Summers for my family have always been spent in places where there is plenty of water: the beach, swimming pools, and water parks. Where it seemed to me that I had to, almost literally, drag my kids and husband away from the water each and every time I wanted to see the sights. So it was a bit of a shock to me when my husband announced that for our next adventure, he will be in charge of everything. I only had to sit back and relax and wait for him to lead me where to go.
Imagine my surprise when he announced that we will be going to Hocking Hills, Ohio and that he booked us on a stay at Ravenwood Castle, a unique medieval-themed country inn. And it was only at that moment I discovered that my husband is a medieval buff! He raved on and on about this unique find of his that I can’t help but get excited as well. The prospect of staying in a genuine castle is definitely and absolutely breathtaking!
Ravenwood Castle, Hocking Hills Ohio
Ravenwood Castle was built in 1995 and its design is inspired by castles in England and Wales in the 12th and 13th centuries. Aside from the castle with its medieval-inspired rooms, cottages around the property are also ready to take in guests. It is surrounded by a few state and national forests that promise amazing views and hiking. Its beautiful but remote location is a bit technologically challenged that, to my sons, at least, might be a damper on their adventure. My husband shushed them about this and promised them a vacation fit for a king!
We stayed at the King Arthur Suite and I must say, it gave my 3 knights all the medieval feels they were craving for. It occupies one whole tower with 2 rooms, custom-built king-sized bed, sofa, and a mural depicting scenes from the legend of King Arthur. An outdoor balcony overlooking the formal garden complements the medieval ambiance. The sitting area has a game table, a sleeper sofa, and best of all, Excalibur, King Arthur’s legendary sword! What a treat!
My husband signed up my kids up for Murder Mystery Weekend. It is an event not like any other murder mysteries out there. Of course, there is always the staple in all murder mysteries: searching for clues, solving puzzles, avoiding killers and monsters, and all that you need to do to solve the mystery plaguing the castle. What makes it totally out of this world is that it takes place in one whole weekend!
Together with the Ravenwood Detective Agency, it started at dinner Friday night. Throughput the weekend you gather evidence, find facts, seek clues, and a whole lot of other fun activities running up onto the finale until breakfast on Sunday morning. So fun!
Beer Tasting Weekend
My husband and I, on the other hand, enjoyed a totally different experience, which he didn’t tell me about until the last minute. We joined Ravenwood’s Beer Tasting Weekend! Again, just like their Murder Mysteries, Ravenwood allots one whole weekend for beer tasting. This one featured 2 outstanding breweries, Sierra Nevada Brewery out of California and Southern Tier Brewery out of Lakewood, New York. Accompanying Sierra Nevada’s beer repertoire are flatbreads with pesto and cheese, tomato pepper cucumber and red onion salad with red wine vinaigrette. In addition, penne with smoked chicken and Alfredo sauce and chocolate and caramel brownies.
Accompanying Southern Tier’s line are smoked chicken wings with buffalo sauce, toasted almonds cranberries and goat cheese romaine salad with raspberry vinaigrette, braised short ribs with mashed redskins, and warm apple crisp with fresh whipped cream. Everything was delicious!
Taking advantage of the season, we visited a few sites Hocking Hills is famous for. Nearest to Ravenwood Castle was the Equestrian Ridge Farm, where we spent a lovely time horseback-riding. Even though all of us were beginners, everyone was so kind and accommodating. We enjoyed every minute of it.
A must-stop for me was Christmas Treasures and Hocking Hills Candle Works. All I was able to say when I entered those shops was “wow!” Everything you could ever imagine was there. Angels, Santa Clauses, nativity sets, Blenko glass, tapers, votives, and so much more. My husband had to take my wallet away, or I would have spent every penny I had.
Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
Hocking Hills State Park is home to 7 different hiking areas: Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, Conkle’s Hollow, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, and Hemlock Bridge. Touted as the region’s most impressive waterfalls, Cedar Falls was our first destination. It was fairly easy hiking and the waterfall was worth all the walking. It was magnificent and breath-taking!
From Cedar Falls, one route led us to Ash Cave, an enormous cave with a horseshoe-shaped rim. It spans 700 feet and features a runoff waterfall, and is the largest recess cave east of the Mississippi. It is certainly awe-inspiring!
As the most popular of all the Hocking areas, we’ve decided that Old Man’s Cave would be our last stop. This magnificent gorge cuts through the entire 150-foot thickness of the Blackhand sandstone formation. It allows visitors a glimpse of the earth’s subsurface. The view was simply astonishing!
Finally, we round out our visit to Hocking Hills with a spa treatment and massage (surely a treat after all those hiking). I was sure glad I let my husband take the reins for once. Hocking Hills, Ohio is a treat that will go down in our vacation history as one of the finest I have ever had in my life.