This article is written in partnership with Ohio. Find It Here. and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Although sponsored, the views and opinions are my own.
Have you ever wanted to get away without the hassle of actually getting on a flight?? Well, that was me a week ago. I was coming off of a crazy busy, nonstop, two weeks of working and planning events and I needed a break from everything! Literally everything lol From work, from my kids, from my everyday life. I wanted to sit and enjoy my surroundin with a little peace and quiet.
Where would that place be?
Somewhere I would never imagine falling in love with.
Somewhere completely outside my comfort zone,
So let me say I’ve always loved the beauty of nature. I love seeing leaves falling, I love the colors in a sea of trees, I love walking by the lake, but… more than anything I love simply breathing in the fresh air of being outside. If I ever want to be relaxed I always walk outside. This particular getaway, I literally spent most of my time all outside.
My husband and I drove about 35 minutes to get to our staycation. It was a beautiful ride from city/suburbia to one of Ohio’s State Parks. It didn’t require us to get on the highway so we watched the area around us change from cities with buildings and houses to nothing but land and trees. Taking in the change in scenery was refreshing and quickly made me feel tucked away.
When we arrived at the Manor, I didn’t know what to expect- but I kept an open mind. As Courtney Covers Cleveland I am always encouraging people to try something new and well, this was that for me. I knew this wouldn’t be a luxuryexperience, but one of history and charm. Afterall, the Manor was built in the 1900’s.
The lodge we stayed in the first night reflected this, with the warm brown hallways, wooden doors and antique furniture. Each room in the Manor is decorated and furnished with antique reproductions that complement the English Tudor-style architecture. We were given the room with the view, so our window overlooked the lake, and it was simply breathtaking.
Our first night we enjoyed dinner in the Cherry Dining Room of the Manor. Our seats came with a view of the lake. Following dinner, we purchased a bottle of wine and sat outside in what became one of my favorite places. It was an outdoor patio with a separate area with fire pits that overlooked the lake. This was hands down the most perfect way to unwind and end the night- just enjoying a glass of wine and the view (before it got too dark).
The second day we checked out of the lodge and into a cabin; before I even opened up the bold-red front door, I knew this would be my favorite place to stay. It felt so private and intimate, and perfectly situated in a secluded area, not too close but not too far away from neighbors. After I turned the heat on, it quickly became the coziest little place. The cabin had two bedrooms, one with a King bed the other with bunk beds. It also had a full kitchen and a living area. Of course, my favorite part of the cabin was the enclosed porch with the beautiful view. I couldn’t wait to wake up and sit and enjoy my coffee on the porch. I literally went out there as often as I could throughout the day. It was the perfect backdrop to write or work- or simply do nothing. It was beautiful but also just so calming.
Once situated in my cabin, I headed back to the Manor for the Haunted History tour. Although I’m not into ghosts, this place is said to be haunted so I was eager to learn more about where this idea came from and also the overall history of the building. My tour guide Krissy, started with the timeline of ownership and the building being both built, renovated and extended. We then toured the library, the estate rooms (where sightings are said to have happened) the dining room, the meetings area as Krissy, provided details along the way.
After the tour my husband and I wanted to get lunch and of course Courtney Covers Cleveland wanted to try something local! I randomly asked our maintenance man Logan for suggestions and lo and behold, he just so happened to be from Burton, which was 5 minutes away and recommended the most amazing restaurant ever! And I mean seriously…the food was incredible! So much so that not only did we eat lunch here but we even doubled back for dinner. Not just because the food was delicious but because the service and drinks were superb!
Between lunch and dinner we enjoyed Fried Brussel Sprouts, Crab Dip, Mexican Street Corn, Confit Chicken Wings, The Beyond Burger Smoked Cheddar Potato Puree, Salmon and the most popular item on the menu the Nashville Hot Chicken & Funnel Cake. I would encourage you to try EVERYTHING we had because it was that good! We walked away saying we would come back to the restaurant again in the future regardless of the drive time.
After lunch, we met our Naturalist Richelle for a hike through Nelson Kennedy State Parks. I’ll be honest I was skeptical about this. As a first timer, I couldn’t ever see myself enjoying a hike, again I liked the beauty in nature but not actually being in it. I’m scared of large animals and not a fan of small bugs and insects. Surprisingly, none of my fears were presented during the hike and I ended up really, really enjoying it! I got to see the falls that run to Lake Erie, Bryon got to see inside of a bee hive, and together we learned about rocks- how they shift, how they are made up and how they play a place in nature. We strolled through the park holding hands and breathing slow- fully living in each moment. My husband and I talked the entire time back to the Manor about how interesting this experience has been and how we are really trying new things
Now is a good time to share thatI love the fact that this place gives you both options at the Manor and in surrounding areas. Not only did we go hiking for the first time and love it, but there was also golf, disc golf, volleyball, basketball, fishing/boating, tennis, walking/running trails, bird watching, archery range, Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding hill (in season), an outdoor children’s playground and more. There were so many fun ways to enjoy activities outdoors and surrounded by nature.
On our last morning I drove back into Burton and stopped by a local coffee shop Logan had suggested. If you really know me, you know I love coffee shops. Not just for the coffee but for the vibes and atmosphere. Similar to the Manor, this coffee shop was full of antiques. The set up had a mixture of couches, and tables with chairs- spread over multiple rooms. The coolest part though, was that it not only sold coffee but wine as well. I ordered the Cayenne Mocha Kick which was so good!
After I had the chance to enjoy my cup on my porch as I always imagined, it was time to pack up. Before we left I asked Bryon if we could explore the Boardwalk and of course he said yes. The Boardwalk was so romantic and of course as I said 1000 times, the view was simply amazing. We walked, held hands, and often just stood still taking it all in. It was a picture perfectpicture-perfect moment – to not only capture the beauty around me but to capture a lasting image of my time spent here.
So where is this beautiful park located?
Courtney Covers Cleveland stayed at the Punderson Manor Lodge & Conference Center, had lunch and dinner at Warren’s Spirited Kitchen and enjoyed coffee from Coffee Corner’s. All of which were great and would come highly recommended.
I’ll also say if you’re worried about traveling during COVID, this place will definitely make you feel safe. First and foremost, they limit lobby check-in to one person per group. Facemasks or coverings are required in all shared spaces, and there is signage throughout the hotel and recreational facilities reminding everyone of the importance of practicing physical distancing as well as proper hygiene. Hand sanitizer stations were also positioned throughout common gathering areas along with sanitizing wipes available within guestrooms and at dining/ conference areas. If this isn’t enough to make you feel safe, additional physical distancing, health, and safety measures are discussed upon your arrival.
I think Punderson is a great getaway for anyone looking for a quick getaway- whether as a couple or a family. As long as you keep an open mind that this is a historical place and centered around enjoying Ohio’s State Parks- which again lol are beautiful and adventurous. I would also recommend you stay at the cabins; if you’re interested in traveling with friends you can request the cuddle sack so you are all close together.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and that you will try it out for yourself!