Splish-Splashing at Kalahari!

Great spot for indoor fun, year round for couples or families!
Exploring @ Kalahari – Sandusky

It’s funny, Kalahari Sandusky opened over 10 years ago, but this year was my first visit. I liked it so much I’ve been there three times since March!  Let’s back up a little bit… I’m a self proclaimed ACEr (American Coaster Enthusiast), so when I make the drive to Sandusky from Columbus, you know where I’m headed (CEDAR POINT, BABY!) I’ve passed Kalahari a zillion times, it’s pretty hard to miss.  With the exception of the gas station across the street, it sits on a relatively empty plot of land and truly makes you feel like you’ve found an oasis in the desert. On my first visit, I pulled into the massive complex on a cold, rainy day.  I was so glad I was going somewhere I could lock myself inside – it was not pretty out!  TJ was with me and I was there for a conference, but we extended our trip to enjoy the water park. The second trip was all conference and I skipped the water park, as the calendar was jam-packed with not a lot of water-time!  Those two trips happened before the blog came about, so I was excited for my third trip when I could document the awesomeness that is Kalahari.

I was hosting a meeting, so luckily I had a lay of the land because on your first trip, you definitely need a survival kit and a map.  When I tell you this place is huge, double whatever you’re picturing in your head.

Kalahari does GREAT conventions and meetings!
Exploring @ Kalahari – Sandusky

So at this time, I’ve been to Kalahari for three meetings.  Everytime, I’m always impressed with the service, the food, and of course the venue. When was the last time your cocktail reception features Ostrich Skewers or Ceviche?  They always make an effort to incorporate authentic African cuisine into your menu.  As a Certified Meeting Professional, it gives me a little bit of anxiety because so many people are SO PICKY! But, the traveler in me loves it. I enjoy trying new things and I can always count on Kalahari to create an epicurean adventure I’ve never tried before. So, if you find yourself here for a meeting, just try it.  Everything they make is an experience and something to be savored.

If you aren’t here for a meeting, or you are able to enjoy any of the other amenities – check out the water park. When I first visited, TJ and I made it a point to get there early to beat the masses. We rode all of the slides, the lazy river and the “dump buckets” as I call them.  You know, those water vortex things that spits you out a funnel? This is a fantastic place for families. It’s safe and there are a zillion different things to do for all ages.  But for us, we didn’t have kids and once the kid:adult ratio started to tip out of

Great spot for indoor fun, year round for couples or families!
Splashing Around @ Kalahari – Sandusky

our favor, we high tailed it to the adults-only hot tub.  You heard that right! Complete with swim up bar and indoor-outdoor connected, child free hot tub. It was perfect. Back in March, there was still a winter nip in the air and the outdoor hot tub was the perfect place to sit back and close your eyes.  For the record, it sounds like I will need to make another trip, because they’re opening a new outdoor slides section in 2017.  Because I’ve only visited when it’s cold and raining, I haven’t been able to appreciate all of the outdoor hot spots – water slides, a zip line course, and animals! There is a mini zoo!

We wrapped up our day at the slides and decided to go out for a night on the town.  I heard you snicker. “Out on the town? Halle, you’re in Sandusky – there’s nowhere to ” go out” to! Right?” WRONG. Sandusky is revitalized, my friends.  You heard it here. You need to get there and soon, before everyone else figures it out.  There are two amazing places that I have had the pleasure of patronizing.  One is Crush Wine Bar, where we started the evening for a glass of wine. They serve food too – I would check it out on another trip, for sure!  We had dinner reservations around the corner at ZINC brasserie and “Oh, my!” Our food was phenomenal. This is ‘big city caliber’ fine dining, folks. TJ had the duck and I went beef.  We started off with a beef carpaccio that was to die for. (apparently I was in a beef mood!)  And the dessert? A perfect Creme Brulee, toasted to perfection – one of my favorite things on earth.  Since we’ve been to downtown Sandusky, they have added a slew of restaurants, a speakeasy and a brand new, boutique hotel, Hotel Kilbourne.  I think the Sandusky shores of Lake Erie will be pulsing with even more travelers come next summer with all of these hot additions!

Not to be overlooked however, would be the numerous restaurants Kalahari has to offer its guests.  If my memory serves me right, there are six restaurants/cafes outside of the park and plenty of variety in both atmosphere and food.  If I were there for leisure travel, I’d say you have more options than you need!  The pizza is a great choice, out of the Cafe Mirage/Pizza Pub area.  Actually, that’s one of my favorite things at Kalahari (shhh, don’t tell!)

So whether you’re there for a meeting, splashing around in the water park, relaxing in the Spa Kalahari & Salon or restaurant hopping, take some time to check out the detail of this place. If you’re in just the right spot, at just the right time, they might just have you convinced that you were transported to the African countryside.

Great spot for indoor fun, year round for couples or families!
Morning Rainbows @ Kalahari – Sandusky

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

A Hilton Like No Other

Cincinnati Lodging couldn't get much more unique!
Rookwood Pottery Fountain @ the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Full disclosure – this week’s hotel is another one of my favorites.  I’ve eaten there, I’ve slept there, I’ve drank there, I’ve been a meeting attendee there, and I’ve worked there.  In every instance, they never cease to amaze me.  This week, I’m taking you inside the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza (HNP). Grandly situated on the corner of 5th & Race in downtown Cincinnati, the HNP has sat for 85 years.  It is one of Cincinnati’s (and Ohio’s!) oldest hotels.  I think the team at the HNP would appreciate that I’m actually going to kick this post off talking about the food.

This hotel is massive.  When it opened its doors in 1931 it had 7 restaurants and 800 rooms.  But these weren’t just any old restaurants – the Restaurant Continentale (now the Continental Ballroom) had an ice skating rink and the Pavillion Caprice (now the Pavillion Ballroom) was a nightclub that featured Doris Day for her professional debut.  Today, the restaurants at the hotel still aren’t just any old restaurant. Orchids at Palm Court is one of my favorite places for a formal dinner.  Chef Todd Kelly and Pastry Chef, Megan Ketover, have been wowing guests for years.  Megan might sound familiar, she can be seen on the rooftop harvesting honey from the hotel’s beehives or on Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts! Not only is the food absolutely amazing and creative art, but the service is impeccable. If you’ve ever wanted a crash course in fine dining etiquette, you’ll learn it here. Now, if you’ve had a chance to actually take your face out of your plate (I’m kidding, that would not be acceptable restaurant behavior) you might have noticed the beautiful murals on the

Cincinnati's 5 Diamond Restaurant - the Definition of Fine Dining
Orchids at Palm Court @ the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

ceiling. The hotel, and more specifically Orchids, has an interesting history.

Would you believe some, pardon me, idiot covered that up in the 60s?  That’s OK, there were lots of questionable design decisions in the 60s. When the hotel underwent a 2 year, multi-million dollar renovation in the 80s, the paint was scraped from the woodwork, the murals restored and the original marble uncovered.  What you see now is very similar to the original hotel design, classic art deco elegance (You can read more about the hotel’s history here. When you work there, you know these things!).

Speaking of elegance, the entire hotel is a walking museum and it’s gorgeous. You can quite literally get lost wondering the hallways.  Actually, back when I worked there, you could ask the desk (or anyone with a uniform on) for a walking history guide (highly recommended!).  So let’s start with the entrance.  If you enter the hotel from the doors on 5th or Race you’re greeted by a sweeping, marble staircase that ascends to the lobby. There are elevators, of course, but take the stairs – they are part of the experience.  You’ll notice Orchids and the Grille at Palm Court off to your right.  If you have a chance to eat here, do it.  It is so worth it.  Just passed the Grille, it’s hard not to notice the beautiful wall fountain. If memory serves me right, this fountain was a contribution by another historic Cincinnati business, Rookwood Pottery! Just behind that is a long room that runs East to West along 5th St, this is the Continental Ballroom. If you close your eyes, you can imagine the ice skating rink!

Cincinnati Lodging couldn't get much more unique!
Everything is Grand @ the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Take the stairs to the right of the Continental Ballroom. When you come out of this hallway, you might notice all of the wood on the walls.  I think this section of the hotel is the best representation of the Brazilian Rosewood.  These trees are endangered, so you better believe the staff takes really good care of the walls, they aren’t easy to replace.

Keep climbing the stairs and you’ll find yourself on the 3rd floor, home of the famed Hall of Mirrors.  I dreamed I would have my wedding here one day, that didn’t happen, but you can!  This room can house hundreds of guests.  I was fortunate to witness a miracle once while working at the HNP.  That was to watch their staff flip

Cincinnati Lodging couldn't get much more unique!
THE Hall of Mirrors @ the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

from a wedding ceremony to a formal reception in less than 2 hours. There were tables rolling and linens flying, but this team at the HNP has this down to a science.  There is a ton of history and many famous people that have set foot in this room, and plenty of ghost stories. If you ask the right people, you might learn about The Lady in Green, a famed ghost of the hotel who is still searching for her husband who was killed during the construction of the hotel. In the time I worked there, I never saw her, but some swear by it!


If you have a chance to continue discovering the hotel, you might find this staircase between the 3rd and 4th floors.  It’s super cool.  In the daylight, you might think the paint job is a little obscure. If you’re ever in the hotel when the

Cincinnati Lodging couldn't get much more unique!
Everything is Grand @ the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

electricity goes out, you can follow the glow from the windows in this painting – it glows in the dark!

You know, whenever I’m at the Hilton, I always walk around, hoping to discover something new.  My trip this time was a whirlwind, in and and out in about 12 hours.  While I was there, I was able to enjoy a perfectly set meeting, a good breakfast and excellent service.  One thing that continues to amaze me is the retention at this property. The hospitality industry is notorious for turnover, but the HNP has many of the same managers from 8 years ago when I was there and a lot of the same staff. Kudos to them, because their dedication to staff shines through in how they treat their guests.

So, you’ve walked around the hotel, but you certainly haven’t burned off that exceptional meal at Orchids.  If you’re like me, and you need a little more out of your day, hit the streets. Cincinnati is by far one of the most walkable cities I’ve ever visited and walk you should. I woke up that morning and ran, what I call, “the bridges.”  It’s a great 3 mile loop from the hotel which takes you into Kentucky and back.  If you take a moment to look over your shoulder, you’ll see the Queen City in all of its glory.


The Queen City
The Queen City from the Purple People Bridge

“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

A Little History While Treated Like Royalty in the Queen City

The Cincinnatian Hotel is an historic, boutique hotel in the heart of Cincinnati
The Iconic Cricket Lounge @ The Cincinnatian Hotel

If you didn’t know already, I lived in Cincinnati for 7 years.  It has a number of names – the Queen City, Porkopolis, the Nati — if you’re in school there.  For me, it was home. I fell in love with the culture and oh, THE FOOD.  I left Cincinnati in 2013 to join my now hubby in Columbus. Needless to say, a lot of my favorite people are still in Cincinnati and we make multiple trips there every year.  The cool thing about living outside of Cincinnati is that now I get to stay in all of it’s great lodging spots when I visit! So we’re going to kick off our Cincinnati post with one of my all-time favorite hotels, The Cincinnatian Hotel.

The Cincinnatian is historic.  It is one of the oldest hotels in Ohio, built in 1882.  It originally opened its doors as The Palace Hotel and was the tallest building in the city at a whopping 8 stories. It had 300 guest rooms and a shared bathrooms and it’s biggest claim to fame in those days was the addition of the elevator an incandescent lighting. In the mid-1900s, the hotel took a bit of a dive.  People lived there and it got pretty bad.  The plan was to tear it down and replace it with a parking garage.  The good news is, someone remembered what it was and knew what it could be and in 1987 after a $25 Million renovation, it reopened its doors in all the grandeur of its day.

The Cincinnatian Hotel is an historic, boutique hotel in the heart of Cincinnati
Fancy Footing @ The Cincinnatian Hotel

Now, the hotel has about half of the rooms the original hotel had and, yes, fortunately each room has it’s own bathroom (or two!). The hotel still has bits of its history sprinkled throughout – the grand staircase, which has been featured in countless Cincinnati wedding photo shoots, is the original!  If you look closely, you can see the dip in the marble of over 100 years of foot traffic. If you’re into following the footsteps of those that came before you and find yourself climbing the stairs, you might discover there is a mistake in my story.  I told you there were 8 stories, but this staircase only covers 7.  Good catch!  The 8th floor used to serve as servant’s quarters in the original hotel, so the guest staircase would never have served the top floor.  Now, the 8th floor holds a number of suites and additional guestrooms and can be accessed by the elevators and emergency staircase.

You could spend all day at The Cincinnatian, checking out the art that lines the hallways or feasting on the delicious creations that Chef Nathan Sheatzley serves up in the award winning Palace Restaurant.  On the weekends, you would be smart to enjoy a cocktail and the sounds of the Phillip Paul Trio in the Cricket Lounge. But, we were here for a wedding, so our weekend was well laid out for us.

After 7 years in Cincinnati and many return trips, you’d think I’ve seen it all.  I’ve definitely been to the Cincinnati Art Museum, watched a lot of football at Paul Brown Stadium and a lot of baseball at Great American Ballpark. I’ve crossed the Ohio River on the Purple People Bridge and I’ve sampled all of the favorites – Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream — but it took leaving for me to discover one of the coolest things in downtown Cincinnati – the American Sign Museum.

If you're looking for things to do in Cincinnati - the American Sign Museum is an off the beaten path place to stop!
American Sign Museum

This place is SO COOL. If you’re planning a trip to Cincinnati, it’s definitely worth a visit. You take a step back in time as you pull into the parking lot. The signs they have on display are all kinds of different wonders from the past – restaurant signs, billboards, descriptions of different typeface and so much more.  One of the employees found us staring up in amazement and started giving us some fun facts.  In the middle of the main showroom, there is an enormous spinning globe.  In the opposite direction, little neon cars spin around it.  You probably could have guessed, but this used to be at an auto dealer.

If you're looking for things to do in Cincinnati - the American Sign Museum is an off the beaten path place to stop!
American Sign Museum

The employee said the piece came from Compton and while it was still there in had a bit of a run in.  It turns out if you look closely, you can see where a bullet hole entered one side and exited the other.  No reason to repair it! A little authenticity adds to the character of the place. If you have a chance to stop next time you’re in Cincinnati, I highly recommend it. They’re open Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for Seniors, Students, Kids and Military.

After a great night on the town, we headed back to our fabulous room at The Cincinnatian. We woke up the next morning craving a new breakfast experience before hitting the highway.  A quick google search told me of a place I’d never seen before – Cheapside Cafe.  Strange name, I thought to myself.  But, I’m a sucker for artsy pictures of baristas, so I was sold.  Within easy walking distances of The Cincinnatian and other downtown hotels, Cheapside Cafe sits on the corner of 8th St. and, of course, Cheapside St.!  Consider yourself warned, if you blink, you just might miss it. The building itself can’t be bigger than a guestroom at The Cincinnatian and the menu was just as small.  I’m

Looking for a Hidden Gem in Cincinnati? Check out this off the beaten path breakfast find!
In breakfast heaven @ Cheapside Cafe

one of those people though, that believes that great things come in small packages and boy was I right.  TJ ordered the Chorizo Egg Sandwich which was perfect and just a touch spicy. It was strangely chilly outside for summer, so I went with what was sure to be a palate pleaser – the Oatmeal Brulee. It was a fancy twist on such a simple breakfast item, but it was a little bowl of heaven.  Everything about Cheapside Cafe was great and I’d definitely go back.

We had a great trip to Cincinnati, but if I “had” to go back, which you know I will, I’d visit some of my favorite dinner establishments.  So if you make it there before me, I want to be sure you get a chance to try them too.  In no particular order –




Orchids at Palm Court


If you're looking for things to do in Cincinnati - the American Sign Museum is an off the beaten path place to stop!
American Sign Museum

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

Pit Stops – Eastern Ohio

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.

Ohio B&Bs are a great place for a weekend getaway!
Entrance to the Orchard House @ Orchard House B&B

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

Great unique B&Bs in your backyard!
Bonne Nuit @ Orchard House B&B

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.

Ever dreamed of a fairytale wedding? Check out this off the beaten path Ohio wedding venue!
Fairytale Wedding Space @ Orchard House B&B

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

An Ohio castle getaway - perfect for a staycation or romantic weekend away!
Feeling Like Royalty @ Landoll’s Mohican Castle

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!”

An Ohio castle getaway - perfect for a staycation or romantic weekend away!
Unique Ohio Guestrooms @ Landoll’s Mohican Castle
An Ohio castle getaway - perfect for a staycation or romantic weekend away!
In-SPIRE-ing @ Landoll’s Mohican Castle

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.

An Ohio castle getaway - perfect for a staycation or romantic weekend away!
Gordon Ramsey’s Reimagined The Copper Mug Bar & Grille @ Landoll’s Mohican Castle

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

Great urban Ohio getaways lead us to the St. Paul Hotel in downtown Wooster!
Urban Sanctuary in Rural Ohio @ The St. Paul Hotel

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.

Great urban Ohio getaways lead us to the St. Paul Hotel in downtown Wooster!
The old and the new @ The St. Paul Hotel

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

Great urban Ohio getaways lead us to the St. Paul Hotel in downtown Wooster!
#Local #Handcrafted @ The St. Paul Hotel

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.

Great urban Ohio getaways lead us to the St. Paul Hotel in downtown Wooster!
Missing the Country @ The St. Paul Hotel

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

Rockin’ Weekend In Cleveland


Cleveland Hotels

Each year, TJ and I use his birthday as an excuse to travel.  Since we recently returned from our Costa Rican honeymoon, we decided it might be best to keep our mini getaway close to home.  We looked at the calendar and like many of you, we didn’t have any free weekends! It is wedding and baby season, after all. Squeezed on our calendar was a baby shower in Twinsburg, so we decided, what the heck, Cleveland it is.

I wanted to make this birthday trip just as exciting as our trip to NYC a couple of years back – how do I top that in Cleveland?!

Book Nook by the Fireside
The Schoefield Hotel – Book Nook by the Fireside

I’ll tell you how! We stay at one of the newest, historically renovated masterpieces on E. 9th St. of course – The Kimpton Schofield Hotel. The original, c. 1902 Schofield Building was transformed into a modern, urban oasis and just opened this year. I’m a YP and like everyone says my generation is supposed to, I love the community space they incorporated into the lobby.  Each morning they put out a fabulous selection of teas and coffee and little baby muffins and fruit.  The best part was, I could take it back to my room or enjoy one of these cute reading nooks.  Notice all that green stuff? It’s alive!  The new “it” thing to bring into your lobby are these living walls – perfect, particularly when you’re at an urban property. Their restaurant, Parker’s Downtown, just opened – check it out!

Cleveland Night Life
High life Night Life at Azure Rooftop Lounge at the Metropolitan at the 9

We kicked off the weekend at one of Cleveland’s best restaurants, Michael Symon’s Lola. Lola is located in the East 4th Street entertainment district, just a stone’s throw from The Schofield Hotel. TJ loves pierogis, so you can bet we tried the Beef Cheek Pierogi with mushrooms and horseradish crème fraiche. The waiter said it’s been on the menu since the restaurant opened, which I can certainly believe because it was phenomenal. We wrapped up our first night by visiting another great property in downtown Cleveland – the Azure Rooftop Lounge at the Metropolitan at the 9. The hotel itself is the definition of trendy. Staff looked professional in anything but a uniform (jeans, vests, fedoras, you name it!) and the bartenders were bustling on one of Ohio’s first beautiful summer nights. From this rooftop on the 12th floor, you can see the entire city.

We love breakfast in our family and when we’re traveling,20160529_101228 that’s no different!  The following morning, we skipped over to Ohio City (5-minute car ride or 15 minutes on the Red

Dog Friendly Cleveland
Ohio City – TownHall

Line that picks up at 9th & Euclid).  We visited TownHall Ohio City on a recommendation from a local and we fell in love. I had the Flaxberry Smoothie and the Wakey Wakey – that bacon is to. Die. For. We also noticed there were a number of pups on the patio and, was that one of them eating out of a dog bowl?? Yep – this is a very pet friendly joint! Check out their dog menu!

We spent the rest of the day discovering Cleveland. While in Ohio City, we visited Cleveland’s oldest continuously operating, municipally owned market, West Side Market (now open Sundays!). We checked out the new Hilton Downtown Cleveland. Speaking of markets (did I mention we love food?), we also paid a visit to Heinen’s Grocery Store located on the corner of 9th & Euclid.  Heinen’s began as a butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland in 1931 and now operates twenty-two stores throughout Ohio and Indiana.  You can do all of your grocery shopping or visit the historic Rotunda for a grab-and-go selection of fresh salads, sushi, sandwiches, etc. We finished our evening with dinner at another hometown favorite – Pickwick & Frolic, followed by a show at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday!

Before heading home, we swung through Adega, another of the spectacular dining options at Metropolitan at the 9. Settling in with a mug of tea in hand, after a weekend full of discovery, food and sunshine – all in our own backyard, the idea of Inn Love was born.

Cleveland Breakfast Hot Spot

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


Setting Sail

This is my first time venturing into the blogging world.  I want to set some expectations on what you’ll find here:

What I can promise:

  • We’re going to have fun.
  • We’re going to learn about an area we’ve never been.
  • We’ll learn about a place we didn’t know existed in our own backyard.
  • We’re going to find experiences.
  • We’ll learn some tools of the trade.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader.  But – I like to try something new and want others to try it with me.  I take risks and I like discovery.  I would jump out of a plane, dive off a cliff, or try to pet a tiger before I’d volunteer to speak in front of a crowd.  I hope that I learn something about myself in this process and you learn something too.

Together, I hope we can Discover Ohio and the US  – one room at a time.

Saddle Up, Hop On, Jump In – this is going to be a hell of a ride.

This is a Room with a Viewpoint.

This is Inn Love.