Into the Wild at Kalahari

It’s hard to believe that Kalahari Sandusky has been a staple for so many years and continues to be at the forefront for just about everything from family fun, to conference services, to innovative dining, a rejuvenating spa experience, (…OR attending our annual conference in a few short days). The service, the food, the venue is always so impressive and is such a dynamic setting.

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.

Something that is new(er) is B-Lux Grill & Bar. It is my favorite dining outlet and offers my preferred combo of the savory and the sweet. A great place for laid back grub offering a wide array of different burgers, sandwiches and other comfort foods like gourmet macaroni and cheese! Now, things get serious when we start talking about dessert… the milkshake options are extensive and are just…so….good. From a cupcake to a donut, you will have all your milkshake dreams met! Make sure you look at the milkshake menu BEFORE you order dinner to ensure you have plenty of room to indulge.

If you aren’t here for a meeting, or you are able to enjoy any of the other amenities – check out the water park. What a fun array of activities! Ride all of the slides, the lazy river and be submerged under the “dump buckets”. 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. There is much more than meets the eye – water slides, a zip line course, and animals! There is a mini zoo!Great spot for indoor fun, year round for couples or families!

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.

I hope YOU have decided to #jointhecaravan and we will see you at this dynamic venue November 25-26!

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

Great spot for indoor fun, year round for couples or families!

Morning Rainbows @ Kalahari – Sandusky

Refined Hospitality at Hancock Hotel

An enlightened experience.

Bringing refined hotel and dining experiences to the Findlay, Ohio landscape.

I introduce you to the Hancock Hotel located on South Main Street in Downtown Findlay. I recently visited this property for one of our many member mixers with our Northwest Lodging Council and it is impressive!Hancock Hotel - Findlay, OH

The design elements throughout the hotel are modern and tell the story and history of the Findlay community. The front entryway is glass with perfectly aligned bicycles adorned with the hotel logo. These bikes are available for any guests to rent at any time.

Hancock Hotel - Findlay, OHI was warmly greeted by the friendly team and directed to our event space. The halls have high ceilings with many windows allowing for their gorgeous light fixtures to shimmer. Every space in the hotel is a statement. I loved the rich royal blue accents throughout the hotel along with just a little bit of glitz through their light fixtures and usage of metals.

The pre-function and meeting area also offered tall windows with navy draperies in a pristine space. The team did a great job as our host and I have to say, the build-your-own bruschetta was maybe my most favorite appetizer ever… fresh tomatoes, soft mozzarella, sliced breads… the Italian in me was such a happy camper!

Speaking of good eats, Hancock Hotel is also home to Mancy’s Steakhouse. Sound familiar? While visiting, I learned that Mancy’s is an iconic steakhouse in Toledo and extremely well-known. The restaurant décor and set-up are very warm and cozy. Somewhere you’d want to take in a multiple course meal and perhaps stay for that night cap. The kitchen has a large open service window which I always enjoy, I love being able to see the operation!Hancock Hotel - Findlay, OH

The sleeping rooms are equally as beautiful as the rest of the hotel with plush bedding, stand out artwork and again a little piece of Findlay in every space.Hancock Hotel - Findlay, OH

After speaking with several of the Hancock team members, I was overjoyed to hear of their engagement and involvement within the community. They host community events throughout the year at a nominal cost to locals. From family-friendly to an evening for adults, there is a diverse selection, and each is ever so creative. A few events coming up are “A Great Pumpkin Breakfast” featuring a full breakfast buffet for the whole family and showing of It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and for the adults they will be hosting a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show followed by a few other holiday events such as a holiday pop up market. (If you are interested in any of these events they are open to registrations on Eventbrite!)

Next time you are in Findlay, stop by and see the lovely team at the Hancock Hotel and maybe even enjoy a steak at Mancy’s!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

A Unique Experience in Dublin

Oh, have I’ve missed you! It’s me, Halle! I’m back! Just for a brief bit though to share about a super cool experience I had recently in my very own backyard.  One of my favorite parts of working for OHLA is discovering the coolest lodging facilities we have right here in Ohio.  Even better when it’s here in Columbus.  I want to introduce you to The Timbrook Guesthouse located in Dublin, just across from Antrim Park.Timbrook Guesthouse - Dublin, OH

The Timbrook Guesthouse is owned by innkeepers Jill & Peter Dole.  Parents to 6 kids and several grandkids, these two fell in lovebirds (pun intended – read on) with what was formerly known as the “Old Jack Antrim Farmhouse” – a mansion built in 1875 and nestled on 83 acres.  The Doles bought the property and its remaining 4 acres from the Timmons family in 1988 and raised their family there.  Now, the Doles operate a guesthouse where they welcome visitors into their tropical paradise tucked neatly away off of Olentangy River Road in the heart of Columbus – I promise you; you didn’t even know it was there. And that, my friends, is the best part.  They have marvelously created a hidden escape for me, for you and all of their guests. Let’s take a look!Timbrook Guesthouse - Dublin, OH

I was visiting Timbrook on a drizzly Saturday in September for work on a weekend – something many of our readers can appreciate.  The difference here is, I was transported to an island getaway despite the wet, the cool and the Ohio gray.  While at most inns one can expect an immaculate experience inside, the coolest part of Timbrook is what is on the outside.  The Doles have added hidden nooks and crannies outside to be discovered by guests, including Puna’s Pond (the pool), Leilani’s Lagoon (the hot tub sanctuary) and my favorite, the Tropical Aviary (see what I did there – these two love birds!).Timbrook Guesthouse - Dublin, OH

Even on a day like that Saturday, the beauty of the meticulously manicured gardens was all anyone could need.  Give me a blanket and wipe off my seat and I could have easily sat in one of the benches or chairs throughout the property and just watched the world slow down and let my senses take over.  Sadly, I wasn’t there to relax, but I was eager to indulge in Jill’s fabulous breakfast spread.  If you remember, I love food, so when I booked this location for a board retreat, I made sure it included brunch.  The Doles were dealing with a full house (big OSU game that weekend) + our 8 guests, so it was all hands-on deck.  We were seated in a beautiful family dining room – the wooden table was hand made in Costa Rica, as were the super cool chairs (guys, they had pineapples carved into them!) and we were surrounded by windows – it was the perfect setting to dig into Jill’s AMAZING pumpkin pancakes.  I put amazing in all caps, because they were hands down, the best pumpkin pancakes I’ve ever had.

Timbrook Guesthouse - Dublin, OHAnd, the best part about breakfast at Timbrook?  There is a TEA STATION! Raise your hand if you work at a property that puts an emphasis on tea for its guests? (Right, not a lot of hands in the air) So imagine my joy when I was directed to an entire tea station that included honey made right there at Timbrook. (Shameless Plug: Curious about tea service?  Make sure you check out ‘Service to a Tea’ at the OHLA Annual Conference this year!)

Set a little goal for yourself, right here, right now.  Find one day – come on, you have 365 to choose from – and book a stay at The Timbrook Guesthouse.  The Doles will graciously open their beautiful paradise to you and transport you to somewhere truly special. Aloha!

Are you a Thrill Seeker?!

Seeking speed? Thrills? Heights? Look no further than the ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World’. It’s not too late to visit Cedar Point, the one-stop-shop for family fun and amusement galore. The park boasts 18 world class roller coasters plus thrill rides and you cannot forget about my favorite part, the water park.

Cedar Point - Sandusky, OhioWhen I think of Cedar Point, I have nostalgia of childhood memories… being terrified of going on the Millennium once I was tall enough, puking after riding the Raptor (some things you’ll never forget!), or riding my favorite water log ride with my parents.

There is so much to do, explore and see within the amusement park and it is tough to cram it all into one day. Don’t fret, there are great properties on the premise, under the Cedar Fair umbrella.

Castaway Bay

Castaway Bay - Sandusky, OhioCastaway Bay is an indoor waterpark oasis (OVER 38,000 sq. ft.!!) The entire property is tropically themed. Some things that I appreciate most is that the rooms offer suites with a mini fridge and microwave! Always great to have when you have your kiddos in tow. The hotel features a Quaker Steak & Lube (I grew up just a few minutes away from the original in Sharon, PA!) restaurant along with a deli serving Starbucks coffee, breakfast buffet and snack shack.

Cedar Point Express Hotel

Cedar Point Express Hotel - SanduskyCedar Point’s Express Hotel also features the family friendly mini-fridge & microwave combo and is all about guest convenience. Easy parking within close proximity of the property and a convenience shop inside! My favorite part of this property is the courtyard and outdoor pool area. It is plush and a great way to spend an afternoon. Perfect to gather and soak up the sun!

Hotel Breakers

Hotel Breakers - Sandusky, OhioHotel Breakers is exactly what you’d imagine a waterfront resort to be. A variety of rooms and suites, balconies and breathtaking views of Lake Erie. This hotel serves as a great stay-cation, with three restaurants and two bars on site!  Spend your days by the pools, water playground, engage in fun games and activities on the beach or my personal favorite, relax under the stars by the fire pits.

Lighthouse Point

Lighthouse Point - Sandusky, OhioLooking for an alternative to hotel accommodations? Hook up your RV, rent a cottage or a variety of cabins. What a great place to relax! Enjoy great amenities, outdoor seating and a charcoal grill. If you are staying in a cabin, you have to have a grill! On the grounds, you can also find an outdoor pool, on-site laundry and fun activities.

[Shout out to a few of our other members in the Cedar Point area: Knights Inn, Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari Resort & Conference Center (home of our 2019 Annual Conference), and Sawmill Creek Resort!]

What is your favorite memory of the Lake Erie Shores & Islands? Besides Cedar Point, my family always loved going to Port Clinton and visiting Put-in-Bay and Kelley’s Island, the wineries of Geneva (and Madsen Donuts, of course!) and much more.

Wherever this summer has taken you, I hope it was enjoyable and you squeeze in a little more summer fun this month!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

An INNvitation to Ada

The drive from Columbus to Ada is such a pleasant ride. Weaving through Ohio’s proud farmland with scenic views as far as the eye can see and a few of those “I am going to lose my stomach” hills that make sure you are awake.

Ada is the home to Ohio Northern University and the inn that operates on the campus. The Inn at Ohio Northern University blends right in with the campus buildings of brick and is a charming attribute to the campus. You know you’ve found the inn when you see the huge arch at the entry point.The Inn at Ohio Northern - Ada, Ohio

Our Unique Lodging of Ohio (ULO) Council recently met at the Inn as they are a proud ULO property. Our meeting was held within the spacious, hi-tech boardroom. One wall of windows allowed natural light to pour in and the room was anchored with a wet bar area one end and a huge television screen on the other. It was an excellent set up! The Inn offers over 3,000 square feet of space and is suitable for just about any type of event!

The Inn at Ohio Northern - Ada, OhioThe lobby is cozy and opens to a large outdoor courtyard and a pub. It felt very warm and inviting with the stone accents and piano in the space. (I can only imagine what this place is like over the holidays!) I attribute much of the coziness to the hospitality of the team. Every single employee that we came across was warm, welcoming and so hospitable. Including the audio-visual technician, our banquet server, catering manager, the General Manager and many more!

This was not an overnight visit, unfortunately, but the accommodations are unique, spacious and offer great amenities like Turkish towels, bath salts, refrigerator and a coffee and tea station. (One of my favorite items that are around the Inn are the signature orange and black speckled coffee mugs! You’ll see these logo’d mugs in the meeting rooms, sleeping rooms and in the gift shop. I should have bought one…)The Inn at Ohio Northern - Ada, Ohio

I’d say this is a great opportunity for someone seeking a retreat location, business meeting or just a little getaway.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

The Inn at Ohio Northern - Ada, Ohio

Fond Memories & a Bright Future at Cherry Valley

Cherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - NewarkThis past Wednesday, OHLA had the privilege of presenting a proclamation to honor the 21 million dollar renovation of the former Cherry Valley Lodge & Waterpark now known as Cherry Valley Hotel & Ohio Event Center located in Newark. Many community members gathered to recognize this moment. I enjoyed hearing stories and memories of the lodge and waterpark. Many enjoyed family trips, meetings and the team that once operated the property. Others shared their excitement for this redevelopment as it stood as a marker for growth and economic development.

Cherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - Newark

Rendering of main lobby/common space.

The entire property is in process of being completely renovated. All 200 sleeping rooms, common areas, new dining & lounge concepts and… no more waterpark. That’s right, the waterpark will no longer be a fixture at the property.Cherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - Newark

During the event, we got to witness the first of the water slides to go down, literally (as in… a bulldozer…). The removal of the waterpark makes room for a complete event & exhibition center.

The renovation is full steam ahead with much of the common space and a first phase of sleeping rooms being guest-ready beginning at the end of July with the full property being completed in October.

A few of the sleeping rooms were ready for viewing and they are impressive. Fresh new colors, spacious & bright bathrooms with quirky artwork of affluent deer (I loved these!).Cherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - Newark

We are looking forward to seeing the finished product and who knows… host an upcoming OHLA event within the new event center!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

Cherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - NewarkCherry Valley Hotel & Event Center - Newark

 

Something Special at Sebring Mansion

Hello! My name is Lorada and I am Lauren’s mom. I’m a little nervous as this is my first EVER blog entry. Coming from a nursing background, this is a little out of my element but here we are. My husband (Joe) & I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last week at the beautiful Sebring Mansion in the small town of Sebring, Ohio (30 minutes NE of Canton).

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Dick who got us settled then led us on a tour of the entire mansion including each room. Each room is completely different that the other and are all decorated to the tee. Building began in 1900 with original woodwork and accents shipped directly from Italy to Sebring. The owner, Lynne Biery, has carried these beginnings through her keen eye for detail and has not left a stone unturned. She has carefully curated every piece within the mansion to reflect the rich history of the                                                                            property.

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

We were so lucky to have the opportunity to stay within the Sebring Suite. This stunning suite boasted a comfortable king bed, dark red décor and accents, a large jetted tub and fireplace. I was speechless when we walked in. Every item in the room was an intentional thought-through detail. We were welcomed with a cheese spread with chocolates and fruit, it was delicious! The cheeses provided were from Biery Cheese Company which Lynne’s family has owned since 1929.Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

The small but mighty team was so, so kind and pleasant. I shared with Lauren that I felt that this is what it must be like for Meghan Markle at Frogmore! Dick was a hoot and was with us much of the day and introduced us to Murphy’s Pub named after the contractor of the pub addition. For dinner, we were treated to a beautiful sweetheart table set-up and enjoyed an amazing meal prepared by Chef Randy and our sweet server, Lisa, made our celebratory dinner so memorable. That evening we enjoyed their huge outdoor hot tub all to ourselves.Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

It was a short overnight stay and our departure was just as memorable as the arrival with an outstanding breakfast and a genuine farewell from Robin. We plan to come back over the holidays as I was told it is a sight to see with decorated trees in every room.

I cannot say enough about our experience at Sebring Mansion. It has certainly set the bar high for next year’s anniversary celebration!

 

Thank you for reading!

Lorada & Joe

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

Get Lost at The White Oak Inn

Driving along a winding two-lane road, up and down hills and curves, through wooded valleys and then you arrive at The White Oak Inn tucked away in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country.The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

Some days I just want to disconnect, get away from it all, ‘lose’ my phone and be still. If you are looking for that kind of day, look no further than The White Oak Inn. We had the opportunity to host our Unique Lodging of Ohio (ULO) Council Meeting here and what a great visit it was! A special thank you to Yvonne & Ian Martin, the owners for such warm hospitality!The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

Our meeting of 7 fit perfectly in the quaint room off the main living area. The living room is so cozy with homemade cookies on the coffee table in front of a stone fireplace. The Main House is over 100 years old and offers seven beautifully appointed guest rooms with private baths. On the grounds, there is also the Guest House and two Log Cabins.

The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

 

The Guest House was formerly the chicken barn (Yes, a chicken barn. No, not what you are thinking!) that is split into three spacious rooms all with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings. The doors to these rooms have beautifully crafted door frames that add such a sweet touch.

Two Log Cabins sit adjacent to the Guest House and across from the Main House. These cottages act as a romantic hideaway for two complete with a wood-burning fireplace and a two-person whirlpool bath tubs. These cabins are just the right amount of seclusion to make the escape.

The White Oak Inn - Danville, OHOur lunch was delicious and the desserts… OH! The desserts. Our lunch was quite a spread of homemade curried zucchini soup (Must. Get. Recipe.), scones, croissants and an assortment of salads. The decadent desserts featured were turtle walnut brownies and shortbread. Both were delicious but I think my ultimate favorite was the shortbread.

I cannot wrap up this post without introducing you to Dougal. Dougal, the owner’s sweet black lab essentially serves as the one-dog welcoming committee. He loves to get a good back scratch, stay by your feet and is always there to lend a hand in case you may drop a crumb.

The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

I will certainly need to return to disconnect in a cozy cabin, sink into a hot bubble bath and eat my weight in shortbread. There is just something to be said about getting lost.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

The White Oak Inn - Danville, OH

 

V-Day Getaway

I <3 YOU, INNLOVERS! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I am here to help. Trying to surprise your significant other? Or just trying to get away with your buddies to completely avoid the holiday? Allow me to introduce you to a few of our excellent Unique Lodging of Ohio (ULO) properties that will surely make the holiday special.

GlenLauren - Hocking HillsGlenlaurel Inn (Logan, Ohio) – Do you want to take in the Scottish Highlands? Well, you are in luck and you do not have to jump on an 8-hour flight. Visit Glenlaurel located in the Hocking Hills region to be swept off your feet by charm and seclusion. This peaceful retreat sits on a 140-acre estate featuring hiking, Scottish Links Golf and a Spa. Their dining room is also exceptional with traditional Scottish flair to please the pickiest of critics.

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OHSebring Mansion Inn & Spa (Sebring, Ohio) – Built in 1900, Sebring Mansion, exhibits refined detail and craftsmanship that is hard to come by in the small town of Sebring. The architectural design and all building materials from brick to woodwork were purchased in Italy and directly shipped to Sebring. Can you imagine the timeline of construction in the 1900’s?

 

White Oak Inn - Danville, OhioWhite Oak Inn (Danville, Ohio) – From a cozy room inside main inn, a private guest or a luxury log cabin, White Oak Inn has something for you! Being nestled in Ohio’s Amish Country certainly has its perks with one being the enjoyment of handcrafted soaps, jellies and jams to farm-fresh produce and eggs. Savory and sweet dishes are prepared fresh and from scratch daily. I’d love to wake up to the smell of lemon pancakes, wouldn’t you?

Cedar Grove Lodging - Hocking HillsCedar Grove Lodging (Logan, Ohio) – Featuring six cabins and two lodges in the heart of Hocking Hills, this getaway will leave you wanting to throw your cell phone in the drawer and sink into the serenity and beauty of the region. Here you will enjoy amenities such as hot tubs, fire pits, gas grills and obviously breathtaking views of the scenic Hocking Valley! Go on… cozy up and enjoy!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Glenlaurel - Hocking Hills

Glenlaurel

Cedar Grove Lodging - Hocking Hills

Cedar Grove Lodging