I’m seldom surprised when traveling, having seen my share of hotel rooms ranging from unusual to uber luxurious. Yet last fall, my first visit to the Hocking Hills region of Ohio did just that. Stunning scenery, spectacular leaf-peeping, and a full slate of experiences from zip lining to wine tasting, Ohio’s Hocking Hills also features one-of-a-kind and quirky lodging options. Affordable and offbeat, your Ohio hotel stay can include sleeping in an antique train caboose, old school house, general store, yurts, cabins, and more.
Travelers can “Sleep in History” — literally — thanks to the creative preservationists at Historic Host Vacation Rentals. Among this unusual lodging company’s offerings are a restored general store/post office (where I overnighted last fall), with its original scale, shelving and other vintage touches. The old Dunkle Schoolhouse, a 1926 B&O train caboose and an Ohio early farmhouse are also available for overnight accommodations. Historic Host’s Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum, two historic B&Bs and several charming little cottages, cabins and a caboose in its Fiddlestix Village round out the offerings. Each is lovingly restored so guests enjoy a comfortable yet authentic overnight stay that carefully preserves the rich history of not just the shelter, but the Hocking Hills region itself.
At Boulders Edge Cabin and Tipi Retreat allows visitors to experience the magic and tranquility of camping in traditional Sioux Native American tipis, reminiscent of “Dances with Wolves.” Each tipi sleeps 10 comfortably, sits on a wooden deck and has a wood-burning stove inside. Guests provide their own sleeping gear cot or mattress, sleeping bag and chairs. But picnic tables, fire rings and a solar shower are provided.
It’s “All Aboard!” for guests Lazy Lane Cabins’ Caboose at Steep Woods, an antique train caboose hidden in the woods. A huge hit with kids, railroad buffs and anyone seeking an unusual escape, the caboose has been transformed into a fully equipped cabin that sleeps five and features kitchenette, full bath and a cozy fire pit just outside the door.
A Mongolian yurt offers yet another option for visitors seeking to sleep in the unusual. Salt Creek Retreats’ cabins and yurt sits on 60 secluded acres near miles of private trails, a fishing pond, scenic overlook and a river for swimming. Dog friendly and fully stocked with dishes, utensils, pillows, chairs, heater and a grill, the yurt sleeps up to six.
As if nearby Ravenwood Castle’s Medieval Village, castle rooms and Fairytale Village Cottages are not enough, for just $59 (yeah, way affordable, right?), visitors can tuck into a cozy reproduction British Romani Gypsy Wagon, equipped with double-decker beds, kitchenette and a bath house down the wooded path.
A traditional Scottish hamlet, complete with Old World-style crofts and cottages, is part of the charm of The Glenlaurel Scottish Inn, which transports guests back to Medieval Europe, yet retains today’s modern conveniences. Glenlaurel’s fine dining and authentic Scottish Links Golf help visitors truly immerse themselves in a historical Scottish experience.
Sometimes you just need a little luxury amidst the woods and your own space. Say hello to Inn at Cedar Falls. In Hotel-Scoop review by writer Jamie Rhein, she says, “Inn at Cedar Falls’ owners, wife and husband team Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo, are known for hosting a great time and building community with splendid food and drink that makes for a perfect weekend stay. The beer and wine fest, featuring libations from several local breweries and offerings of area wine distributors, happens a couple times a year and is just one example of how Ellen and Terry are champions of what Hocking Hills has to offer.” I was able to dine at Inn and Cedar Falls, hosted by the owners, and I have to agree: a stay at this Hocking Hills Inn will be full of experiences.
Located just 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, you can literally getaway from it all in Hocking Hills. For as little as $50 a night, you can explore the Hocking Hills region, and still have a jingle in our wallet to experience all this region has to offer.
Accommodations at Fiddlestix, courtesy of Hocking Hills, Ohio; opinions expressed are my own.
Photos courtesy of Diana Rowe, Boulders Edge Cabin & Tipi Retreat, Lazy Lane Cabins’ Caboose at Steep Woods, Ravenwood Castle’s Medieval Village, The Glenlaurel Scottish Inn, and Jamie Rhein.