Monday, August 24, 2015

Road Trip: The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls - Hocking Hills, OH

Recently I was invited to stay at the Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills thanks to the wonderful proprietor Ellen Grinsfelder. Hocking Hills is a couple hours away from Cincinnati and I had gone previously just a couple of months before. But this was more of an all-in getaway and I was really excited! 

Ellen's mother built the Inn at Cedar Falls and it's hard to believe but it was the FIRST of all the rental properties in the area! The cute story can best be told by Ellen who you will definitely see when you stay at the Inn. Her future husband was the original contractor that was hired by her mother to build out the property. 

It has grown from a small inn to a veritable village with cabins, cottages, a restaurant, gift shop and even a spa. 

Nearest to the restaurant is the actual Inn. This was the original property and has 8 rooms (I think). These rooms have a bathroom, onsuite mini fridge and bedroom. The rooms are a very nice size and very peaceful. Just a few steps away is a pretty garden and firepit.  

Next for our tour were the cabins. There are 5 cabins on property - these have a full kitchen as well as sleep more than 2. We toured the Dogwood Cabin and it was pretty cool - there's even a Murphy Bed (bed in the wall). All of the cabins have really great patios overlooking the woods. (Some of the cabins and cottages are even pet-friendly.)

Lastly we got to see our room - we stayed in one of the 12 cottages. These have a great deck, mini-fridge, whirlpool tub in the room, sitting area and a huge and awesomely comfortable King-sized bed! They have these special sheets that they actually sell in their gift shop because they are so popular - and then throw an amazing down comforter on top of that - it was amazing.

There's no tv and pretty much non-existant cell coverage - so when you're there - you're there. It's a great escape from reality. If you need to get away from everything and just BREATHE - this is THE PLACE TO DO IT.

It's amazing how fresh the air is in the country. We were literally driving around and stopped at a county road and had the windows down - and there was the sound of NOTHING. My friend and I were just amazed at the peace. What's crazy is you get so used to the noise that when it's quiet - your ears actually ring. Ugh! You need this - trust me.

We also got to take a cooking class with Chef Anthony! We were going to be prepping some of the dinner items for the evening table service. Our plans (which I have recipes to share!) were to make Spent Beer Grain Pizza, Grappa Semifreddo and Gazpacho!

Larry couldn't join me because of work - so I brought my friend Danielle with me. We've been friends for over 10 years and needed a girls weekend! 

First up was the Spent Beer Grain Pizza crust - the Spent Grain comes from the beer that Chef Anthony makes in his spare time.
While the dough was rising - we got started on the Grappa Semifreddo - which is basically a custard with booze in it. Grappa is a high-potency liquor made from all the crap leftover after you make wine (stems, skins, etc).

That's me whisking away at the Semifreddo - semi-freddo means semi-frozen. So it's a custard that is frozen but not all the way. You'll get to see the finished product in another post when I talk about the great food at the Inn at Cedar Falls.

Me and a couple other girls got our knife skills on chopping tomatoes for the Gazpacho as well. Our arms were TIRED!

Near the restaurant and inn is the garden. There are benches and lots of little spots for sitting and relaxing.

The restaurant has live music and afterwards people are always heading up to the fire pit for more drinks and fun. The grounds at the Inn at Cedar Falls are just full of peace. I love it.

(The caption here should be how many bloggers does it take to light a fire. Apparently 10.)

We decided to grab a quick hike at Cedar Falls. The hikes aren't too strenuous (I'm a fluffy girl - but managed them without too much stress.).  Some hikes are even wheelchair accessible.

You'll see some beautiful things while you're walking around on your way to the falls. There are 5 caves/falls that you can explore. The thing I liked best is that all of the natural wonders are FREE. It's not very commercialized - so if you're on a budget - Hocking Hills is a great option.

Then you'll get to the falls and find more people - kids frolicking - and lots of photo opportunities. Like this one:

The owner of the Inn - Ellen - even took some of the folks on an early morning hike the next day. I was enjoying a day where I could sleep in so I didn't partake - but everyone that did really enjoyed it. She's a great guide.

 Once back on the property - we were heading to the "Spa" portion of the Inn and Spa when we found this little peaceful spot! Hammocks hanging in the trees. Danielle escaped there later as did many of the other folks in our group.

But we - were going to the SPA!!!

Yes - they have a full spa on site - with massages, facials and more. The Inn provided us each a service of our choice so we went with facials. I had never had one - so we thought it would be fun. And far be it from me to miss out on a chance for a selfie.

Or two selfies. I really enjoyed the girl that did my facial and neck massage. She had some strong hands and I can tell you - my skin was glowing! It was never more smooth in my life! I kept rubbing my face for days!

By the end of the evening - we were all together - bonding at the fire pit and enjoying the colorful sunset. Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening. #amiright

The Inn at Cedar Falls is also great for business retreats - they have a conference room and lots of areas for group bonding.

Here's the lot of us - coming from Pittsburgh, Columbus and Cincinnati to bond and enjoy The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. I'll have another post to come about the food (yum and yum) as well as my adventure with a zipline. #helpmebabyjesus

Thanks again to Ellen for her wonderful generosity! I can't wait to come back with Larry for a peaceful weekend very soon. (That's her in the white shirt and blue pants in the front row.)

I would highly recommend this getaway to all of my friends and family. If you're young and looking for adventure - there's a zipline and segway course nearby. If you're a professional that needs some peace and quiet - you can nap on the hammock and enjoy the peace. It's great for couples, singles - you name it.
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