We've just returned from an overnight at Salt Fork State Park, in Guernsey County, Ohio. It's only about 88 miles south of our home in Akron, but we drove all over what we used to call "Robin's Barn" to get there. (It's also called "Hell's Half Acre," depending on whether you like where you are, or not.)
I subscribe to MidWest Living Magazine, where there was a two-page article in the recent edition about Granville, Ohio. It looked cute and as if there would be lots of things to see there. First I called The Granville Inn to see about staying there for the night, but a hoard of professors was expected, so we couldn't fit in. The Inn had a dinner deal along with the reservation, which made it appealing, alas.
So, true to course, we left home without plans for the night.
Granville, home of Denison University, IS a cute little town. I bet it's a lot cuter when it isn't ten degrees outside. We ran into the book shop mentioned in the magazine, but couldn't stop shaking long enough to actually SEE the books, and it wasn't all that toasty in there, either.
We went to see the public library, also a highlight in the article. The window seats had been mentioned as particularly inviting, and they were, but the windows were very cold, so we didn't try to sit down to read anything.
We went to the well-known chocolate shop and bought four chocolate-covered potato chips and four Heath Bar type things, very small but tasty. At $18.99 a pound, that was all we were willing to taste. Chocolate doesn't melt well in ten degrees, and I am sure it would have been better on a warm day.
Atop the largest hill in Granville is the jewel of the entire town, Denison University. It's sprawling and spreading with new construction. Updated, yet with the old still proudly visible in its architecture, this gem exudes the feeling of learning. Lots of bundled-up students were scurrying about, going up and down that hill, to and from classes. This made the trip to Granville worth it.
We looked over the Buxton Inn, across the street from the Granville Inn, for lodging. It looked nice, and reputedly is haunted, which made it more appealing, but by then I was ready to leave Granville and hit the open road.
We continued seven miles south to Rt. 70, turned east, and thought we might stay in Cambridge, hometown of John and Annie Glenn, just 22 miles away.
When we got off the highway in Cambridge, we saw a sign to the "Visitors Center," which never materialized. We followed at least four different signs to said center, and ended up having the backroad tour of Cambridge. It was ten degrees there, too............and winter in Ohio isn't all snowdrifts and glamour. We didn't see anything there we hadn't already seen except for their magnificent vintage court house, before we found I-77 and headed north.
Mild panic set in when I thought we'd just go on home and end our "adventure" in one day, so when we saw the sign for Salt Fork State Park, I said, "Get off, quick!!!" By now the sun was going down, it was still bitterly cold, and we had no reservations at Salt Fork, which is another thirteen miles from the exit ramp at Rt. 22. We drove it, anyway.
We've been to Salt Fork a few other times. It is a huge park on an enormous lake. There are cabins, a huge lodge, and camping areas for when it isn't ten degrees, I suppose. Winter and summer sports are available there. Our idea of a good time is to stay at the Lodge, sit in front of a roaring fire, and read.
Due to the cold and the forecast of an ice storm, few people had come to Salt Fork this weekend. It was like being in a huge state park lodge, having the whole place to yourselves, which is exactly what it was. We had the hot tub to ourselves, played a game of pool without anybody watching how terribly we play, ate dinner in the main dining room with the wait staff falling over themselves to help us, and had a great room down a long corridor of empty rooms.
Now, Salt Fork isn't always empty. We've been there when it was full of families, with kids in and out of the pool and crowding the game room. We've been there when the hallways are teeming with people and the pool outside is brimming with bodies. But this time, at ten degrees, with an ice storm coming, it was peaceful and serene.
I need to write a paragraph about the mattresses at Salt Fork. But I won't. Let me just say that there is not a mattress anywhere that is more comfortable, and let it go at that. You need to go try one out.
This morning we packed up our stuff, and in spite of the ice that totally covered our car, we drove home to Akron. Sometimes it is just good to "Get Out of Dodge," and that's what we were doing this weekend.
Copyright: KP Gillenwater