For someone who didn’t go to Hocking Hills until this year, I sure do like going to Hocking Hills.
I ventured back for a bloggers’ retreat to experience the 4th annual Comfort Food Cruise, a weekend excursion whereby one purchases an $18 ticket ($5 of which benefit local food pantries) and can then hit up any of the 13 participating restaurants all weekend for specialty menu samples (we’re talking Appalachian sample sizes. I got full, fast.)
We stayed in a luxury lodge provided by Cedar Grove Lodging with 7 bedrooms, 3 baths, large living area and kitchen, game room, home theatre and hot tub. It was legit. The first night we were treated to a home cooked meal provided by chef Matt of Lake Hope Lodge and then fired up the grill to make S’mores, as is one’s duty when staying in a rustic cabin.
In the morning we enjoyed steaming cups of coffee and warm biscuits & gravy at Pearl’s Diner before heading off on a winter hike. Experiencing the scenery of Hocking Hills State Park with softly fallen snow, icicles hanging from ledges and rushing water was so unique. It really is a beautiful place and worth braving the cold to witness (though I can’t say the same for my frost bitten feet.)
We explored Old Man’s Cave and Rock House until we grew too cold to stand it, then headed to Olde Dutch Restaurant for some down home cooking. I loaded up on the works: chicken noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, corn casserole, roast beef. I wish I’d saved room to partake in the pie buffet (this should be standard in all restaurants) but by that point my belt had grown cumbersome and my Fitbit was yelling at me to take more steps (stop judging me, you stupid bracelet!)
I wasn’t able to stay the whole time, so I missed out on prime rib sliders, mac & cheese and brownies (*cries*) but I did get to meet some awesome and hilarious ladies, see some snowy sights, put some delicious food in my gullet and get real sleepy and tryptophan-y (that’s a thing.)
The Comfort Food Cruise runs every weekend in January (14/15, 21/22, 28/29.) To purchase tickets go to Explore Hocking Hills. You can also enter the free giveaway to win a pair of tickets on the @eatingb00ks instagram (contest ends 1/13 at midnight.) Special thanks to the Hocking Hills Tourism Association and Cedar Grove Lodging for sponsoring the trip. Opinions, as always, are my own.