After the holidays, the winter can feel downright depressing. All of the festive decorations get packed away. The Christmas tree goes to the curb. The holiday trains and events are over. School starts again.
As I began looking at our blank, new calendar for January, I decided that what we really needed was a family getaway. A few days to relax, recharge and spend some quality time together.
I couldn’t think of a better place to do this than Hocking Hills.
My family used to go to Hocking Hills for vacations, and I remembered how lovely and serene it was. After all the holiday hustle and bustle, a cabin in the woods sounded like the perfect family retreat. After searching around, I discovered The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, and knew it was just what I was looking for.
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
When you think of staying in a cabin in the woods, you probably envision… rustic accommodations, at best. And while the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is surrounded by Hocking Hills State Park, this destination is like something out of a movie — gorgeous, charming and comfortable. Mammoth rock formations, caves and waterfalls surround log cabins, bed and breakfast rooms and charming cottages. There’s an award-winning restaurant run by an accomplished chef that serves up locally grown cuisine, and a spa that offers a full range of services to help you unwind and disconnect.
While The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is generally booked by honeymooners, couples and women craving a girlfriend getaway, it’s also incredibly family friendly.
Here’s why you should consider The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls for your next family vacation:
There are five cabins at this resort; most accommodate kids, one allows dogs and one is handicap accessible. The cabins are great for families because they contain all the comforts of home: equipped kitchens, full bathrooms, a generous family room and separate bedrooms. The cabins are also located in their own area of the grounds — so it’s nice and quiet (a major plus if you have little nappers/loud kids!).
We stayed in the Hickory Hollow Cabin, which has two separate bedrooms on the second floor. One bedroom contains a queen-sized bed, while the second bedroom has a handmade log bunk bed with a twin on top, a full bed on the bottom and a full trundle bed (so, you could easily fit 3-4 smaller kids). We put Mary on the top bunk, Julian on the bottom bunk — and Harvey in a portable crib in our room. It worked out really well!
Downstairs, a sunken living room opens out to a large, covered porch overlooking a wooded ravine. Because of how the cabins are set up (built out of the hillside and into the woods, with porches on tall stilts), you really feel like you’re in the woods. The winter landscape was stunning, and a recent sprinkle of snow made it look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
With small kids, having a kitchen is a must — and it was nice to be able to easily make the kids’ meals. The kitchen in our cabin was surprisingly spacious, and had everything we needed to make food prep a breeze!
However, we were eager to try out the Inn’s famed restaurant, Kindred Spirits, so we hiked over for breakfast (which was included in our stay). Our family is a mix of vegetarian/vegan (with one milk allergy), and yet, there were lots of kid-friendly options to accommodate us: thick slices of whole wheat toast with fresh blackberry preserves, still-warm-from-the-oven blueberry and orange-cranberry muffins (the latter of which was dairy free), juicy, fresh fruit, mouthwatering granola, orange and apple juice — and really strong coffee!
There is a great kids’ menu for lunch and dinner as well, with beloved classics like PB&J and Grilled Cheese. They also serve Jeni’s ice cream, making this restaurant officially the best.
Moms Can Have a Little “Me” Time
We’ve all been on a vacation where we returned, tired, stressed and grumbling that “we needed a vacation from our vacation.” Well, what if you could carve out some “me” time on your next vacation?
I put my husband on kid duty one morning, and treated myself to a little R&R. I was advised to book my services ahead of time — and it took me days to decide on what I wanted. Everything sounded incredible — between the warm bamboo massage, the satin scrub, mud wrap and ion foot treatment, I didn’t know what to pick! I decided on the hot stone massage, as it felt a lot more decadent than the typical 30-minute massages I get, like, twice a year.
The Spa is a small, unassuming building nestled amongst the cabins; in fact, it was just a five-minute walk from where we were staying. Like our cabin, it’s built into the woods — which makes for a totally magical experience. From the tall windows in my second-story massage room, I had gorgeous views of nothing but trees. It was one of the most rejuvenating hours I’ve had in a long time!
It’s in Hocking Hills
Kids nowadays don’t spend enough time outside. In nature. Doing “nothing.” My kids love the outdoors. We took several walks on the grounds and let the kids run wild and explore. Because we went in the off-off season (the winter), we had lots of space to explore and make noise and have fun!
Because Hocking is known for its hiking trails, we asked our breakfast server for her favorite trail. She recommended Ash Cave, a five-minute drive from our cabin. She said its trails were very kid friendly — and she was right!
Ash Cave is actually one of the only handicap-accessible parks in the area, and its wide, paved trails were great for little legs. Ash Cave is the largest, most impressive recessed cave in Ohio. We hiked around the park, getting a up-close view inside the cave, waterfall and sandy, “ash” pile believed to be from Native American campfires built up over hundreds of years. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and so fun to hike as a family. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip, and a memory I’ll cherish.
In addition to the aforementioned reasons, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls had such a homey, comfortable atmosphere. There were kid-friendly games in our cabin, as well as in The Gathering Place, the Inn’s communal “gathering spot.” The Gathering Place offered free coffee and cookies in the afternoon — and my husband and I took full advantage of this!
Every single staff member we encountered was extremely nice, smiling and happy to help us. We felt very welcome there — which is big in my book. As a mom to three small (and often loud, energetic and, well, loud) kids, I don’t always feel welcome at some of the places I go. We were embraced with open arms here — welcomed to our cabin with fresh-baked cookies, in fact.
With the ride clocking in at just 2.5 hours, Hocking Hills a very feasible weekend trip with your kids. Not too long, yet just long enough that you feel like you’re really “getting away.” As we were driving home, I looked in the rear view mirror and was filled with an overwhelming rush of love for my little family — so, I’d say it was a very successful getaway, indeed.
(And, by the way, Julian has already asked to go back to Ash Cave to explore, so our trip has definitely left a lasting impression on him, too!)
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is located at 21190 State Route 374, Logan, OH 43138. Call (740) 385-7489 to speak to someone about booking a getaway!