Ohio Wine Country

In Canton, OH? OK. That Canton is Ohio’s wine country might be arguable. But! One thing that isn’t arguable, at least according to readers, is that the Villas at Gervasi Vineyard is USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Best Wine Country Hotel for the second year in a row. Notice what I said there.  Not Ohio’s Best Wine Country Hotel, but the United States. Beating out properties in Napa, Yountville, and St. Helena is our very own Gervasi. Whether you like Gervasi or not (not sure how that’s possible); would spend every minute there if you could; or work for a competing property, one thing is for sure – having this type of national attention turned towards Ohio’s travel industry is important to all of us.  So, what makes Gervasi so spectacular? Let’s check it out.

I was fortunate enough (or smart enough) to host a meeting at Gervasi recently for fellow independent property owners and innkeepers. If you haven’t been to Gervasi, it’s easy to miss. One minute you’re in the middle of a residential neighborhood and then BAM! the entrance to paradise. (Pro tip: follow the fence line!) Once you pass under the grand arch leading you through the vineyard and landscaping, you just know.  Today is going to be a good day. (That’s quite literally what I shared on IG when I got to the entrance to the Villa Grande. And it got so many likes because? Everyone agrees!)

Gervasi is made up of many different buildings – when following the drive back to the Villa Grande, you pass The Marketplace. This little shoppers’ treasure trove is filled with all kinds of great gifts and inspirational ideas.  I’m told Christmas time is the time to visit. Next to that is The Bistro – the onsite fine dining experience. The Bistro has lots of seating, indoor and outdoor. I had dinner there last year and was pleasantly surprised.  You never know, maybe the cooks are drinking all of the wine and not focusing on the food? Not the case, here! The food is worth the visit. You’ll spend a little time weaving through the vineyard, but once you cross the one lane bridge – you’ve made it.  The new Crush House pops up on your right. The Crush House serves up more casual fair, has a swanky bar and is popular to locals for happy hour. The road ends at the Villa Grande where you can travel on foot to your individual villa or through the grounds back to The Bistro, around the lake or to the Bocce court.

The villas are spectacular.  Each is made of four separate rooms (rented individually or as a group) and share a common area where drinks are available throughout your stay and breakfast is

served in the morning. Each villa has outdoor seating available.  Too bad I was there for work, or I might have grabbed a tea, a book and a seat outside with a view of the lake! The rooms are rich in color and texture.  My favorite is the little fireplace next to the bed.  I didn’t need it in September, but give it another month and that would be the most romantic spot in Northeast Ohio. The bathrooms are larger than my family room with a luxurious shower and wonderful smelling amenities.

When I stayed at Gervasi a few months ago, I found out the hard way there wasn’t a gym on site (you KNEW that was coming!).  Perhaps I’m the only person that wants to work out after spending an evening sipping wine, but there is something better.  The Middle Branch Trail runs right through the property, connecting two different parks sitting North and South of Gervasi. This is by far one of the best trails I’ve found.  It runs through the vineyard and eventually through open fields with flowers and tall grasses. It’s perfect.

I realize next time you’re visiting Gervasi, the running trail might not be first on your list, but the good news is, there are lots of pedestrian paths on the property you can saunter with your wine. Wondering where to spend your next romantic holiday? A weekend with friends? A staycation?  I’d consider looking up the Best Wine Country Hotel in the U.S. right here in your backyard.

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

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