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Hike, Hike, Hot tub.

I just needed to get away.

You know that meme that pops up on social media that says “I just wanna rent a cabin with a hot tub for like for days in the mountains with wine and great views”? Well- I saw it, and what can I say? I booked it.

In Ohio we have hills, not mountains, but we have some great views and plenty of wine. And boy oh boy, I do love a good hot tub. Hocking Hills is a wonderful destination to unplug and immerse yourself into nature. There are a lot of great hikes to waterfalls in the State Park and plenty of woods to hide out in when you don’t want to “people” for a little while. We rented a great cabin (yes, with a hot tub) on Airbnb hosted by Hello Hocking Hills.

( It was tucked down a quiet road and then a long private driveway nestled in the woods. This cabin was exactly what I needed for a weekend away. In that area, there is a very weak cell signal so those work calls have to wait, like it or not…. I liked it.

The cabin was built for two people. It had a full kitchen for cooking anything you might want, plus a grill outside. A small, but very comfy sofa with a little electric fireplace under the tv. We were there in March and in Ohio that time of year is rainy and chilly, so that little fireplace sure made a difference to me. We had a solid but simple table with benches to eat our meals at. The only bedroom was in the loft upstairs, but as with most vacation rentals, a very comfy mattress that was hard to leave when you wake up to morning rain.

Do you want to know what the best part of the cabin was? The covered rear porch overlooking the woods with a hot tub on it. It was the perfect way to drink my coffee in the morning, and relax my muscles after the days of hiking or horse back riding. With the temps being only in the high 40's, the heat from the hot tub was soothing and I could sit in it for hours. It didn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it had jets and bubbles and that's all I need. I was a very happy girl. It was the perfect size for two to enjoy completely. There is nothing more relaxing than a hot soak and then crawling in to a comfy bed.

Hiking in 40 degree rainy weather was not even an idea in my mind when I booked the cabin. Typically, when the weather is cold and rainy, I stay inside wrapped in a blanket with a good book or Netflix series. But I had never been to Hocking Hills and I knew that there were many beautiful sights to see, so sitting in the cabin all weekend was not an option. Plus, my boyfriend is not a “sit around” kinda guy. In fact, he cannot sit still for very long at all, even on vacation. So, he let me have my slow, easy mornings then off we went to find an adventure each day we were there.

The night we arrived, it was later in the evening. Of course we were hungry when we arrived and found out that most of the restaurants closed by 8pm. So we stopped into the Shamrock Irish pub hoping to grab a quick bite and a drink. Drinks were easy and the food was decent. It hit the spot after a four hour drive. There was karaoke, so we enjoyed that for a few songs while googling a grocery store. Luckily the grocery store was open until 10, so we ran over there and stocked up on food and snacks for the cabin and then made our way back to it. Once groceries were put away, into the hot tub we went!

Throughout the weekend we hiked. And hiked, and hiked, and hiked some more. Ash Cave, Upper falls, Devil’s bathtub, Old Man’s Cave, and Whispering Cave. We tried to hike to Cedar Falls but we ended up on some other extremely long trail that led to a beautiful lake. We ended up hiking back to our car in the dark and I was so thirsty I drank stream water lol. To my surprise it tasted better than any bottled water I’ve ever had. I could totally be a pioneer. Well, that’s how I felt at that moment anyway. That thought passed after walking for another hour back to our car. Whatever trail we were on, was the longest one we had hiked so far and there wasn’t much to see. I give that trail 2 stars, whatever it was called. My favorite part of hiking in the State Park was that the trails were nearly empty. The 40 degree, rainy weather kept most people away so it felt like we had the trails and caves to ourselves! A waterproof coat and Muck boots made the hikes comfortable and the absence of others made them magical. Nature really is beautiful and rejuvenating. I could actually feel the stored stress melting away from my shoulders the longer we were on the trails. I think the waterfalls were a big part of that. Water has always helped me destress. I’m sure the endorphins from the exercise helped too.

Horseback riding was one thing I was dead set on doing during this little weekend trip. When I was little, we had a pony named Dixie that our grandpa bought for us grandkids. She was stabled at my Aunt and Uncle's house in South Amherst with my Aunt’s horse, Safira. I don’t remember much about them except that I loved them and riding Dixie was a fun experience. I must have been 5 years old or so. So, it’s been 40 years since I rode a horse and that’s just way too long for someone that loves animals. To my surprise, there was a place called Equestrian Ridge Farm only 10 minutes from our cabin. So we booked a time slot for a ride. The wind on the day of our ride was so strong, it threatened the possibility of even being able to go out, but our guide decided it would be ok after all. I wish I could remember the name of my sweet horse. I think his name was Dale, so that’s what I’m gonna call him. He was older and a little round in the belly. Turns out, all of the trail horses at Equestrian Ridge are rescues and I loved that. Our guide told me that Dale is a very cautious horse and he will protect himself at all costs, so he can be a little timid if he feels the ground underfoot to be a little unstable. Which actually set me at ease, because I was a little nervous myself. My boyfriend’s horse was named Charlie. Charlie was younger and stubborn and you had to be fairly stern with him. They were a perfect match, my boyfriend is stubborn too. They got along just fine. The wind was strong, but it didn’t make the trail ride any less enjoyable. Our guide led us down the path and managed to sneak up on a coyote that was bedded down in some tall grass. I believe it didn’t smell or hear us because of the wind gusts. So her horse stepped and the coyote jumped up and then her horse leaped sideways! All four of her horses' hooves left the ground! I almost peed my pants. The coyote took off running in the opposite direction but I was afraid Dale would panic, but he just stood very still- thank God. I think Dale and I both had silent panic attacks for a minute. The rest of the ride was calm and peaceful. Most trails around the farm, fairly smooth terrain. After the ride, I gave Dale a treat and some pets on his snout and thanked him for being such a good boy and having such good manners. I wish I knew more about horses. They truly are amazing and beautiful animals.

I promised one of my clients that I would pick up a couple bottles of Hocking Hills Moonshine for him, since I was in the area. By the time we arrived, the heavy wind had knocked power out in the area (throughout a lot of the state we later found out). So we had to find a working ATM to get some cash out to be able to purchase anything we’d need that day, just in case. Hocking Hills Moonshine stayed open and even gave tours of the distillery and you could sample the different flavors, so that’s what we did while we were there. If you wanted to purchase, you had to pay cash. I was all hiked out by then, so hanging out in town was a nice change. Of course, many of the shops closed because of the power outage, so it was a little window shopping and driving to the next town to see what was there.

The power outage lasted all day and all night. The restaurants were closed so we had to drive to a grocery store and find something to eat for dinner. Turned out to be a giant salad because even our stove was electric. We had a grill and firepit, but the lighter dinner fare was perfectly fine for both of us. There were no street lights and we were tucked into the woods so it was pretty dark in and around the cabin. Luckily we thought to grab a couple of candles from the grocery store that must have had a generator, because they still managed to have power. That night we had dinner by candlelight and then soaked in our silent hot tub that was still warm thanks to the insulated cover. We had no bubbles and eventually the water temperature cooled, but it was warm and relaxing for a little while.

My plan was to relax in the hot tub, drink wine (which we did at a local winery) and relax. Instead, we relaxed in the hot tub, hiked our butts off, sampled moonshine (yuck), had an unexpected candlelight dinner, rode a horse, and rejuvenated our bodies and minds in a short but very peaceful weekend only 4 hours away from home. Hocking Hills is a place I will definitely go back to time and again. I’m sure there is so much more to explore and I think Dale misses me. I would love to see what other cabins have to offer, and plan ahead to try out more local restaurants as well. I thought the hiking would tire me out, but really it had the opposite effect. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed like you just need a break. I highly recommend Hocking Hills as a place to retreat and relax. Take a little “me time”, submerge yourself in nature and really take time to breathe and walk and soak. It’s so worth it.

Until next time, may you be surrounded by love and comfort.

  • Lis


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