I’M BACK! I seriously missed you guys. Traveling is hard work! A quick “thank you” to Christi and Cindy for stepping in and sharing with you some of their most recent experiences!
Guys. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love everything about the “holiday season.” I need the cheer, I want the decorations and I gotta have the snow. Good lord, how do people in no-snow places even do it? TJ and I were in California recently (you’ll hear about that next week!) and it just isn’t the same. It’s like, Christmas on the surface – Christmas music playing, holiday décor, cinnamon pine cones everywhere… but it just isn’t. It doesn’t have the same…feeling. But you know what puts me in the holiday spirit? Holiday traditions. And I am so happy to report that we successfully completed the 9th Annual Amish Country Cookie Tour for the second year in a row. If you have no idea what I’m talking about or for some reason don’t associate cookies with Christmas – I guess I’ll just have to show you! To explain further, this is a tour of inns in Amish Country (OHIO!) that comes complete with Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, Christmas music, this year – snow (!) and even a goat. So! Feet and hands inside the sleigh…
1st Stop – Guggisberg Swiss Inn
If someone blindfolded you and dropped you at the Guggisberg Swiss Inn you would think you were in Switzerland. Holiday décor aside, innkeepers Julia and Eric Guggisberg have done an excellent job of making this inn feel authentic. One of my favorite aspects of the inn, although I didn’t get a chance to snuggle them this year, are their horses. They roam free on the property and are happy for a pet or to take you on a trot around the property. Decked out for the holidays, the Guggisberg Swiss Inn is exactly where you picture yourself with a warm mug of hot chocolate and a book. As always, at this stop, you can taste some of their Doughty Glen Wines!
2nd Stop – The Barn Inn
Every. Time. Innkeeper Loretta Coblentz out does herself. The Barn Inn is magnificently decorated for the holidays – although she gives her staff all the credit. Each guestroom is immaculately appointed, each with its own holiday theme. Some extra special touches are always waiting for you at The Barn Inn – quilts handmade by Loretta (check out this one that is the 12 Days of Christmas!) and during the tour, this sweet little goa—ahem—reindeer greets you at the door.
3rd Stop – Berlin Resort
Yowza! Talk about a non-traditional Amish Country lodging experience. The new suites at the Berlin Resort are top of the line. Covered in all things shimmery and glittery for the holidays, the Berlin Resort is the type of place I want to have a Girls Weekend. The massive suites building is ideal for a Bridal Suite or the whole family! Rooms are cleverly situated to continue to be joined until you have just the right number of impressive bedrooms, fireplaces and enormous bathrooms to suit you and your guests. I couldn’t get over the views from the suites facing the lake. The crew here did a great job of accenting the contemprary nature of the design with the contemporary Christmas pizzazz!
4th Stop – Comfort Suites Berlin
It’s a funny feeling when you think you know what something will be like and you’re wrong. That is exactly what happens every time I visit a Comfort Suites, particularly the one in Berlin. With so many great lodging options around the area, the Comfort Suites Berlin has made sure you have a unique experience while enjoying the comforts of brand recognition. I absolutely loved what the staff did for the holidays. The rooms were festively decorated in different ideas of Christmas – from blue, gold and all things glitter, to a classic farmstead Christmas with plaids and wood. The Comfort Suites Berlin always does a great job of showcasing local
businesses in the area at the end of the tour too – those cupcakes were phenom!
5th Stop – Berlin Grande Hotel
Always one of the hot spots on the tour, the Berlin Grande Hotel was pulsing with holiday spirit and people! The tree that greets you in the lobby is nothing to contest with. One of my favorite decorations on the tour was what we playfully called the “Winter is Coming” room (Game of Thrones – anyone?). The white fur blanket on the bed was a luxurious touch! At this point in the tour, I was ready to cozy up for a nap with that blanket. This stop is also the hub for the shuttle that takes you to two more stops – onward!
6th Stop – Carlisle Country Inn
Wow. This is the first time I’ve been to this property and I was glad we went. Innkeepers were welcoming guests into a warm cozy living room (it was freezing that day!) and Jim was busy cookie (I’m going to leave this typo here to give you a sense of where my mind is at…) COOKING** up a special Apple Cider on the stove top – complete with whipped cream and spice! The rooms at this inn had the highest ceilings! I found one of the best wingback chairs near a fireplace at this stop. If I’d only brought my kindle!
7th Stop – Garden Gate Get-A-Way
Also a new stop for me on the tour and we were impressed. Far removed from the bustle of downtown Berlin, this little spot is a great “get a-way.” The main room was packed with people clamoring for an iced Ginger Cookie (my favorite cookie of the tour!) and some of their German Tea. We snagged a tea and headed to one of the cottages. The cottages would be a great place to spend a weekend away from home – no doubt! I also loved their Teddy Bear Christmas Room – something unique for the tour!
8th Stop – Oak Ridge Inn at Walnut Creek
Exhausted yet? We should have done this in two days for sure. Luckily, the crew at Oak Ridge Inn was ready to save the day. Not only did they have our cookies, but little containers of grapes and cheese. After all, it was almost dinner time and we were working hard! I have visited several Nivea Hospitality properties but the Oak Ridge Inn was something different. Right around the corner from the ultra-modern Wallhouse Hotel Walnut Creek, this quaint little inn is tucked back off the main drag. The guest rooms here are massive with big Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces waiting to help you unwind. Definitely worth a longer visit (and soak!) next time I’m in town.
9th Stop – Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek
Talk about competing with your siblings. The Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek and Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek were battling it out for most over the top, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping holiday display. The Christmas tree at the entrance to the Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek is impressive to say the least. Actually, the cool thing about this place is there are many entrances. We came in from the “bottom” level and were greeted by a secondary lobby display where we were able to snap an official blog picture (Check out that shirt!). Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek is a big property and they made sure not a corner went unturned. Every inch of the property was dressed for the holidays.Thank you for a great back drop!
10th Stop – Inn at Walnut Creek
New Kids on the Block – Welcome! Not totally new, just new to the tour! We are SO GLAD you joined us this year and it sounds like your staff is too! I was pleasantly greeted by the new innkeeper’s mother who was handing out handmade French Madeleine’s – YUM. I was on my way out of the Welcome building when I overheard someone was getting a room tour – so I jumped in line. The guestrooms were classically decorated for the holidays with festive wreaths and Christmas trees. This place is a great stop for a visit to Amish Country – centrally located, easy to access and great hospitality.
11th Stop – Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek
We made it! Not to be outdone by its sister property, the Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek has an even more impressive tree and lots of them. I have to give them kudos for my favorite room of the day. I took so many pictures of this room and immediately turned to TJ and asked, “could we do this?” to which he rolled his eyes and said, “No. We’re missing a jacuzzi tub, a four-poster bed, a fireplace and a miniature lamb.” SHOOT. I wasn’t the only one taking pics of this room. The photos say enough. Nice work.
12th Stop – Inn at Amish Door
Sadly, we hit our step count by tenfold, stood in the frigid December air for the shuttle and digested as many cookies as possible, only to come up short of hitting the LAST STOP before the end of the tour. Luckily, I’m from Amish Country so I’ve had the fortunate pleasure to visit the Inn at Amish Door many times before and know that it is an excellent addition to the tour this year. The team there was happy to share some pictures with me to share with all of you so please check them out in the Visual Adventure Gallery!
Lesson learned. Two Day tour tickets next year!
Of course, I can’t miss the opportunity to thank Leon Troyer and the staff of the Wallhouse Hotel Walnut Creek for hosting TJ and me for our 2nd Annual Tour. The Wallhouse is one of my favorite places to stay for an awesome breakfast, beautiful views, and excellent hospitality. Until next time…
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck