Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spots: Ohio High Life in Atwood Lake

When most people hear “luxury,” images of New York City hotels pop into mind... perhaps Aspen lodges next to thundering snowy mountain tops, or expansive vineyards in Napa Valley. While all of these glorious locations sound like a fantastic time, they’re a bit beyond my means as a student and freelance writer. Luxury, however, is far from lost on me. I’m a girl that loves the greater things in life, and thankfully I’ve encountered at least one way of experiencing that sort of sophistication nearly in my own back yard.

Dellroy, Ohio.

I know. I hadn’t heard of it either. As the Living Social Escape email sprung open from my Inbox, my initial reaction was: “Where?” But upon investigating, I discovered it was a whopping one hour drive from my native Akron and a total steal. Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity to visit Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast on Atwood Lake in the not so well known Dellroy, Ohio.

I ceremoniously booked my stay for the week of my birthday (which happens to be this week… the big day tomorrow). I could think of no better way of ringing in my “quarter of a century” status than a couple of days of relaxation, reading, drinking wine, and eating a whole lot of delicious food. I’m happy to say that I was not let down. While the Cleveland and Akron areas got hit with severe storms, Atwood Lake remained peaceful despite similar weather predictions. All of my plans for nature and luxury were satisfied.

[there was a nature center at the park... with turtles!]

For those that are not so much the “outdoorsy” type, Atwood Lake may not be a prime location. Truth be told, a huge selling factor of the area is the abundance of Marinas and kayak (as well as boat) rentals. A couple hours out on the lake put a little soreness in the arms, and quite a sting on the skin—but felt amazing. Entirely worth the sunburn that ensued. There is horseback riding in the area as well, and a whole slew of hiking trails… which included one with a Jurassic-Park style observation tower for viewing the expanse of the lake. Breathtaking. Stopping by the local ice cream parlor after a few hours in the sun, too, was absolutely perfect.

[the view from the observation tower]

[have I mentioned my love for chocolate ice cream with peanut butter??]

Beyond the bugs and sweat, however, Atwood Lake really is a little gem in terms of luxury. Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast was absolutely gorgeous. The owners were nothing but accommodating and friendly. The Jasmine Room was absolutely gorgeous—cozy, but elegant. The décor had a rustic charm, but certainly felt more “luxury” than grandma’s house… though the assortment of board games in the sitting room was a fantastic resource during our stay. And the food… well, let’s just say that ricotta pancakes will now be making their way into my usual morning fare. Reading at sunset on a private balcony has become my new favorite pastime, as well as leisurely enjoying a glass of wine in the hot tub.

[and the owners landscape the entire things themselves... brilliant!]

[the gorgeous sun room where we enjoyed our breakfast]

Two other spots in the area certainly worth mentioning are the Lighthouse Bistro and Al-Bi Winery. The Lighthouse Bistro is positioned not far from Atwood Lake Park, and serves up the meanest steak I’ve had in ages. We’re talking smothered in carmelized onions and a blue cheese glaze… it was pure heaven. But I’m ahead of myself—we got the steak the second time we went there. The first round of Ahi Tuna, crab cake, and delicious fried pickles was enough to send us there again—and sample the lobster rolls as well. Topped off with a delicious Sam Adams Oktoberfest, it was just what the doctor ordered.

[ahi tuna]

[crab cake and fried pickles... Mmm]

Al-Bi Winery is an a-dor-a-ble little place that is family owned and 100% dangerous. By dangerous, I mean their wine is like the tastiest juice you’ve ever had in your life… but quite alcoholic. For the seasoned wine-o that enjoys dry cabs and the crispest Pinot Gregio, I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you enjoy a glass of something fruity and refreshing on a summer day, this is the place to be. They have a number of blends, dandelion wine, and pretty much the most delicious peach wine I’ve ever had. You really can’t go wrong with a place that names one of their bottles “Foreplay.”

[mixing the peach and raspberry wines together... delish!]

Alright, alright—enough with the gloating, I know. The moral of this story is that you don’t have to travel far to experience luxury and relaxation. Ohio may not be known for its sophistication, but there is certainly a quaint elegance hidden in Dellroy if you venture to look…

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