We Had An Enjoyable Stay At Sawmill Creek Resort
Dave and I were invited to visit Put-in-Bay Island and stay at the Sawmill Creek Resort, for a review. The resort was about 1/2 hour away from Catawba, where we got off the ferry. It’s situated on Lake Erie, although you can’t see Lake Erie from the room we were staying in. a
As we drove into this golf resort, Dave realized he had stayed here several years ago, when he was on a company outing. My Dad also recalls staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort. My Dad recalls wonderful meals, great golf and a very nice resort. Dave went on a fishing expedition when he stayed, and was pleased when he realized it was the same place he had stayed before.
The decor is very outdoor, western comfortable feel. I love this atmosphere, and I know Dave would much rather have this style of decorating rather than “hotsy-totsy” fancy.
We went to our room and it was an instant.. “Oh, this is NICE!”. You know, that initial impression you get when you first open the door to a new hotel. Nice, light colors, very clean and inviting. I loved the fireplace we had in the room, and the couch that you could sit on to relax. The king size bed had the most comfortable pillows! I will say that the mattress itself was ok. There was some kind of harder ridging on the edge of it, that kind of hurt the back of my legs when I first got in. Dave thought that maybe it was some kind of handles to move the mattress?? But once you were in, it was pretty comfortable. I would have loved a balcony to sit out on. I felt like the room should have one. But we did have a nice big window to look out of.
We went back to the front desk and were given a ride on a golf cart to see the beach area and go to the restaurant. It was a nice little ride down to this area. I’m not sure if you have to always ask for a ride, or if you are able to take your own golf cart.. but it would be a bit of a walk without one. Cars can’t fit on the path.
They have recently laid sod, and will soon be able to host weddings here. What a beautiful setting!
The beach is just beyond this grassy area. It was kind of a wet, cool, rainy afternoon when we were there, so no one was on the beach – but it looks like it would really be nice. I love that it’s secluded. To have your own beach front is always nice.
The manager then dropped us off at one of the restaurants at the resort, Mariner’s at the Mariner’s Village Marina. It was a fine dining restaurant and it was nice to have the owner there to greet us. We chose to eat out on the screened in porch, overlooking the marina. They have plastic chairs and tables out there, but still have them dressed up to look very nice.
I took up the waitress’s suggestion for a mint patty drink (and it was ok, but I should have just stuck with a glass of wine). They brought out some bread that I thought Dave was going to die over! I think I had two small pieces and he finished the rest of this. Butter galore, but it had a bit of a crisp edge to it. I’m not sure how it was prepared, but it was great.
I love Calamari, but so often it’s a little rubbery or tough, so I’m always a little apprehensive when I order it. We did get it.. and I have to say – to this date, this is the BEST calamari that I have ever had. OMG… I didn’t know it could be this tender. I think Dave had just a couple and I ate most all of this. I had it with the pesto sauce. Just writing about this, I have a craving for it again!
Dave ordered the Seared Duck that was one of their specials, from the advice of the owner. He loved it. I had a bite of it too, and it was really good. I’ve not had that much duck to compare it to, but I know it was good.
I had the Lake Erie Perch for my meal. It was good, I don’t know that it stood out from other perch I’ve eaten, but I enjoyed it. We walked back to our place. We weren’t real sure how to go, but took a path that lead through the golf course and made our way back.
I would recommend staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort, without hesitation.. but you know what I’m also going to suggest too.. right? If you go, you have to eat at the Mariner’s Restaurant and order Calamari!
Our stay at the hotel was taken care of, but we paid for our own meal at The Mariner’s Restaurant. The thoughts, opinions and pictures are all my own.
You can find more information on the Sawmill Creek Resort Facebook page.
Put-In-Bay, Ohio is an island in Lake Erie
It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and have never been to Put-in-Bay. I’ve heard about it forever, but I never really had the opportunity to go or big desire. I had this offer to do a review of the island, and was told I could bring my family. I’ve always heard that Put-in-Bay was a “party” island, so I immediately said that I didn’t want the kids to come. But I was curious myself. Dave and I set off for the island on a Saturday morning.
It took us just under three hours to get there from the Columbus area. We met up with Ryan, who owns Green Door Mediaworks at the Miller Boat Line to catch the ferry over to Put-in-Bay. The day seemed a little questionable weather -wise.. but we lucked out. A few threats of rain, but everything bypassed us.
Ryan was an awesome tour guide on our way to the island. He was pointing out all the little islands and explaining where things were, etc. He really knows the island and history.
With Miller’s Ferry you are able to take your car over to the island if you’d like to, but it isn’t nearly as much fun. We went up to the top to sit, where there were plenty of seats to enjoy the ride over.
To me… part of the charm and the “feel” of the island was using the golf carts. It was so fun to just tool around in them. Of course, we could have gotten bikes (but thank goodness Ryan planned for us to get the carts and not bikes! I would have been dying with bikes!) instead of golf carts, but you can cover a lot more of the island in an afternoon with a cart.
We all went to lunch at a cute place called Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern. There was a darling outdoor patio, and a few tables with umbrellas that were outside of that. Although I didn’t try and soup or whisky, I really enjoyed it. I did try two new things, walleye fries and a perch taco. The Walleye Fries were just pieces of Walleye that were cut in long narrow strips and deep fried, with some dipping sauce. Yum! I have heard my friends talk about fish taco’s for years, but have never tried one. I decided to go for it. These were fried perch taco’s. Oh… so good! I had one, but wish I had ordered two. I will for sure get these again when I come back to visit the island the next time.
After lunch, Dave and I took off on our own and explored the island. It would have been fun to have been able to have eaten a few more meals on the island. There were several places I would have loved to have tried.
I think The Keys, sitting out on the water looks so fun! I love the way it looks, with the bright beachy colors. One thing I love to do when I go to a beach, or lake, or somewhere with water; is to sit and drink a nice glass of wine. Yes.. next visit for sure.
The Board Walk also has that water view and feel. It looks like a little finer dining. Maybe The Keys for lunch and then the Board Walk for dinner?
I love the outdoor seating at Hooligans Irish Pub, it just looked very comfortable. It’s not over looking the water, but it is right in the center of town where you can see all the activity.
It was pirates weekend when we were there. There were cannon’s going off, a pirates market/craft show in the middle of the square and men,woman,kids and animals all dressed up as pirates.
The square and feel of the island town was charming. I loved it. Everything was clean and well taken care of. I had always envisioned this row of old bars, when I thought of Put-in-Bay. Not that I’d ever been here to see… but my entire thought of the island is different now. There were plenty of places for people to drink, and there were plenty of people eating and drinking in them – but the atmosphere was fresh, clean and very island feeling. You tend to forget you are in Ohio.
There are some sights to see on the island and things to do. We went to visit the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and did a few activities there.
We went to visit the Butterfly House. There was a really nice gift shop inside and the actual butterflies are in a greenhouse style structure in the back.
Going into the butterfly house, someone came up to us and gave us some information about the butterfly house. That was really nice. They were there to answer any questions, and to let you know how to be careful with the butterflies, so as not to harm them.
We then went on the Perrys Cave tour. I have to explain that I’ve been in several caves and really enjoy going on cave tours, before I give my honest opinion on this cave tour. This was a 20 minute tour. We walked down a flight of steps to go down into the cave. You have to bend down part of the way, going down the step and small steps to a depth of only about 50 feet below ground. This was a wet cave. Puddles of water to walk around, and water dripping off the ceiling. I know some caves can be wet, and others aren’t. Our guide did a great job of explaining things in the cave. I can not however recommend this cave tour. Maybe if you’ve never been in a cave, you’d find it worth the cost. A good explanation for me would be, too much talk and not enough cave. I felt like they tried to drag out the tour to make it at least 20 minutes. You walk, only about 150 feet into the cave and stop every few feet for a 5 minute talk. I heard a couple people saying, “Is this it?” and one little boy said, “Where is the rest of the cave, where does that go?”. I felt very disappointed. Had Dave and I had to pay the $8 each to go into the cave (rather than it being part of my review), I would have really been disappointed.
There was a really nice putt-putt course. We always love a good game of putt-putt!
Driving around the island and seeing the sites, stopping for some ice cream and just wandering around was so relaxing. I really wish we could have stayed a few days.
I can certainly recommend Put-in-Bay to anyone! If you love a beautiful, active and fun island, then you’ll love it here. I feel like we made a mistake in not bringing the kids with us. I would have no problem bringing them here. I might not plan to have them in town on a weekend night, as I’m sure things liven up quite a bit – hence the party atmosphere. But it’s not something you wouldn’t see in Florida or any other vacation zone that has bars and water. I think they would have loved it here.
I’ll be sure to come back, but I want to plan on spending a little more time here… and of course – I’ll be sure to get a golf cart to get around!
You can follow these handles to find out a bit more about the island.
Our ferry rides, golf cart, lunch, Perry’s Cave, Butterfly House, Putt-Putt and our night stay (review to come soon) were all paid for. My photos, thoughts and opinions are all my own.
Need something new to do with the kids this summer? Check out the Columbus Commons!
by Amy Trauntvein
Summer is here and the kids are out of school. The pool is fun and so is the park, but can’t think of anything NEW to do with the kids this summer that won’t cost a fortune? Check out the Columbus Commons! I have to admit, I didn’t even know this place existed before last weekend, but I’m totally happy that I know all about it now, for some fun in the sun with my kiddos! Our family received an invitation to come check out the Columbus Commons and discover everything they have to offer this summer and beyond. As you can see, my youngest loved the Carousel.
And the Reading Room…
And the Art Box…
My older kids and hubby liked the Ping Pong table and Corn Hole games…
And they ALL had a great time with the huge building blocks at the Imagination Playground!
And the best thing about all these activities? Most of them are FREE! (Carousel Rides are $1) The Columbus Commons is open every day (hours vary) with all these family friendly, fun things for you and your kids of any age. Check out the details of their Free Open Play Activities.
If you’re interested in even more fun stuff at the Columbus Commons, here is their full (printable) 2013 Family Friendly Programming Schedule which includes activities such as Commons for Kids every Friday from 10-2, Movies at the Commons in June and July, Mayor Coleman’s Neighborhood Pride Block Party in August, and Family Fun Day also in August to name just a few. And don’t forget, many of these are FREE! Free fun for the whole family? You can beat that!
The Columbus Commons is located in downtown Columbus right across the street from the convenient and affordable (only $2!) Columbus Commons Parking Garage located at 55 E Rich Street or 191 S Third Street.
I hope you’ll check out what the Columbus Commons has to offer for your family and maybe I’ll see you there! I know I will be heading to the Commons with my kids many times this summer and beyond!
Love To All! ~Amy
I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.
Utica’s Sertoma Ice Cream Festival
Each Memorial Day Weekend for the last 39 years the Ye Old Mill in Utica Ohio has been the home of Old Fashion Velvet Ice Cream Festival
It is a yearly tradition for our family, along with many zillions of other people! I mean really, who can resist Velvet ice cream? We always enjoy the old time cars (muscle cars), playing games, getting good food and of course eating ice cream.
These pics are from one of our visits in 2010. I had posted on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog, but wanted to share with all of you too! I can’t wait until we go this May.
My video gives you the feel of it all.
The water mill works and is just pretty cool.
Alex opted for the shake this year.
But not Zach. Notice the ice cream on the nose. lol…. oh so good!
Elise’s favorite is the mint chocolate chip.
Mine happens to be the Moose Tracks… oh yum!
Dave and I enjoying the day with the kids.
I just thought this was a cool pic of Zach.
May 25-27, 2013
Velvet Ice Cream The Ye Old Mill
11324 Mount Vernon Road, Utica, OH, 43080
This was first posted May 2012.
We Loved The North Pole Express Train Ride!
We ventured down to Nelsonville, Ohio on Saturday evening Dec, 4th, 2010 to ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, on the North Pole Express train ride. The setting was perfect, a nice peaceful snowy night.
It was about an hour and half ride for us from the Columbus area, so Dave, the triplets and I left plenty early since it was snowing. We figured we would have time to go into Rocky’s and shop around and eat dinner before the train left at 7pm. We arrived around 5pm and found out we didn’t have as much spare time as we thought.
I wanted to get pictures while it was still light out, and then was also given a tour by Bob of the train before everyone got on.
There were so many cars… I am thinking 10. Several of them were so similar that you wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart other than decorations were different colors. There was one up front that had a pot belly stove going, another one (that we sat in) that had higher back seats. The one the kids thought looked the coolest was the double decker train car. Bob was explaining a lot of the history to me. How most of these cars were used in Chicago.
We went over to Rocky’s, but evidently there were a lot of other people who had the same idea as us… so we went to eat at McDonald’s. We were told it would be a good idea to get back close to 6pm if we wanted to get a good seat on the train. The ride was sold out! There were 537 people on board. We did get back at 6pm and the kids had gotten their PJ’s and robes on.
Before the train started at 7pm, I went through a few of the other cars to get pictures. I asked parents before I took and pictures of their children. Here are a few of my favorites:
This little girl was so darling, I just couldn’t get enough of her. I think I could have snapped pictures all night of her. She just seemed to me to be the poster child for The Polar Express, or as our ride was called… The North Pole Express.
They started serving the hot chocolate and cookies soon after we left. I felt bad for the hot chocolate man…. he needed a much bigger pitcher for it, or someone to bring him refills. He would only get a few rows filled and then would have to run a few train cars back to refill the pitcher.
We called the cookie man…the cookie elf. He had a cute hat on and followed behind the hot chocolate man. He also had some extras….so came back through a few times (oh darn…. we had to have more than 1 cookie!)
They passed out bells for all the kids….but us adults couldn’t hear them ring. I don’t get it? LOL
We had the Hobo come through and tell everyone not to tell the conductor where he was. He came back through double checking with the kids to make sure they hadn’t told. Mine thought that was hysterical, they were telling him that they did tell on him.
After we got back from our ride, we could go across the street. At the Nelsonville Commons Park they had an ice skating rink set up. They told us skate rental was free with our train ticket so the kids decided to go skating. (hint…grab their gloves out of the car before you head across the street). Here they are skating in their pajamas having a great time… was on the other hand loved standing by the fire can….warming up! lol
One thing I would suggest if you have little ones. Send someone on the train to get your seats and hold them for you. Keep the little ones off the train until closer to the departure time. After they have already been on the train for an hour, then the hour and half train ride gets to be a little too much for some of them. On the way back the natives were a bit restless. (But keep in mind this was at night and they couldn’t see the sites outside. During the day you might not have as much of that).
Disclosure: I was given the tickets for my family and myself to ride the North Pole Express. But the pictures, video and opinions are completely my own.
This post was originally posted on my Explore Ohio with Sandy site.
Pigeon Roost Farm Is The Bomb!
We discovered Pigeon Roost Pumpkin Farm in Hebron, Ohio last year and loved it. I shared the post from last year, just a couple weeks ago. I wanted to give you all another blast from this year.
One of the things I love about Pigeon Roost is that the prices are really reasonable. There is not cost to part, no cost to get into and shop the upper area, get great pictures and enjoy the atmosphere. If you want to go into the lower part of the farm and do all the activities, it’s only $5 per person. Considering another local pumpkin farm charges $8 per person for just the corn maze, I think this is quite a deal.
I’m going to share the pictures with you…. they pretty much tell the story!
This is the kids favorite activity. They call it the hamster wheels.
Dave decided he would try it out too…. Elise won. LOL
This was the rubber ducky race.
Pigeon Roost Farm is in Hebron, Ohio. This is not a sponsored post, I just want my readers to know about this awesome place here in Ohio.
Pumpkins and Halloween Fun at Pigeon Roost Farm
We discovered Pigeon Roost Farm in Hebron, Ohio to go for our pumpkins and fun for halloween. For years we have gone to Lynd’s Fruit Farm, and it is a great place to go if you want to pick apples or pick pumpkins right from the field. But it is very on/off with the other activities they have for the kids. Some years it is good, others there is not much there and a big disappointment.
Instead of trying it this year we decided to look for some place new.
I did an internet search and found Pigeon Roost Farm. We decided to give it a go. Mapquest sent us the wrong way, so be careful there. It is between Kirkersville and Hebron Ohio (about 2 miles east of Kirkersville on route 40). Much close to Kirkersville.
It was impressive just driving past, you could tell from the road there was a lot happening, and most of it you can’t even see from the road.
If you live within an hour of it, I would highly suggest you check it out. It is only $5 per person to go do all the activities including the corn maze, a mini corn maze, the Enchanted Forest, the Gerbil wheels and much more!
Pigeon Roost Farm
4413 National Road SW
Hebron, OH 43025
Originally posted October 16th, 2011 on my Explore Ohio blog
We were not invited, given free passes, nor given any form of compensation for this post. We found it on our own, loved it and I wanted to share it with my readers.
No use of my video or pictures without my permission. Thanks
Roar and Explore in Columbus, Ohio
I first posted this Roar and Explore on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog last July. But my family really enjoyed one of our own Columbus, Ohio adventures – Roar and Explore! I did look and it appears that you can purchase the Roar and Explore package again this year.
My family had an awesome vacation in Ohio and just outside of Ohio this year. We started off with the canopy tour, headed down to KY to tour Mammoth Caves and then came back for a three day Columbus Adventure Package called Roar and Explore that you can find here
Here is a Video Recap of Our Three Day Adventure
Day One The Zoo
We planned our three days according to the weather forecast. The first day was the nicest one. Clear skies and cool. It was in the low 70′s, so perfect for the zoo, but a little cold for the water park. The animals were out…. perfect. We walked in and realized it had been awhile since we had visited the zoo. The entire entrance had been redone. It was really nice!
We went to an animal show that was just about to begin and it was really cute. Started off without any people, just different strange animals running across the stage and performing different tricks (like knowing which doors to go in that would open and let another animal out.
It was really fun day for all of us.. we were all exhausted by the end of it and ready to head back to the nice comfy hotel to rest (or go to the pool as the triplets did)
Day two – COSI
It was a bit stormy and rainy so we went to COSI (Center of Science and Industry). They had a special dinosaur exhibit that we were able to go into. This was an extra cost to get into this exhibit. It was nice and the kids had fun. To be honest I don’t know if I would have been excited if I would have paid much more to be able to see it. It wasn’t the kids favorite part of COSI.
They loved the 3-D movie (extra cost) but I think their favorite part and I know my favorite part was the outside exhibit of the construction equipment. They actually got to work some of them (with assistance of course). That was cool.
Day three – Zoombezi Bay
Ended up being a wash for Zoombezi Bay. It was storming and we weren’t able to go. The good thing is that the tickets are good until Sept when it closes for the year.
Drury Inn & Suites
We had a blast at the Drury Inn & Suites hotel. We had two nights there and I can’t count how many times the kids went to the pool. The room was really nice, there was a work out facility that had glass walls right next to the indoor/outdoor pool. Dave used it and was very pleased. We had a very nice warm continental breakfast (no charge for any guest) and the staff was lovely. I’d have no problems recommending it to anyone. The only thought I had was that I wish it were closer to the Zoo and Zoombezi Bay. The one we stayed at was in Grove City.
Our package was provided by ExperienceColumbus.com for our family of five. All the pictures and videos (except the Zoombezi Bay picture) were mine and my opinion was not swayed by the complimentary package. Thank you Experience Columbus, we had a wonderful time. No pictures or videos are to be used without my permission.
This post was first posted July 23, 2011 on Explore Ohio with Sandy.com
Located in Columbus Ohio – Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark is fun anytime of year
The kids and I went to Fort Rapids in door water park at the end of 2010. I wanted to share this post from my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog with you, so I’m reposting it.
We were invited to go to Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort and decided to plan it around the triplets 10th birthday. They turn 10 on December 30th, 2010 and we knew with the winter setting in, this would be a great time to go.
We arrived on December 29th and were able to get our park passes when we arrived about 2pm. (you can pick them up by 1pm day of check in) We couldn’t check in our rooms until 4pm, so we decided to go have lunch since we were starving by then anyway.
We came back at 4pm and stood in the line to check in. The lobby was beautiful, and right off the bat I noticed the western theme in everything. Now… where else do you get cookies when you check in? (I know of one other place I’ve been, but they gave you a single cookie, not a tray to choose from)
Once we checked in we had to check the place out. Saw this coffee bar, although I never did get a chance to go inside.
We had to figure out what this machine was. It was outside the restaurant. You had to put in $2 to play. Then you tried to use the claw to pick up a lobster. If you got it up and out of the water you got to have it cooked up and served for free. We saw some people trying later while we were eating dinner. It got noisy… they were all excited and both times thought they had the lobster, but both times it kicked off and got free. It kind of had those loose kind of claws like the stuff animal machines do, so it didn’t have a very good grip on them, there was nothing to hurt them.
Check out the reaction when we walked into our suite called the Bright Angel Point Grand Canyon. It sleeps 12!
It was so much fun for the kids. There was so much to do and with them being 10 years old it was nice that they could be off by themselves while we just sat and relaxed. Dave read and I took pictures! lol (no.. Dave and I didn’t get in the water. Be sure to wear cool clothes because it is humid and warm in there. Great for the kids running around in swimsuits, not so great if you aren’t getting in or you have a new hairdo! lol )
There were life guards everywhere! They were regulating the slides and I don’t think you could look from your left to your right without seeing one.
This guy was funny. He saw me standing there waiting for the kids to come down the slide to try and get their pictures (which didn’t turn out.. by the way) and he said.. hey.. get me in action. He started a slow motion run. lol Cracked me up. (there was no one in the water by the way, he was the guard at the bottom of the slide)
Like I said.. the western theme was throughout not only the hotel, but also the waterpark. This was up in the air as decoration for part of the waterpark.
There was an adult area huge whirlpool tub. No kids allowed. So the adults can get away from it all too.
A really large and nicely done kiddie area. This was one of the cute dumping water features in that area.
Now here is one of the water dumping features for the big kids!! lol
The kids loved it.. Even the littler slides were fun.
A and Kim’s from @craftymamaof4 – son were having fun together.
There was basketball for you to play in the water too.
This is another one of Kim’s sons.
The kids loved the lazy river. It was a popular place and would get pretty crowded, but the kids didn’t mind.
There were all kinds of people here. From babies to elderly. You also realize how big tattoos are now too! LOL Until you see people in their swimsuits, you don’t realize how popular they are. omg!
I’m adding this picture… just because I think it is cool.
We left the indoor waterpark after several hours and went back to our cool suite to shower and change. Then off to dinner.
We would have liked to stop off in the cool game room, but we never did find the time.
As I stated in the video, we weren’t overly impressed with the food. There was a good selection on the buffet and the prices were good. Dave and 2 of the 3 kids got the buffet. They graded their meals a C-, C and B+. The main problem was that some of the food was kind of dry.. I think from sitting out. They do keep them covered nicely.
I ordered from the menu and got a burger and was excited to see the broccoli salad with it. I had a few bites and then stopped.. there was too much dressing on it. Too much mayo taste. The burger was kind of dry also. I left part of the crust and the edges of the burger. A also ordered from the menu. He got a hot dog and loved it! He gave it an A+…. said it was the biggest and best hot dog he had ever eaten. But it took quite awhile for our meals to come. The others had finished eating… 2nd helpings before our food came out. I would have to say that this was the only slightly negative thing that we experienced.
Everyone there was extremely helpful. Other than the people checking me in, I’m sure no one else knew I was doing a review. They provided this cake for the triplets birthday. It was in the room when we got there. I don’t think this was only because I was reviewing. My guess is that this would be a service that anyone would receive. We didn’t have any forks or knife, plates etc.. in the room – so we stopped by the bar area and asked if they had some forks and plates we could use. She did and then when she couldn’t find a knife for us to cut the cake, she went into the restaurant to get us one.
Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 was there with her family the same time we were. That was fun. Our kids and husbands had never met, and the kids got to play some together at the waterpark. They came over and shared the cake with us for the kids birthdays.
There were 2 king beds (one up and one down) and the other downstairs room had 2 queens. (we thought they seemed smaller than our queen at home, so I would have guessed doubles, but info says they are queen) and then a small little room with a set of bunk beds. The couch also pulls out to a sleeper sofa.
The room across from ours was having a family reunion here. Some were from the DC area, others from IL and they met in Ohio and stayed together, visited and the kids got to play. Great idea!!
The suite was unbelievable! There was 2 stories, 4 bedrooms (2 down and 2 up) 3 bathrooms, the living room with fireplace and a kitchenette area. There was no running water in the kitchenette. So that was just a little strange. We had to take our drinks to the bathroom to dump them out. But no biggie. There was a little dryer there that you could dry your suits! We didn’t use it to see if it worked though.
You don’t have to get a suite though, there are all kinds of different options for rooms, from your basic hotel room to the family villas.
The suite we stayed in was the Bright Angel Point Grand Canyon and cost $499 for the night, but with taxes it came to $599. It comes with 12 indoor waterpark passes. The passes are good from 1pm of your check in day.. and extend to the end of the day on your check out day (check out is 11am, but there are lockers that you can change in after you swim if you have checked out).
You can get day passes to the waterpark also. They run $26.99. (prices may vary)
Be sure to visit.. and tell them Sandy from Explore Ohio with Sandy sent you!
Thank you Fort Rapids… we had a wonderful time!
Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort
4560 Hilton Corporate Drive
Columbus, OH 43232
Disclosure: Our 1 night stay in the Bright Angle Point Grand Canyon suite and 10 waterpark passes were provided at no charge. We paid for our own meals. The pictures, video and opinions are my own.
The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva On the Lake, Ohio
Dave and I were invited to visit The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva On-The-Lake and I was more than thrilled! Living less than three hours away from Lake Erie, you would think that I would go up there more frequently. But alas, other than our visit last year, this is only the second time I’ve stayed on the lake.
It is the perfect place for you to stay if you enjoy wine country – it’s in the heart of Ohio’s wine country, directly on Lake Erie just east of Sandusky. There are over 20 wineries near by to enjoy. The Lodge has a wine shuttle that will take you several of them. But you do have to be sure and reserve your spot on the shuttle early because it sells out.
Here is a video that shows you are weekend visit.
It was Easter weekend and cool, but sunny and pretty. Dave is hoping that we’ll get a chance this summer to come back up. He wants to take the kids on a fishing charter on the lake.
We drove up to the area Friday evening so we could visit with his niece, Jamie and her husband Brian along with Dave’s childhood friend Kevin and his wife Kym. They suggested the winery Ferrante, which is close to the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake. We had a really nice meal, along with some fun wine tasting at the restaurant. We wondered why the restaurant wasn’t very busy when it was so nice, but realized later it was because it was pre-season and things were pretty quiet.
We drove over to The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake on Saturday. The town of Geneva was really quant, but we didn’t stop anywhere, we just drove through. We found the Lodge, but it was still too early to check in. We then went on past the Lodge and found the strip of Geneva on the Lake. It reminded me of Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach. I could just picture people walking up and down the sidewalks with all the open air places to eat and visit. I bet it is so fun! Other than being warm enough to take a boat on the lake, being able to enjoy this area I missed.
We found the Firehouse Winery open and had lunch there. There was a small room on the second floor with just a few tables that over looked the lake. We first thought that the winery was in the blue building, but discovered it was in the red barn looking building to the right in the picture above.
Picture this Ferris wheel with all the seats attached going around…. what a cool view that would be of the lake.
We walked along the lake, back behind the winery. What a beautiful day!
There is plenty to do and see in the area, even off season
We went back to the Lodge and checked into our room. Walking into the lobby you immediately had a feel of … “wow, this is a nice place”.
There are several places that have groups of comfortable seats.
Then we had to check out our room. The room was very nice. We had a king room with a balcony and great view of the lake. Loved that! There are other rooms that have options such as whirlpools, family rooms with bunk beds and a couple recently upgraded two-room suites.
Check out the view we had from our balcony! See the gazebo? Guess what happens there? Yes… weddings! Wouldn’t that be a beautiful setting? You wouldn’t have to worry about the hot sand of a beach wedding! lol
The Lodge at Geneva also has an indoor pool and hot tub (although we didn’t indulge on this trip) along with an outdoor pool that looks out on the lake.
We ate our dinner on Saturday night at the Horizons Restaurant in the lodge. You walk into the restaurant to a really cool fireplace and buffet. It is really inviting.
Then you look behind the fireplace and see an entire wall of windows looking out at the lake and the gazebo. When it gets dark the gazebo is all lit with white lights… nice!
I thought it was cool to see this couple sitting out by the water on the bench. The whole feel of the lodge feels romantic to me.
We had the breakfast buffet the next morning (Easter Morning). We did not stay for the Easter bunch that was taking place in just about an hour or so. Our breakfast was nice, not spectacular but good. . My omelet was fine, but Dave said his french toast wasn’t very good. But the coffee and atmosphere were awesome. I’m thinking the focus might have been on the brunch since it was such a special event and not the regular breakfast.
We checked out the marina on Saturday. It seemed strange seeing a marine without any boats. Come May it will be full of boats.
What a nice place to visit! It is actually just a walk from the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake.
There are so many things to do. Obviously boating and fishing, but there is also canoeing, hiking, nature walks, golfing, a tour of historic covered bridges, lighthouses, museums, Underground Railroad sites, restaurants and entertainment. wow!
I would not hesitate to recommend The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake to anyone and I am recommending it to all of you!!
The Lodge & Conference Center at
4888 North Broadway
Geneva-On-The-Lake, Oh 44041
Our Saturday night stay, dinner and breakfast at The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva on-the-Lake. This did not influence my opinions. The pictures and video are all my own and are not to be used without my permission. (You are welcome to pin the pictures on pinterest though)
Zip Line From Tree to Tree- Hocking Hills Canopy Tours!
This was a highlight from our Canopy Tours trip last year that we would LOVE to do again this year! If you have had this experience, it is well worth it! Believe me, if I can do it…. anyone can!
We drove just over an hour to get to the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours. We of course just called it Zip Lining! The kids were excited, but a little scared. We arrived early, but went ahead and checked in. There is a little club house where you check in that has a gift shop and a place to get some lunch. There is a golf course right there also .
There is a video playing, so you can see what you are getting yourself into, or just decide if you want to do the canopy tour or the super zip.
The Super Zip is one long, very fast zip. You also are positioned on your stomach (the kids say like Super Man) which increases the speed and thrill.
The tour (what we did) is a 3,300 course that has 10 zips and 5 bridges on it. You are up to 70 ft high at some points (although it seemed higher than that) It takes about two hours. They say to plan on about 2 hours and 45 minutes as you have to suit up and have some training first.
Dave and the kids played some corn hole while I took pictures and sat at the picnic benches in the shade while we waited for our turn.
We had to fill out release forms and information for both us and the kids. Kids have to be at least ten years old before they can zip. The triplets are ten, so it worked out great.
When your group is gathered your guides will take you over to this building to get suited up and ready.
They have everything laid out for you and walk you through everything. They also will lock up your car keys, wallets, glasses or cameras for you in the locked lockers before you go (you don’t want to worry about losing your car keys out there! )
I had a little pouch that they tied onto my straps for me. It had my little camera (I so wanted my DSL for all these cool pictures, but I wasn’t going to risk it), my flip camera and a back up flip camera, along with a set of batteries. I think they thought I was crazy! I wish I had gotten a picture of me with this little pink thing hanging from my straps.
There was plenty of instruction the entire time. Our guides were CJ and Brenda and they did a great job. CJ was telling jokes to the kids and omg have we heard them again and again and again after we left there. When they think of the canopy tour, they think of CJ and jokes too. (Yeah thanks CJ!) For instance (just so you have an idea)… CJ, “Say the word Silk five times fast” Triplets, “Silk, Silk, Silk, Silk, Silk” CJ, “What does a cow drink?” Kids, “Milk!” CJ, “No… a cow drinks water silly!” Ugh… LOL
Once we went through our training to learn how to zip and stop, we loaded up in the jeep and they drove us through the woods to the first zip line.(This is another group coming in, not our group – but it does look like Brenda and CJ standing on the back of the jeep)
Enjoy the video of our zip line adventures!!
We had SO much fun!! When I zipped, I was able to try and hold my camera pouch up for a little bit, but had to let go to use my hand to break near the end, so the camera looks back off to the side again. Wish I could have had a helmet cam! lol
The kids had a fantastic time as I’m sure you can see on the video. Alex isn’t too sure in this picture. He didn’t like trusting the straps to lead off the edge of the tree platform. It is hard to tell from this picture, but we are way up in the air and they are leaning back off the edge.
When we got back we were heading to our car and saw this guy in the tree…. and he was kind enough to pose for us.
He looks sweet doesn’t he? The kids were talking about the movie Elf and how Elf tried to give one a hug. LOL
I totally recommend you trying this!!! It is a bit expensive ($85 per person for the canopy tour – 2011 rates) but it is over a two hour adventure, is exhilarating, makes you take some chances and an experience you will never forget.
I actually wasn’t scared, I was excited. I was concerned I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I have been having some real problems with my shoulder and have very limited range of motion. But I was able to reach up in front of me. They had me break with my right hand rather than the traditional left. There were only a couple times when I was getting up onto the platform after zipping that I had a little pain because I had to pull myself into a standing position. But I am in terrible physical shape right now. The zipping isn’t hard, the walking isn’t hard. We did have to walk up a short incline going from a bridge to the next zip on a hill, but it wasn’t bad. I sure did a lot of sweating (result of being out of shape), but I had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Be sure to make reservations!
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
10714 Jackson Street, Rockbridge
Web Site: Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
You can also see this post on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog
Our tours were compensated. My opinions, photos and videos are my own and were not influenced by this.
Looking for a mini vacation in Ohio?
We were asked to check out the Roar and Explore package that you can get through Experience Columbus.
What a good deal. Staying in a hotel when you aren’t far from home can really make you feel like you are on a vacation in another state. The kids love it and it is nice to not have to worry about laundry and cleaning the house and making dinner for two nights!
Our adventure started at the Columbus Zoo. The day was perfect (in the 70′s) and the animals were out. There was a good crowd, but not too crazy. The kids had a blast. We were there almost all day. We went to an animal show, saw the gorillas (their fav), elephants, the aquarium, rode a train and much much more.
We checked into the Drury Inn and Suites in Grove City. The hotel was very nice! The kids kept saying it was the nicest hotel they had ever stayed in. (I heard that phrase for the hotel and also the Lincoln MKT car we got to drive.. this is the nicest car we have ever been in. lol)
Drury Inn & Suites
Over the course of two days they were in and out of the indoor/outdoor pool SO many times. They loved it.
Zoombezi Bay Water-Park
The weather was great for the zoo and COSI, but not so great for Zoombezi Bay. We ended up not being able to go on the 3rd day because of storms. But the tickets are still good until September, so we will be able to go back and use them. This isn’t my picture, but I was given this picture to use so you all could see what an awesome water-park this is.
COSI – Center of Science and Industry
We went to COSI on the 2nd day and saw some of what there was to offer. I don’t know if you could get through all of COSI in one day or not.
There was an awesome dinosaur exhibit. Our tickets included this, but normally you have to pay extra to go into the exhibit. The kids enjoyed it.
We also got to watch one of the 3D movies (which is also normally extra, but is included)
My favorite part of COSI was the big machine display they had. The kids got to actually work some of them and climb in them. It was great.
This package starts at just $375 plus tax for a family of four. (That is saving $84).
Here is what you get with the Roar and Explore Package:
1) Four tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
2) Four tickets to Zoombezi Bay
3) Four tickets to COSI
4) Two nights stay at a hotel. (Columbus area Drury Inn & Suites is the preferred hotel – prices may vary at other hotels)
The package is designed for a family of four, but you may add extra family members. You can make reservations by going to the Columbus Vacation Package on Experience Columbus.
I can highly recommend this for you and your family. We had a blast!
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
Last week the triplets and my husband and I went on a vacation. We did wander out of Ohio for just a couple days, but our main activities were in Ohio.
The hands down winner was going on the canopy tours or zip line tours as others (including myself) call them.
We first suited up when we got there. Of course they help you with everything.
We had a lesson on what to do and then we did it on a practice line.
The triplets are ten now, so they were old enough this year. I had gone on a small one while I was in UT last year, but had never done a canopy tour course as I would call this.
It was 3,300 feet, ten zips and five bridges long…
We all had a blast!! lol…. Alex had fun, he just was nervous doing this maneuver they showed us. The tethers were holding you from falling off the edge of the tree stand. You can’t tell in this picture, but we were up at least 50 ft.
You can see our video of our zip lining on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog.
Beautiful Place to Visit in Ohio
The Inn at Honey Run in Holmes County is in the heart of Amish country.
This is a picture of their Facebook bird cam. I kid you not. They have a camera mounted that takes pictures. I am assuming maybe it is action motivated. I wondered who was spending all the time watching for birds and taking pictures. They are posted on their FB page. How fun is that?
There is so much nature here. It is sooo quiet and peaceful. It began raining right after we arrived, but only lasted a half hour or so. When we came out, the sun was out, the rain was dripping off the flowers and it was absolutely beautiful. Everything looked so crisp and clear, the birds were singing.
Isn’t this orange tulip awesome!
This candle that hangs from the walk way up to the entry had a drip of rain that I kept trying to catch as it hit the top and bounced off. I didn’t have the luck, but still loved the picture.
This robin was very accommodating as we were driving out of the parking lot to go to dinner. She just sat there and let me get a couple good shots.
We went into Berlin and had a great dinner at Boyd and Wurthmann restaurant. It is an Amish run restaurant and the portions were huge and food was great!
I always love to see the horse and buggies. Dave’s farm is in Amish country, so we get to see a lot of them, but I don’t know that I will ever tire of trying to get some good pictures of them.
Be watching on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog for the entire post. I’ll plan to link it to this post once it is finished.
Also be sure to look for the exclusive offer at the bottom of that post. (Hint…. if you call and reserve a room for at least one night, you will get a $25 gift cert to use in either the spa, restaurant or gift shop! You just have to tell them that Explore Ohio with Sandy sent you!!)
My room at the Inn at Honey Run is complimentary, but has nothing to do with my opinions. The photos and thoughts are all my own.
Letting others know about places to visit in Ohio
I’ve lived in Ohio almost my entire life. Believe it or not there are still places I haven’t explored myself. But there are a lot of little places around that I enjoy that I thought I wanted to let other people from Ohio know about.
Explore Ohio with Sandy will be my adventures with and without my family to places around Ohio. Some big….some just local businesses. This will not be the end all be all site to everything in Ohio. But I will link to several of those sites for references. But this will be a lot of videos and actual visits to places so you can get a feel for what they really are like.
If you are from Ohio….I’d love for you to subscribe so you don’t miss anything. Also…let me know if you have been to these places yourself…and what you think!!
I will also be having guest bloggers! So if you have visited or are going to visit some places in Ohio…take some pictures, use your video camera and let us know about it!
Businesses will have an opportunity to place their photos in my slide show header.
SugarDaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties Round Brownies!
Meet Mark, Tom, Allison and Brian. This is team Sugardaddy! (Minus Chef who was on vacation for our visit).
Mark and Tom are the creators and owners of all these goodies!
Tom would make up these wonderful brownie creations and Mark loved them and encouraged him to take his love of baking, his marvelous brownie creations, and creativity to the next level.
Together they formulated the name from Blondies their light or butter, brown sugar based brownies and Brunettes from their chocolate brownies. So what worked better than SugarDaddy’s Scrumptious Sweeties?
There are 17 flavors of these round brownies and blondies. For instance you have the Dark Berry, Auburn Original, Rich Mint, Tahiti, Fiery, Zanzibar, Chai Spiced and many more.
I have to say that the Rich Mint is my favorite…although I loved all the others too. I don’t think there would be any of all that I tasted…and I tasted a lot!!! I was trying just one bite of about all of the items.
Tom and Mark did a lot of research and found that the majority of people do not like the brownie crust. They want the moist inside of the brownie. So they bake their brownies and then cut them round.
I think this is great. They do not let ANYTHING go to waste when it comes to their deluxe brownies.
They use the pieces that come from in between the round cuts to make 1 lb bags of “pocket change.” These little pieces of brownie are great for munching, using in a trifle, or paring with ice cream.
For those of us who love the crust…we are not forgotten!! They take the crust and double bake them to come up with Brownie biscotti! Oh…are these good! Brownie taste, crust taste, but so light and great with coffee.
So you think they would be finished right? Nope…more small pieces of brownie are used to make these fabulous Brownie Truffles! Oh my gosh!! Loved these too!!
They are color coded so you know what you are getting.
Here are a few that I got to taste. (Wish I had one right now as I am writing this!!)
This is the Auburn Original. It has triplet chocolate, chocolate ganache and kahlua.
So you would think there wouldn’t be anything left right? They take the smallest parts of the brownies and smash them and use them in the crust of their cheesecake!!
We got to sample it…yummy!
They have also begun to make ice cream and are working to develop more flavors. So that will be fun to see what new flavors they will be coming up with!
Ok…here is a really cool part. Not only do we like them….but they have already been discovered!
Tom beat Bobby on Bobby Flay’s Showdown, (you can find the video clips at the bottom of their home page.) enjoyed by Ellen’s Guest in her Green Room, used as the Snack of the Day on Rachel Ray and has tons of write ups.
They have been in business for only 4 years and have accomplished all of this so far!! Can’t imagine how big they are going to be in the next 4 years!
Here is the brownie that Tom beat Bobby with. It is the Tahiti Blondie: Roated Coconut, Sugardaddy’s special curry spice blend and roasted cashews. Now how is that for a blondie?
They have the cutest store!! This was just completed in February of this year. It feels so comfortable. There is a coffee station
Places to sit and eat and drink your coffee.
They have the cutest wrapping station gift bags and lovely ways to personalize your gifts.
Look at the cute personalized Gift Bag options you can send your goodies in to people!! Also note the Brownie cake sitting on the shelf. You can have this made with several days notice and I hear it is the bomb!!
I could go on believe me! But you need to visit their site..and investigate. What a nice alternative to the normal “flowers” that people send.
They only overnight their products. Why? Good question…because it is the only way to be sure their products are as fresh as can be. They bake them package them and send them the same day and then only overnight ship them. Here is another thing that is very unusual. They call you when your order has been delivered. Now how often does that happen?
Visit SugarDaddy’s web site to place your order!
Just to share something a little different today. A little light, fun and romantic place near my home town.
I went with my hubby to dinner last night in little ole’ Gahanna, OH. I had not been to the area they had completely built up as Creekside yet. Pictures looked nice and @creeksidenews is on Twitter, saying how nice it was, so we decided to give it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. We decided to pick Wine Guys Wine Shop for dinner. We were able to eat out at one of the tables outside. We did not have a creekside view, rather a street and fountain view…but it was still so quaint to sit outside and eat. They had wine tastings. Wait…they called them wine flights. You get 4 small (I think it was 2 oz) glasses of four different wines in the same grouping to taste. Then you can order after that if you choose. These equal about 1 1/2 glasses of wine and that is plenty for me.
They also serve food in tapas sizes. They are smaller portions than normal, so that each person can order 2 or 3 tapas and try different things. We ordered a bread plate, salad to share, pizza and the special which was steak kabobs. We had pizza and steak to bring home.
I kept telling my husband as we sat outside that it made me feel like I was on a vacation. I didn’t feel like I was in Ohio anymore. Isn’t that the ultimate complement?
We then took a walk along the creekside and here are some pictures of that. White lights decorated some of the trees along the way.
See the baby ducks? Look close!
Of course we had to stop and get ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery!!
We really enjoyed this. I told my hubby it was the perfect date night. I look forward to coming back.
We were treated to a feast tonight at the Bob Evans at Graceland in Columbus Ohio. This Bob Evans got a new remodeling job. This is a prototype with the “Eat-In Kitchen“. It is a new comfortable feeling to it. (I didn’t get a very good picture of it….very nice though)
There were 20 of us there and we were treated to the new appetizers, main course and dessert along with ice cream floats. We had the chefs come out and talk to us. We had marketing, public relations, General Manager and several other people from Bob Evans there. They were checking out this new form of marketing that Tastecasting was offering them. We were checking out the new restyle of Bob Evans and the yummy food they were coming out with.
The new menu will be launched this Thursday May 14th. (except for the supreme pie which will be out in mid June)
These are the new Appetizers!
Itsy Bitsy Sandwiches – sausage with cheese and a pickle and the Bob-B-Q pulled pork sandwich with a pickle.
Loaded Baked Potato Bites – breaded and fried potato bites stuffed with cheddar cheese and bacon. It is served with ranch dressing.
Wildfire Chicken Quesadilla – grilled flour tortilla filled with chicken and all kinds of other goodies.
Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Fries – Battered and fried apple pie fries dusted with powered sugar and served with caramel dipping sauce. *My favorite*
Here is my plate! I did not try the quesadillas because the Wildfire BBQ sauce scared me off. But guess what…I tried it and it is not too hot at all. It is a sweet sauce with just a little bit of spice. Believe me…if I can eat it, it isn’t too spice. I am a spicy whimp!! (and I liked it) By the time I realized it, the quesadillas were all gone. They were popular and from what I heard, very good.
Floats!! I can’t remember the last time I had a good rootbeer float. They had cherry coke, coke and rootbeer floats. Very good. Hmmmm….think I liked it?
The Baby Back Ribs are slow roasted, fall-off-the-bone (and they really do) tender ribs glazed in the Wildfired Sauce. *my favorite*
Oven Roasted Chicken. This is oven-roasted, bone-in chicken breasts that are slathered in Bob Evans smoke-sweet wildfire sauce.
The Red, White & Blueberry Supreme Pie was heavenly! Rich cream cheese filling topped by a layer of fresh strawberries and blueberries and creamy whipped topping. This was soooo good!! It will not be out until mid June when the blueberries are at their peak. Can’t wait.
These were the two chefs that made this feast for us. Both were named Brian. Jules was in charge tonight for Tastecasting.
Make sure to visit a Bob Evans near you!!
Espresso Yourself Music Cafe Review with TasteCasting
Last night I got to go to the cutest coffee house in Powell, OH. It was opened in an old church. There are bands that play and entertain you as you get to drink your coffee. They have a listing of bands and a menu at the web site Espresso Yourself Music Cafe.
The art work is all done by different artist and is for sale and changes regularly.
We were treated to a sample of a few different sandwiches. These were fantastic! I never really thought of a coffee house as having some really good food, but this one does! Eric who owns this coffee house and his daughter run it. He is very conscious of healthy food. His wife passed away 2 years ago of lung cancer and before she died they learned how to eat really healthy.
The smoothies have real fruit and antioxidants. I had the peach and it was wonderful!!! They also treated us to some (not as healthy..but hey, some of us still eat junk right?) warm chocolate chip cookies.
Thanks! I will for sure be back.
The Culinary Table Review with Taste Casting
I was able to go to my first Taste Casting event tonight. It took place at The Culinary Table in Grandview, OH. This is a combination of three businesses that come together to create pure magic when it comes to social events, corporate events, wedding parties, receptions, cooking classes or catering. Wine and beer tastings are also on the upcoming venue. It is a “One Stop Shop for Everything” as Emily of Bellisari’s catering said. It was a large room (can seat up to 60), but not too large and it felt very comfortable. The decorations were beautiful and done by Natural Designs, which design beautiful and original floral design and decorating. They were featured at The Decorator Show House.
It all tasted as good as it looked! If you live in the central Ohio area and are planning a graduation party, wedding reception or if you want to have a luncheon for business..you need to think about The Culinary Table.