Back into the {Holiday} Swing of Things!

What a November! I can’t believe it’s been a month since we last adventured together.  November is annual conference month at OHLA and it was all hands on deck.  If you’ve ever put together a conference for nearly 500 people, including 50 exhibitors, over 30 speakers, political figures and a recording artist from Nashville (all with a full time staff of 4) you know it can be a bit hectic.  If you haven’t planned an event like that, now is not the time to start. It’s the holidays after all, and it’s time to get focused, because it’s my favorite time of year!

To put anyone in the proper holiday spirit you need cookies, decorations, cookies and cookies. For the past two years, TJ and I have made it a new holiday tradition to visit Ohio’s Amish Country for the Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns. It’s a win-win for me because I get to visit many of my members who are hosting thousands of visitors while enjoying the holiday spirit with my family. The tour continues to expand with new participants and fun ways to enjoy the weekend.  So let’s experience a #FlashbackFriday to the 2016 tour and see what’s in store for 2017 to get you ready for what will hopefully be a new tradition in your family. I have made note below of new additions to the tour!

Berlin Grande Hotel

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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!

Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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 was impressive to say the least. Actually, the cool thing about this place was there were 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!

Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek

 

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Not to be outdone by its sister property, the Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek had 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.

NEW THIS YEAR! Comfort Inn Dover

Comfort Suites Berlin

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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!

NEW THIS YEAR! Country Inn & Suites Dover

Guggisberg Swiss Inn

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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!

Inn at Walnut Creek

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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 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.

Oak Ridge Inn at Walnut Creek

One of our last stops in 2016, I was exhausted by the time we reached the Oak Ridge Inn. But, the crew

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

here 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.

NEW THIS YEAR! Sugarcreek Village Inn

BACK THIS YEAR! Wallhouse Hotel Walnut Creek

Unless you’ve been completely living under a pile of Christmas cookies, you know that the Wallhouse Hotel hosted our group last year. I highly recommend staying at one of these great places and enjoying dinner somewhere nearby!  I’m glad to see the Wallhouse back on the tour list for 2017!

NEW THIS YEAR! Zinck’s Inn

At the end of my post in 2016, I made it a point that we would buy 2 day tickets next time. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who thought this, as this year all tickets are 2-Day passes.

The 2017 Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns kicks off on December 9 at 1 p.m. This year marks the tour’s 10th year of celebrating the holidays and giving back to local charities.  Proceeds from this year’s tour benefit the Holmes County Education Foundation and LifeCare Hospice.  Spending a day or two on this tour is the perfect holiday tradition – hope you can make it one of yours and support Ohio’s Amish Country Lodging!

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

 

 

Have you Heard?

New lodging option in small town Ohio, close to Akron, Wooster

New Hotel, New to Ohio @ Cobblestone Hotel & Suites – Orrville

There’s a new kid on the block, literally. The first hotel in the city of Orrville, OH and the first hotel of this new brand in the state.  How cool! For some of us in the “big city,” it’s hard to imagine a town without a hotel. The mayor of Orrville, Dave Handwerk, announced to the crowd on the day of the grand opening that this hotel was the first to be constructed in Orrville in 97 years. Can you imagine?

New lodging option in small town Ohio, close to Akron, Wooster

I want to take this opportunity to feature a story written by a former OHLA intern and recently graduate of The Ohio State University, Megan Coddington.  Megan wrote this story leading up to the opening of the property, but since, I’ve been able to gather pictures to introduce the new brand to fellow travelers, hoteliers and other industry professionals. So let’s take a look at Ohio’s first Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.

Orrville is a small town in Ohio, located about 30 miles from Akron. With a population of about 8,500, the town is not ideal for big branded hotels to settle down in. Orrville is home of the J.M. Smucker Company and other local businesses that bring in their fair share of visitors that need a place to stay. The closest motels and hotels are 20 minutes away in Wooster.

Enter Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, an upscale, mid-size hotel brand that broke ground on a facility in Orrville in June 2015 — it’s the very first to be located in Ohio. 

Cobblestone Hotel & Suites is no stranger to the Midwest having already opened about 60 hotels in the region. This exciting new addition to Ohio will bring “Big City Quality” while keeping

New lodging option in small town Ohio, close to Akron, Wooster

New Hotel, New to Ohio @ Cobblestone Hotel & Suites – Orrville

“Small Town Values.” It offers the same amenities that travelers would expect when staying in big-brand hotels, but meets the needs of small towns that are not near major highways. The average room size is 40 rooms and the hotels offer each guest well-appointed public spaces and guestrooms with attentive, friendly service from our hotel teams. Guests are offered free high-speed Internet, complimentary hot breakfast, convenience stores, fitness centers, business centers and on-site beer and wine bars.

New lodging option in small town Ohio, close to Akron, Wooster

New Hotel, New to Ohio @ Cobblestone Hotel & Suites – Orrville

The company takes pride in being a family-run business and that doing things the right way is “part of their DNA.” Orrville’s community response has been nothing but positive.  Everyone is ready to welcome the new brand to their town. 

“Business-wise I think it will be great for companies to be able to set visitors up in a very nice facility, only minutes away. It should be a great positive for our local industries,” said Orrville Mayor Dave Handwerk.  Not only will this be a positive for local business but also leisure visitors traveling to Orrville for weddings, family reunions, the newly added Heartland Rail Trailand other events that Orrville has to offer throughout the year.

Other local industries are eager to embrace the anticipated addition to their small town. The President and CEO of the Aultman Orrville Hospital, Marchelle Suppan, explains how the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites will provide a convenient location for hospital recruits and short-term staffing assignees. Suppan not only hopes to be able to utilize the hotel for meetings , but she also hopes to sponsor hospital-related events there.

Orrville isn’t the first city to have their hotel needs met by Cobblestone. Salem, Indiana welcomed the first Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in the state in the fall of 2014. Salem is an hour from Louisville, Kentucky, with a population of about 6,300 and with needs similar to Orrville’s– a convenient quality hotel.

Consistent with its values and quality of service, Cobblestone prides itself in hiring locally and using local products when possible.

Cobblestone Hotel & Suites officially opened in March with a Grand Opening on May 5, 2017.  The completed hotel offers 54 guest rooms, 8 of which are extended stay rooms with kitchenettes.  True to its word, Cobblestone has incorporated many local  products into its hotel.  They offer Smucker’s Jelly products, Smucker’s maple syrup, Smucker’s Uncrustables® and Smith Dairy milk – all produced in Orrville. The bar includes local wines and Great Lakes Brewing Company beer.

Next time you’re traveling through some of America’s great small towns, check and see if a Cobblestone is available. You won’t be disappointed!

TIP: If you were one of the lucky few to receive one of these blue coins during the opening, use it to receive 100 rewards points to your Cobblestone Rewards!

New lodging option in small town Ohio, close to Akron, Wooster

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

 

Home Sweet Home?

Small Town, Big City Feels @ St. Paul Hotel – Wooster

You know when you’ve been traveling a lot and although you’ve seen incredible things, experienced new adventures and tasted fantastic new food, you sometimes find yourself sighing in relief as you pull into your driveway, thinking, “Ahhh, Home Sweet Home”  … well, I didn’t get a chance to do that.  As soon as TJ and I returned from our European adventure, I was thrown deep into the trenches of work travel with two back to back weeks of travel. We’re going to take a brief, one-week hiatus before diving back into Europe for the French leg of our trip to showcase one of my new favorite spots – the St. Paul Hotel in Wooster, OH.

Although I couldn’t quite sigh in relief of being home, I felt as close as I could get.  Wooster is 10 minutes from my hometown of Orrville, OH and the team at the St. Paul Hotel was gracious enough to host me for an overnight before a work meeting at the property the following day. On a gorgeous Ohio spring Sunday afternoon (a nice contrast to the chilly rain Paris chased us out of the country with), I drove to Wooster with a week’s worth of clothes and meeting materials.  I was tired before I left my house and was so fortunate to be swept up by the staff at the St. Paul.  The girl that greeted me upon arrival could perhaps sense my exhaustion, because after the quickest of check-ins she walked me to my room, a long lost art of small hotels. I arrived in one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve stepped foot in in a long time, the Grand Suite. Not only is this room unique and made with local hands and materials, but it comes equipped with a fantastic shower, cozy living area and a private deck and hot tub. If I couldn’t relax at home after a long cross country trip, this was definitely the next best thing.

I want to take a moment to walk you through some of the highlights of this hotel, because if you don’t have the time to stop and discover, you might have missed some of the cool history behind the front doors. In the lobby, you find yourself next to a beautiful fireplace.  The wood portion of the fireplace is reclaimed wood from a devastating possible tornado that ripped through the area in 2010 destroying portions of the nearby Ohio Agricultural and Research Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (OSU ATI). If the fireplace hasn’t caught your eye, then you’re probably looking up at the original tin ceiling, something you certainly don’t see much anymore!

In my guestroom, the living and sleeping areas are separated by a large sliding metal door.  These doors were originally fire doors from the former Freedlander Department Store of downtown Wooster.  This local business touched the lives of nearly everyone in Wooster and the surrounding communities.  I fondly remember shopping for Father’s Day there when I was little. I was always amazed that the clerks working in the men’s section not only knew my mom, but had a little pocket sized notebook with all of my dad’s measurements. How much easier would life be if you could go into a store and not guess your partner’s sizes? In the business of customer service, this is something I so wish we still maintained.  Sadly, Freedlander Department store operated as an independent, family owned department store for 105 years (1884-1989) and it finally closed its doors in 2009. The building was recently torn down.

In contrast to the re-purposed metal fire doors in the room, there is exemplary woodwork, with custom made pieces by The Schantz Organ Company of neighboring Orrville, OH. Many other items throughout the room were sourced by local businesses and the property built by local contractors and Amish workers.  The hotel recently expanded and now has 16 guestrooms!

After a thorough tour of the property, I was ready to eat!  Fortunately, the St. Paul Hotel is in the best location for stretching your legs, located just two blocks south of the square. Surrounding the hotel are great places to eat and shop, including H2 Wine Merchants, roomScapes (shameless plug for my family’s business!), Today’s Kitchen Store and one of our family’s favorites – City Square Steakhouse, which is where I was headed!

After a great dinner and a long day, I was ready to pack it in, BUT WAIT! There’s a hot tub!  How glorious.

The next day I made my way down to the gym.  If you didn’t already see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention, I love food and fitness. I have high expectations for gyms – it’s 2017!  Luckily, this little hotel delivered. With full equipment and exposed brick, I felt like I was transplanted into a swanky NYC hotel. Hungry, after a long workout, I’m reminded of one of the best things about small operations – they are forced to get creative with breakfast.  You either don’t serve it or you come up with something awesome. Perhaps you remember from a long time ago, the breakfast in a basket concept at the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Virginia? Anyway, I returned from the gym to find my pre-ordered continental breakfast waiting for me.  This is so ideal when you’re traveling for business. I can multi-task by eating, checking email and getting ready for my day in the comforts of my own room!

With a full belly and a great night’s rest, I headed downstairs. The St. Paul Hotel hosted myself and 9 other meeting attendees, all visiting from other unique properties around the state. The boardroom on site was perfect. Catering was handled by nearby Spoon Market and the sandwiches were to die for.

I can’t thank the team from the St. Paul Hotel enough for a wonderful stay, a great meeting venue and one of the most exemplary displays of guest service I’ve experienced in a long time. For a girl that hadn’t seen her own bed in over 2 weeks, this was the perfect place to feel like I was in a Home Away from Home.

 

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

 

 

I’m Back! And My Belly is Full of Cookies!

 

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Beautiful Ohio Amish Country

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…

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Guggisberg Swiss Inn – Charm, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

The Barn Inn – Millersburg, OH

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.

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Berlin Resort – Berlin, OH

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

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Comfort Suites – Berlin, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Berlin Grande Hotel – Berlin, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Carlisle Country Inn – Berlin, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Garden Gate Get-A-Way – Millersburg, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Oak Ridge Inn – Walnut Creek, OH

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.

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek – Walnut Creek, OH

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!

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Inn at Walnut Creek – Walnut Creek, OH

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.

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek – Sugarcreek, OH

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.

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

Inn at Amish Door – Wilmot, OH

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…

Ohio Amish Country Lodging Council Christmas Cookie Tour

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

Christi Does Ohio Amish Country

A Visit to Ohio Amish Country can have an Upscale Lodging Twist at The Wallhouse Hotel

Christi Does Ohio Amish Country @ the Wallhouse Hotel – Walnut Creek

Guest Blogger: Christi Saunders

I’ve never been the girl who loved to write, I was always the girl who loved to read; the one you found curled up with a book in the backseat of the car at night reading a sentence by each passing street light. When Halle asked me to “Guest Blog” on Inn Love (which has taken off with fast strides), I admit – I was intimidated.

I’m the OHLA staff member you will find as soon as you open the door, where I am planted with a smile. I love to travel but my job doesn’t require as much traveling as the others in the office so I was excited when member hotel property, The Wallhouse Hotel, hosted a Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau educational event at their property that was in my area of expertise! Marketing and SEO’s, yippee.

Ohio Amish Country

Christi Does Ohio Amish Country

So off Halle and I went! Down the highway where I saw the Longaberger Basket, (this picture doesn’t do the size justice) to the back country roads up to the land of Ohio Amish Country! Now if you are one who gets car sick, I recommend sticking your hand out the window (a little trick my mom taught me) before

A Visit to Ohio Amish Country can have an Upscale Lodging Twist at The Wallhouse Hotel

Upscale, Modern @ The Wallhouse Hotel – Walnut Creek

you proceed down these winding roads.  We arrived in Walnut Creek and I was in complete shock. The Wallhouse Hotel amidst all of this country land was not what I was picturing AT ALL. It looked like it should be planted in the middle of a downtown city! It was so vibrant with an upscale, sophisticated atmosphere. The lobby was modern and shining with sleek décor and a unique feel all around.

The Wallhouse Hotel is currently the only one of its type, located right in Walnut Creek, OH but they are expanding into new and exciting destinations!

As you’ve learned from Halle’s other posts, she is a foodie, but so am I. We inquired with the front desk staff on what our local out-of-the-normal options were. We both weren’t

Foodie Finds in Ohio Amish Country @ Park St. Pizza

Foodie Finds in Ohio Amish Country

up for filling and heavy home-cooked noodles and mashed potatoes so the staff recommended Park Street Pizza which was just a short drive over to Sugarcreek. The place was absolutely packed! With outside patio seating as well. You go inside and order up front before taking a seat. Now normally when I hear pizza, I am semi-disappointed because being a Gluten-free Girl, not all places have good options — but not at Park Street! We had the option to have any of their woodfired pizza’s on gluten-free crust. Halle and I decided to split the “Greek Town” Salad and the Great White Chicken pizza with gluten-free crust and made our way out to the patio to sit and take in the atmosphere after a long drive. Let me tell you, you will not be disappointed with either of these options! They were fantastic…and I have tried my fair share of not-so-fantastic gluten free options. The crust was a thin, but very good!

Once finished at Park Street, we made our way back to The Wallhouse Hotel, but had to stop at this

Ohio Amish Country

World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock

Giant CuckCoo Clock in downtown Sugarcreek!  It isn’t only giant, it is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock! We got tucked into each of our beds in our spacious, clean suite and read until falling asleep.

Bright and early I woke the next day to head down to the basement floor to the fitness center to get my workout in before our E-Marketing Workshop, but not without first taking a step out onto the balcony of our room that faces the most beautiful sunrise over country land as far as you can see. After a quick but sweaty workout, I grabbed an assortment of their complimentary, hot breakfast to take back up to the room while getting ready.  The two things I secretly judge a hotel by is the quality of the fitness center and how the breakfast is – both expectations were met at The Wallhouse Hotel!

I can’t forget to mention, somewhere in that chain of events, I learned what triple-sheeting was and if you’re a fan of this as Halle is, definitely head over to the The Wallhouse Hotel if not for their unique look and experience but their triple-sheeted beds!

The Holmes County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau put on a fantastic workshop with three great and engaging presenters. Lael Miller from Creative Warehouse provided me with lots of thoughts

Creative Vibes @ The Wallhouse Hotel - Walnut Creek

Creative Vibes @ The Wallhouse Hotel – Walnut Creek

and ideas to take back to the office on how to formulate a successful online strategy and some awesome handouts to keep with me to refresh my memory once I returned! Jordan Mullet with Sandler Sales training laid out some ways to break the rules and close more sales; and Kevin West opened up my eyes to growth and how to make positive changes to help with productivity and success.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and refreshing experience at The Wallhouse Hotel. The rooms are immaculate and the space and staff are very engaging with the most welcoming General Manager around. So on your next trip to Ohio’s Amish Country, if you decide you don’t want to stay in your usual spot or want to shake things up a bit, think about staying at The Wallhouse Hotel, you won’t regret it.

A Visit to Ohio Amish Country can have an Upscale Lodging Twist at The Wallhouse Hotel

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