Malabar Farm: www.malabarfarm.org
Snow Trails Ski Resort: www.snowtrails.com
Spruce Hill Inn: www.sprucehillinn.com
Snuggling close to your sweetheart as your horse-drawn carriage winds through the picturesque countryside, cuddling in front of a crackling fire or having a movie-star moment in the very spot where one of the Hollywood’s most famous couples exchanged their wedding vows — romance is alive and well in Ohio.
If chocolates and flowers just won’t do, then perhaps a romantic weekend away would be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And you don’t have to travel far to find unique romantic locales in the Buckeye State.
Sunlight streams through the guest room skylights and birds nibble excitedly from the feeder just outside the window. Nestled in the heart of northeast Ohio’s Amish Country, the Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The main inn has 24 well-appointed rooms, but if you’re looking for a more unique and secluded getaway, try the honeycomb rooms. Built right into the hillside, the honeycombs have floor-to-ceiling sandstone fireplaces, a private patio or balcony, plush robes and plenty of privacy. Or check in to the Trillium cabin, nestled in the woods, with a luxurious two-person Jacuzzi tub and wood-burning fireplace. The cabins and honeycombs are just a short walk to the restaurant and main inn.
Try the lavish aphrodisiac feast prepared by the Inn’s executive chef Scott Fetty. An appetizer of baked blue point oysters, prepared with bacon, artichokes and spinach, is followed by a Love Triangle of petite filet mignon served with lump crabmeat cake. And don’t forget the Hot Chocolate dessert, a warm cake served with marinated strawberries, white chocolate gelato and peppered orange caramel.
The romance doesn’t have to end there, as Inn guests can enjoy an Amish buggy ride, a couple’s massage at the spa or have chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their room. And, although the Inn at Honey Run takes you away from it all, couples who need to stay connected can do so with complimentary WiFi.
Beyond the Inn, couples can explore the quaint shops and restaurants of Millersburg, Berlin, Charm and neighboring towns. Lehman’s hardware, in Kidron, is worth a visit, and don’t be fooled by its name as the 45,000-square foot store carries everything from heat stoves to toys and old-fashioned root beer to camping equipment. Heini’s Cheese Chalet is a dairy lovers haven with samples aplenty. Of course there are traditional cheddars along with everything from Bermuda onion cheese to fire hot pepper cheese. The blueberry cheesecake and chocolate mint cream cheese fudge are not-to-be-missed.
Couples will be in good company if they choose the Mansfield area, roughly 45-60 minutes north of Columbus, for a romantic getaway. One of Hollywood’s most famous pair of lovebirds, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall tied the knot in the Big House at Malabar Farm State Park in 1945.
The historic landmark was also the Ohio home of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and conservationist Louis Bromfield. Malabar Farm State Park offers a variety of activities, including tours of the Big House, hiking and a full slate of special events. There is also an award-winning restaurant on site, which features Malabar Farm all natural product.
Events for Valentine’s Day include “An Evening with Ole Blue Eyes,” performances Feb. 9 and 16 by a Frank Sinatra impersonator. Weather permitting, sweethearts can also ice skate on the Malabar Farm pond, or cross-country ski or sled on its acres of beautifully rolling hills. Weddings and vow renewal ceremonies are also available.
The area has a variety of romantic accommodations to choose.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hit the slopes or go tubing at nearby Snow Trails Ski Resort, then snuggle by the fire for an après ski cocktail in the lodge. Snow Trails is open until 9:30 p.m. weeknights and until midnight weekends, but will stay open until 2 a.m. on Feb. 15 for romantic moonlight skiing. A live band on Feb. 16 will enhance the date-night fun.
In southeastern Ohio: If you prefer a romantic walk to downhill skiing, then the Hocking Hills Sweetheart Hike will be held on Feb. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ash Cave. Enjoy the serene winter beauty of the region while walking hand-in-hand with your sweetheart and then head to a secluded rustic cabin or enjoy the tranquility of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls with its exceptional guest rooms, cozy cottages and quaint cabins. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls will offer its elegant four-course candlelight Valentine's Day Dinner on Feb. 9, 14 and 16.
Close to home: If a road trip isn't in the Valentine's Day budget, then you can enjoy a romantic self-guided winter stroll through candlelit-wooded trails at the Crooked Creek Nature Preserve in Xenia on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Following the Candlelight and Chocolates Hike, couples can indulge in decadent cupcakes and linger by the cozy fire in the preserve's log cabin before returning home with scrumptious chocolates. The cost is $30 per couple. For more information, call Greene County Parks & Trails at (937) 562-6440.