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It’s the Little Things at ...

September 16, 2007
By BETSY BETHEL Arts & Living Associate Editor

It’s the little things that bring a smile to your lips at the Inn at Cedar Falls in southeastern Ohio’s Hocking Hills.

It’s the delicate blown glass orbs hanging in the windows of the circa-1840s log cabin restaurant.

It’s the thick terry robes, complimentary lip balm and heated towel racks in the cottage bathrooms.

It’s the locally roasted coffee and homemade cookies in your room, and the restaurant’s locally grown vegetables and locally produced, melt-in-your-mouth breakfast sausage.

Nestled in an old-growth forest near some of the region’s most fascinating geological treasures, the Inn at Cedar Falls specializes in attending to small details to please and pamper its guests, whether you are on a family vacation, romantic getaway or business retreat.

The inn is located within a few miles of natural attractions such as Cedar Falls, Old Man’s Cave, Conkle’s Hollow and Ash Cave, all part of the Hocking Hills State Park system. So if outdoor pursuits are on the agenda, it’s a good home base. It’s also about 15 minutes from Logan, seat of Hocking County.

The inn’s accommodations include nine rooms with private baths in a barn-style lodge; cabins built with recovered 19th-century materials; and quaint cottages.

All the lodgings are decorated with antiques and Shaker-style furnishings. Each is stocked with board games, puzzles and playing cards — there are no telephones and no televisions. The cottages and cabins feature gas fireplaces, porch swings and gigantic whirlpool tubs.

In the Quiet Garden on the rise beyond the inn, guests can laze in hammocks, watching the butterflies flit to the music of the birds and crickets.

A short walk through a quiet meadow brings you to a former cabin transformed into the Spa at Cedar Falls, where you can get a massage on the secluded back porch.

New this fall, the inn has enclosed the porch with windows so guests can enjoy the scenery year-round.

Breakfast is included with lodging, and can be taken in the dining room or on the patio, weather permitting. You can dip up your own hot porridge and yogurt, and then savor the chef’s hot breakfast special, such as caramelized french toast with strawberries and sour cream, maple country ham and fresh fruit. The portion sizes are just right, but your server always asks if you want seconds.

Lunch is available, featuring homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. For on-the-go guests or those who want to picnic under the apple trees, the kitchen staff will brown-bag it for you.

The dinner menu changes seasonally in order to offer the freshest ingredients. Executive Chef Anthony Schultz specializes in healthy gourmet cuisine using local products as much as possible. Guests are encouraged to arrive one-half hour early to enjoy a glass of Ohio wine or a microbrew in the tiny tavern. Sample entrees include filet mignon with tomato compote and fennel- and cardamom-seared salmon over spiced garbanzo beans.

The open kitchen, dining rooms and tavern — located in the original log home — are a focal point of the inn’s activities, including popular wine tastings, holiday cookie baking sessions and gourmet cooking classes.

Add to all this the warm and accommodating natures of inn owners Terry Lingo and Ellen Grinsfelder. These are people who are truly invested in what they do. Grinsfelder is carrying out the dream her mother, Anne Castle, envisioned when she opened the inn in 1987. A successful Columbus businesswoman, Castle wanted to provide a natural retreat for weary urbanites. Grinsfelder moved to Hocking County to help her mother, and met Lingo, whom Castle had hired to do all the construction work. Shortly after the inn opened, Grinsfelder and Lingo married. Castle spent her last years living her dream. She died in 1991, leaving the inn to her daughter and son-in-law.

Since then, Grinsfelder and Lingo have made it their top priority to make their guests feel like they are coming home, which is probably why so many of them are repeat customers. It’s all about the little things.

Article Photos

Photo by Betsy Bethel -
The dining room of the Inn at Cedar Falls is located in a circa-1840s log cabin and features special little touches such as blown glass ornaments, fresh potted flowers and mason jar oil candles.

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