I’ve mentioned this before, I’m from “small town” Ohio. But in 2016, “small town” doesn’t always mean small ideas or small industry. My hometown, for example, is a town of ~9,000, surrounded by farm land, an hour south of Cleveland and 30 minutes west of Canton. Yet, we have a Fortune 500 company and we have our own power plant. And now, in just a few short months we will have our very own branded hotel. If you would have told me that 10 years ago, I would have laughed at you, but now, I totally believe it.
So today, I’m going to show you a bit about what these “small towns” are doing to create big names for themselves. Although we’re talkin’ general trends in the lodging industry around the state, we’re going to be making a pit stop in St. Clairsville, OH and Yellow Springs, OH. Keep your hands and arms inside this ride, because there are lots of things you’ll want to reach out and touch for yourself!
Residence Inn by Marriott – St. Clairsville, OH
That’s right! That is not a picture from my back patio, this is a group seating area at the new Residence Inn St. Clairsville. Ok, I hear you, “where is St. Clairsville?” you ask! It is on the Ohio side of Wheeling, WV. In my 6 years of dating my now husband, I’ve passed through it more times than I can count. TJ is from Moundsville, WV, just across the river. It’s been amazing to watch St. Clairsville build itself up over the years and the new Residence Inn is a great example of that. When I had a chance to visit I was first wowed by the vibrant exterior paint job that really stood
out against the relatively industrial backdrop. When I walked into the lobby, I said to the team, I do not feel like I’m *almost* in West Virginia. This place was rocking a contemporary design that I think would shock many locals. The front desk was super sleek and the light fixtures looked like they
came straight out of a design catalog of the future!
Adam and his team were ready to give me the grand tour. The rooms were beautiful, I’d imagine, but when I was there – they were SOLD OUT! That is amazing for this area of the state. No city-wides (urban conventions that take up a majority of major hotels) or major concerts. This place was just plain old sold out. So I didn’t get to see any rooms, but from the public space, I could only imagine they’d be perfect.
The real show stopper of the property was the upgraded pool and patio package. I asked Adam if they ever got locals that just wanted a “weekend away” because the beautiful pool with endless windows and landscaping made me feel as though I was on some kind of vacation that I was not
expecting. The way they’ve built the pool area makes you feel like your outdoors, which is very West Virginian of them. (West Virginians love the outdoors, I’ve come to learn!) Good news though, the pool is inside. So if you are joining the thousands of other people that flock to visit this region for the Festival of Lights at Oglebay, consider this an alternative place to stay.
Far from winter,the day I visited it was hot. And sunny. The patio looked so inviting. They have grills so you can cook out and enjoy the space. This is one of the trends I love about extended stay properties. The majority of their guests are there for long periods of time, so think about how nice it would be to get out of your room and join some other long-term stayers out on the patio for a beer and some brats. I’m always tempted to stay at an extended stay property even for one night for this very reason. They want to make you feel like you’re at home.
What would an InnLove post be without a food mention? If you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend Later Alligator in downtown Wheeling. The menu is vast and the food is delicious. Sometimes there can be a wait, so if you find yourself in one, put your name in and take a stroll through Centre Market. There are great pop up stands within the market itself and antique shops, coffee shops and clothing stores along the street! We recently discovered another great place, Avenue Eats. For the first time ever I sunk my teeth into a Pear & Bleu Cheese burger. What?! Yes. It was SO GOOD. I wish this restaurant was a bit bigger because it too can be hard to get into, but they do have a cute outdoor patio!
With great food and a fabulous new place to stay – why not check it out?!
Mills Park Hotel – Yellow Spring, OH
Quirky, isn’t it? Before we get too far into this, let me tell you about where I am. I, along with a number of fellow Dayton area hoteliers, descended upon the new Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs, OH. Yellow Spring is about 30 minutes from Dayton. And it’s perfect. I cannot believe I’ve lived my entire life without visiting here. And now, they have this super cool new hotel that is getting a lot of attention. The Mills Park Hotel opened in April. It looks historic, but it isn’t. It is newly built, but modeled after an historic home of one of Yellow Springs original settlers. This property is located in the heart of downtown and along the bike trail. The room has an open, almost Southern feel with light paint colors and hardwood floors. The rooms are spacious and well appointed, crisp and clean. We were there for a meeting, so I didn’t get to have the full Mills Park experience, but I want to. When I pulled up around 2PM on a Tuesday afternoon and there were people playing croquet on the lawn! On a Tuesday! At 2! I seriously thought I’d walked onto a movie set. Did someone plan this?
No, the staff was bustling, setting up for our meeting. It was beautiful. If you’re looking for a unique venue – highly recommended! I was told that Yellow Springs has two great art/street festivals throughout the year. You bet I’ll be back next year for that. What have I been missing?
Mills Park is nailing another new trend. You’re close to the city, but you certainly don’t feel that way. They have all of the conveniences you need – a great restaurant, fitness center, board room and business center, set in a unique setting.
Whether you’re looking for a quick trip away or a place to host a meeting, a brand or an independent property, a major hotel or a 28 room inn; consider checking out some of these smaller town hot spots!
What small town places have you visited recently?
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck