If you have never heard of this place, use The Google. And if you have, and have never been? Go! Now. Drop your Ho Hos, put down the remote and go. This has to be one of the best little excursion destinations in the Eastern States. Granted my ability to identify great spots for hiking and photography are slightly limited by my lack of extensive travel in this region; but so far this place is on the top of my very short list.
We dashed out of Bradford late on Thursday afternoon and made it all the way to Kent Ohio before calling it for the night at a Holiday Inn Express. This was nice new place, that seemed basically empty – so we got the King bed and enjoyed a relaxing evening after about 4 hours of driving and eating at a really strange bar/tavern that turned out to be an Italian eatery. It looked like it used to be an old grain warehouse or something equally as industrial, and I was not expecting to get Italian food, nor was I expecting to get enough to feed a small Bovine.
Too Many places to stop
We drifted through Lancaster Ohio, and stayed there for lunch on Friday. What a great little town, and the Sandwich shop where we ate was excellent. It’s a little chain called WG Grinders. Lancaster has a great feel to the main street, and surrounding areas – it would be a cool little town to live in. Ohio University has a sizeable campus there as well. Hell, even the Sheriff building was of classic architecture and had character
We also wandered a bit through Logan and Nelsonville. Logan is pretty much the stopping point for folks visiting Hocking Hills, and Nelsonville is just a wee bit further South on 33 and is the home of Rocky Boots. The Rocky Boot outlet and museum is pretty nice, has a cafe built into it and a dump truck full of boots. The only thing I would steer clear of in Nelsonville is the camera store. Not much to see here folks – move-a-long.
I am really becoming fond of the right coast in that it is easy to find character (and in some cases characters) within the towns and villages dotting the states. This side of the country is so much older than the left coast – I find the little towns far more engaging and a whole lot less… post-modern po-dunk.
The main attraction
Hocking Hills is absolutely gorgeous. It is the first place that I have found since we moved here that reminded me of home. Home; I mean the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon. Like the title says – "Rocks & Water – What’s not to like?"
That’s what you get here. A river. lots of streams and more rocks than you can shale a tripod at. Naturally, we show up in the middle of the longest dry spell that has hit the area in half a decade, so there is basically no running water through any of the cuts, canyons and draws – but it was breath taking just the same. Had it not been quite so hot – I probably would have filled up all 8 gb of storage media I brought along for the Nikon. As it was I shot in the neighborhood of 120 images, and shot a roll with my medium format camera too. Although Litsa became sherpa-wife with that since it was acting strange, and I didn’t want to run the risk of shooting 5 rolls of blank film at 1 minute exposures.
We didn’t get to all of the places, and we didn’t even scratch the surface of the sites we made it to. We went to Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs, Ash Cave, and Old Mans Cave. My favorite part of Cantwell Cliffs was the Fat Woman’s Squeeze. It is aptly named, the way is narrow and tight. One of the things these all have in common; stairs. lots of stairs. Well, that and big-arse CLIFF AREA WARNING signs. In my opinion, not really a place for small children, especially if you would like to them to be around to become large children. Out of the places we visited, Rock House was my favorite, with Old Man’s Cave a close second. had there been vast amounts of water flowing, the cave would have trashed Rock House two times over.
We stayed in a cabin while we were there, and it was a nice little place too. Heart of the Country Cabins, if you are so inclined. It had a hot tub too – which went quite nicely with the little sheep dog that greeted us by running amok in his fence when we came and went.
It was a great little weekend getaway, and I will be going back.
Ha! I almost forget. On the way back we stopped off at the mecca of Automobile stores – Summit Racing, just outside Kent in Tallmadge Ohio. This place is huuuggee! There were a couple of hot rods inside, as well as a cruise in going on outside. The only thing I bought was a t-shirt, since I couldn’t think of anything I needed for the Bronco. It’s a cool place, and pretty sweet that it’s not that far away either – so the next time I go to Hocking Hills, I will be making my list so I have stuff to buy while I’m there.