We love destinations that offer a mix of outdoor activities, history and, of course, creature comforts, and I'd say our recent visit to Ohio's Mohican State Park Lodge fit that description pretty perfectly.
The lodge and state park, tucked in Ashland County, in the north eastern quadrant of the state near towns like Loudonville and Mansfield, is in a river valley area offering plenty of farmland and forest in the way of scenery.
Surrounded by 6,000 acres of Mohican State Park, state forest land and Pleasant Hill Lake, visiting the lodge gives visitors the serene feeling of being far from the crowds and noise of the city and plenty of on-site amenities and nearby places to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
Built in 1974, details like rough-hewn timbers and fieldstone walls give the lodge its rustic feel while large windows throughout the building in its spacious rooms and common areas give visitors a glimpse of the lodge's beautiful grounds before they head back outdoors to check out year-round on-site and in-the-park activities like swimming in the outdoor pool, hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobile riding, tennis, canoeing, kayaking, shuffle boards, basketball courts or simply relaxing on the large patio overlooking the lake.
Lodge staffers light a pit fire on the patio during summer evenings, and visitors can enjoy s'mores, which seems to be one of the hallmark activities at the Ohio State Park Lodges (I had some when I visited the state's Maumee Bay State Lodge a few years ago!).
Other lodge amenities include an indoor pool, guest laundry facilities, a gift shop, game room and fitness center.
We visited with a group of online journalists and their families. The children in our group ranged from kindergarten age through mid-teens, and it was nice to see the lodge set up some special programs that included a pool party and a visit from the park naturalist that proved interesting to the both the kids and the adults in our party.
The Lodge also emphasizes their commitment to the facility's accessibility, and I spotted a few images on its Web site of visitors in wheelchairs enjoying the patio and traversing the hiking trails around the grounds.
We decided to check out the geocaching scene at Mohican as a way to explore the area upon our arrival at the lodge and to log another find for ourselves after a long lay-off from the sport.
I picked up a printed list of over a dozen geocaches in the Mohican State Forest area from the main desk in the lobby. The list proved to be helpful as we weren't always getting a sufficient signal away from the lodge (which had a good, strong WiFi signal) to log into the listings with our cell phones in the field.
We did log a nice micro cache find, so we knew we hadn't lost our treasure hunting skills!
The lodge has 96 recently renovated rooms with private balconies or patios overlooking the pool or a wooded view of the grounds.
Pet owners who want to bring their dog or cat with them to the lodge will find a limited number of pet-friendly rooms. Service animals, of course, are welcome per ADA regulations.
I've attended writing conferences at Ohio's Maumee Bay and Punderson State Park Lodges in the past, so I checked out a bit of Mohican's 5,000 square feet of meeting space. Mohican, like Ohio's other state lodges has a number of meeting rooms and more small and private areas or hallways suitable for small break-out sessions or after-session conversations.
I liked Mohican's main lobby, with its over-stuffed comfy leather chairs and a showcase of nature specimens common to the area.
We also enjoyed several meals in Bromfield's Dining Room at the lodge.
The restaurant, named for Pulitzer-prize winning author and naturalist Louis Bromfield who lived at nearby Malabar Farm, has a menu that reflects the author's world travels and stresses the use of local ingredients.
I'm not a big pork eater, but I found the description of Lombardy Gnocchi tempting and had the dish, which featured local Italian pork sausage, Genoa salami, gnocchi, creamy wild mushroom sauce and topped with cheese accompanied by a cup of cauliflower bisque.
And, of course the good folks at Mohican had Yuengling beer on draft on the menu!
Bring an especially hearty appetite to the restaurant at breakfast, where the servings are massive and enough that several of the kids in our party shared breakfasts between themselves. I ordered the Apple Cranberry Oatmeal with a side order of fruit one morning, thinking it might be a little smaller than choices like Tim's Appleseed Breakfast that included three eggs, two pancakes, hash browns and baked apples, but we both ended up with meals that provided more than enough food and fuel to last through an entire day of activity and exploration.
Check back here in coming weeks for more stories about our Mohican-area adventures.
Thanks to Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Mohican State Park Lodge, which provided lodging, meals and on-site activities for my review, with no further compensation. I was free to express my own opinion about my stay and experiences, and the opinions expressed here are mine.
© Dominique King 2015 All rights reserved