You know those song lyrics, “take me hoooome, country roads?”
That’s what I often find I’m singing to myself when I get to discover Ohio’s wild side. You know, the side that isn’t accessed by I-71, I-75 or I-70. It’s so refreshing. If you didn’t know, I’m a good ole’ farm town girl. I didn’t grow up with rush hour, commutes or I-anything. I have a special fondness for discovering these hidden getaways throughout rural Ohio and I want to share them with you.
This is the first of what will be deemed “Pit Stop” posts. These are properties I had the chance to visit and learn the story behind, but haven’t had the chance to stay. I’ll usually show you a handful of truly marvelous places that I hope inspire you to discover something new – take a girls’ getaway or a last minute romantic weekend away. If you’ve had a chance to stay at one of these places, please share your experience with us!
Orchard House Bed & Breakfast – Granville, OH
Our first pit stop is at the Orchard House Bed & Breakfast in Granville, OH. Granville is the home of Denison University and famed OSU Football coach, Woody Hayes. It is just shy of 40 minutes East of Columbus. Granville has many great places to stay including the Granville Inn and the Buxton Inn, both located in downtown Granville. But, there is something fairytale like about the Orchard House B&B, which is just 5 minutes from downtown.
The original part of Orchard House B&B was built in 1850. Since the original construction, the home has seen many owners and uses, but the property first opened as a B&B in the 1990s and here it
stands today. The property has 4 rooms, each named after prominent figures in the B&B’s history. After a restful night’s sleep, you can grab a cup of Columbus’ own One Line Coffee, brewed in house on a specially maintained coffee system and your handcrafted breakfast all sourced from local farmers and purveyors, and head out to the pond. You can stretch your legs by strolling across the 12 acres of land that Orchard House rests on.
If you like magic, I’d suggest venturing into the pine forest that runs along the northwest corner of the property. It is in that pocket of trees, where one of my favorite places of Orchard House can be found – a magical, fairylike alcove of pine perfect for reflection and peace. It has also recently caught the attention of some brides. You can in fact host a wedding ceremony among these tall pines and innkeeper, Dean, knows just how to make it perfect.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle – Loudonville, OH
Speaking of fairytales – who hasn’t wanted to stay in a castle? Our next Pit Stop is Landoll’s Mohican Castle. Built in the heart of the Mohican country and far removed from the hustle and bustle, it is a unique twist on a traditional castle. To access the castle, we traveled on many back country roads, soaking in the sun, sounds and vegetation. The castle’s towers appear out of nowhere and you instantly feel like Dorothy, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in [Ohio] anymore!”
The great news about Landoll’s Castle is that you get to stay IN THE CASTLE. Sometimes a castle-style property isn’t what you think. The castle itself is just for looks, or the inside isn’t as grand as the outside – but not here. Those towers? Some of them have rooms! The tallest is an awesome observation deck where you can see trees and birds for miles. The property has 17 rooms, many of which are inside the castle. There are a few cottages across the grounds as well. You may be thinking – I think I’ve heard of this place before. You probably have! Landoll’s has been featured on two different TV shows. It made it’s television debut in 2008 on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 where it played host to an incredible Sweet 16 Party, complete with tigers, a Ferris Wheel and an entrance on the back of an elephant. More recently, Landoll’s event space was transformed in 2015 as the season 3 finale property of Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell. The production team redesigned the event space, back of the house and the menu.
They also continue to provide consultation as Landoll’s Castle continues to grow its services. Now you can also check out the re-conceptualized restaurant – The Copper Mug Bar & Grille where Executive Chef Kyle Elsasser has dished up a brand new menu.
St. Paul Hotel – Wooster, OH
For our final Pit Stop, we find ourselves in one of Ohio’s biggest tourist destinations – Ohio Amish Country – a region roughly defined by Holmes and Wayne counties and sections of Stark and Tuscarawas counties. When I think of Amish Country, I think of horses, quilts and baked goods; I think of home-baked comfort, cozy fireplaces and gingham. What I don’t think of is sleek, modern and urban, but that is exactly what the St. Paul Hotel in Wooster has to offer.
The original building was built in the 1800s and has operated as a hotel many times throughout its history, but not always as a valued downtown gem. In the 1920s it became the Hotel St. Paul where it’s reputation for basement betting and card games led to it’s inevitable sale. As with many former hotels, it was reopened as an apartment building in the late 1970s that eventually closed in 2008. With a prime location, one block south of Downtown Wooster‘s square, there was a glimmer of hope. The hotel reopened in 2011 as the beautiful boutique property it is today. A step inside the lobby will transport you to a big, bustling urban city center. The great news? There are numerous restaurants and shops, all within walking distance. Public transportation is your feet. You won’t find endless wait lists and long lines for dining, like a big city brings.
So let’s take a step inside – the lobby at the St. Paul Hotel is one of my favorites. I could sit here all day with a book and people watch. They have
found a way to incorporate some antique pieces like the St. Paul stain glass window with contemporary furnishings and decor. The property has 12 rooms with plans to
build more. Each room is smartly appointed and the woodwork is handcrafted by
local craftsman. The hallways are lined with black and white photography of the local landscape – which you’ll almost forget is in the middle of Ohio’s heartland! I’m also told the property offers a personalized, complimentary breakfast which is hand delivered to your room – because let’s be honest, you’d have a hard time leaving the elegance of your guest room!
If you’re looking for a great getaway in a small town, with big city amenities, check out the St. Paul Hotel – I guarantee you’ll be blown away.
And with that – I share with you three cool places to discover in Ohio. When you get a chance, make a pit stop. Maybe it’s to stay over night and maybe it’s not, but do report back and let me know what you think!
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck