perfect for a romantic getaway.  Be sure to dine here for an award winning meal from Chef Anthony Schulz, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute of New York City who uses seasonal, fresh local products.  Don’t forget to book a spa treatment during your stay.
Cherry Ridge Retreat is a unique property situated on 140 acres of private forested land.  You will have a whole new perspective on the word “cabin” after visiting this peaceful, totally secluded retreat.  The cabins are beautifully appointed and include much sought after amenities like hot tubs, gourmet kitchens and 28” TVs with satellite channels.
Glen Laurel is a Scottish country Inn with wooded cottages and crofts located on a 140 acre estate.  The accommodations are cozy and comfortable and you will feel like you have stepped back in time in this storybook setting.  Dining is a true culinary experience with gourmet cuisine with a Scottish flair.
Call, click or come on in for much more information on this fascinating area.  Be sure to ask for one of our Dream Getaways guides, complete with travel ideas for Ohio and beyond.