As you may recall, I went to school in Cincinnati. I’m from Orrville, about an hour south of Cleveland. What does that mean? Since 2006, I have spent way too much time on I-71. I hate it. It’s actually like a form of torture for me. And of course, since I travel for work and need to be in the three Cs quite often – 71 is still part of my life. But every now and then, when I have a little extra time and I’m heading home. I take the path less traveled; the scenic route; the unbeaten path – State Route 3. Not 3 in it’s entirety, that wouldn’t be very efficient. But the stretch between Sunbury and Wooster is a true life saver.
About halfway into my trip home, I come through the town of Mt. Vernon. It’s a cute little college town that many Ohioans probably haven’t explored. “Way back when” there was a grand hotel that sat on the town square – The Curtis Hotel. It prominently stood on the outside of the traffic circle, welcoming visitors since 1876. The original 3 story, 73 room hotel caught on fire in the mid 1940s. Despite the fire, the hotel continued to operate until the 70s when it was replaced with a “motor inn.” The motor inn wasn’t all too popular and finally in 2014, the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel was constructed in its place. The Grand is modeled after the original Curtis Hotel, but with 5 floors and 46 sleeping rooms. Much more modern than the original, The Grand boasts a fitness room, breakfast and patio space, meeting space and my favorite, a beautiful library overlooking the square.
When you enter The Grand, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but only for a split second. The modern finishes and amenities are apparent right away. Just to your right, is the library. I’m not sure if
that’s what they call it, but to me, it’s a picture book version of one. With gorgeous pieces of furniture, trinkets, rich wallpaper and books, this quaint little seating area is perfect any time of year. The view of the square is a nice backdrop for an afternoon of reading. Another small sitting room, equally as perfect, sits next door. Now, where is the high tea service?!
The original concept of the Curtis is not lost on the new construction. Keeping the hotel small and intimate, each room feels like it was individually decorated. One of my favorite rooms is a suite and sits on the corner of the building (maximum natural light with all of those windows!!). Little bits of the lobby find their way into the sitting area with a small writing desk and a sofa meant for a movie set.
Guests can enjoy breakfast downstairs in the breakfast room (or on the porch – my choice!).
Not sure why you’d visit Mt.Vernon? I’m told Mt. Vernon’s First Friday festivities May – October are not one to miss, with live music, food and shopping. Personally, I’ve bought a number of wedding gifts at the little shops off of Mt. Vernon Square! There is also the Mt. Vernon Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings 9am-12pm. But most importantly, there are good places to eat. I recently tried the newly renovated (interior and menu) The Alcove. (Pro Tip: Word on the street is that Columbus’ own Cameron Mitchell might have lent a hand on this one. Either way, TOTALLY WORTH THE VISIT.) My sister just this week visited Parkside Restaurant & Tavern and claims she had “one of the best burgers” she’s had “in a while.” And when my sister throws around that kind of claim, it’s legit. She is a burger snob. And of course, if the season is right, or you just need something sweet. You can’t miss one of my *best kept secrets in Ohio* stops – The Dairy. Don’t be confused. There is a much nicer looking ice cream place next door. Don’t let the looks fool you! You are only in the right place when you think you’ve pulled into a gravel lot that goes nowhere except to a rundown building with brightly colored tables. That’s the one. You will not be disappointed.
Good food. Great ice cream. Beautiful hotel.
When do we book?
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck