Cabins offer respite for weary city folk

Energized by cups of Starbucks consumed during an hour’s drive from Columbus, we barge through the front door of a cabin in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio.

We spy a kitchen stocked with dinnerware and utensils, a cozy bed smothered in wooly blankets, fresh chocolate chip cookies on an antique table, and a sign above the kitchen sink that advises: “Welcome, relax, renew.”

What? No television, phone or Internet?

Technological withdrawal is our fate, or perhaps our luxury, inside the cozy cabin at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, where we can temporarily escape the noise of the city. We sit on a comfortable couch before the fireplace and watch 2-year-old Rosie dance to country music playing on a local radio station. We flip through photographs we’ve snapped months earlier and never taken the time to appreciate. We cuddle, talk and laugh.

Although disconnected, we feel reconnected.

Ohio’s inns allow families to rediscover what’s important in their lives. Whether it’s a cabin in the woods or a hilltop inn in a small town, opportunities abound for central Ohioans to find solitude a short drive from home.

Wedged into a steep hillside near Cedar Falls and Old Man’s Cave amid Hocking Hills State Park, the 22-year-old Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls combines rustic living with cutting-edge luxury. The 75-acre property includes a nine-room inn, five cabins and 12 cottages. Adjacent to the inn is a log house that includes a fine-dining restaurant attached to a newly-built conference center, tavern, gathering room and rooftop garden. Guests who need them can find Internet access and a big-screen TV here.

The Inn also includes a spa where therapists offer massages and an array of body treatments in a small building tucked away from the main road.

Innkeepers Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo have steadily added to the inn, which was the vision of Grinsfelder’s mother, who passed away in 1991. The inn owes much of its attraction to the friendliness of the innkeepers, who met and married shortly after the inn opened.

“The Hocking Hills area is very kid-friendly,” Grinsfelder says. “Having kids of our own, we know that the family component is really important.”

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