Beating cabin fever in winter can be a real challenge and I was getting all kind of crazy being cooped up here in Ohio. I looked over the map and my research brought me across Geauga County, Ohio. This NE Ohio county is just 20 min. east of Cleveland and offers a plethora of things to do, see and enjoy. I knew this was the place we should head for an Ohio winter adventure.
We arrived in Geauga County on a Friday afternoon and had a weekend of winter fun planned. There were a few places we wanted to go to before we settled into our cabin because food was on the top of our list of things needed to stock the pantry. Heritage Meats, located in Middlefield, is a local specialty butcher we had heard about and we were eager to make it there to try the locally sourced meats. I (Brandy) am gluten-free and I found out there was a nearby bakery , DS Cakes and Sweets Cafe, who offers amazing gluten-free and other yummy baked goods!
It’s difficult to find a place to stay for families who are seeking adventure and outdoor winter fun. You need lodging that is big enough to sleep all the kids, house all your outdoor gear and have enough room to spread out for relaxation. Punderson Manor Lodge and Cabins offers all those things and more. We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin here and used it as our base camp for our winter adventures. This was a perfect location for our family, it offered a full kitchen, full bathroom, great living space and 2 bedrooms! This manor is situated in Punderson State Park , known as Ohio’s winter playground. After settling into the cabin a bit, we went to check out the State Park. This gem is located right in the snow belt making it a prime location for sledding, snowmobiling and trails for cross country skiing and dog sledding. Want to know it’s best hidden secret? There is FREE snow tubing provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with a tow rope. We had a fantastic time tubing and after our fun there on the sledding hill we went to Punderson Manor Lodge to warm up to have hot cocoa and desserts.
Over the night time hours we had a wonderful snowfall of 12 inches. It was the adventuring kind of snow, but due to it’s fast and heavy fall our snow shoe hike for the day was cancelled and rescheduled for Monday. We did not mind because Punderson State Park and the Manor Lodge had us covered for family winter fun.
NE Ohio has snow removal down to a tee and we were able to get out and do some sight seeing after the roads were cleared. We did not venture far because we wanted to get back for more tubing, but we could not come up to beautiful Geauga County without seeing some of the sights and shopping.
We found ourselves in a small town called Burton where we could not help but notice the log cabin in the center of the town. While out adventuring, we never know what we are going to find ourselves getting into and as we pushed open the wooden door of the cabin the smell of the fireplace and maple syrup hit us. We were offered samples of maple sugar candy, maple syrup fudge and delicious samples of light and dark syrup. Shockingly, almost all of us chose the dark rich amber colored syrup as our favorite. If you are in the area, the Burton Log Cabin, is a must stop.
Burton is a charming town and we enjoyed a taking a spin around the beautiful downtown area. We stopped in at Coffee Corner where we took in the delightful sights and smells, grabbed a coffee and cinnamon roll to go. As we left Coffee Corner, snow began to fall and the church bells began playing, It Is Well. We paused a moment and just felt the peace that comes with being in a small town. Heading across the street to Hill Hardware, we found out they have been serving Burton since 1950! Ok, I admit, we spent an hour in this charming hardware store. The creaking floors, smells of times past and touching all the neat things they carry was nostalgic. Matt and I introduced ourselves to the owner and they gave us the $10.00 tour of the place. Take a minute to meet the family that runs Hill Hardware and you will make some new friends.
When we left Hill Hardware, we recognized that the snow was going to start falling heavily again and we should head back to Punderson Manor Lodge to enjoy some tubing. Weeeeeell, that was the intent, until we remembered seeing a sign that said, White House Chocolates. Who can resist chocolates? We pulled in the driveway, found ample parking and headed into the chocolate store. The first thing our kids saw were all the free samples waiting there to be tasted. White House Chocolates offers soooo much deliciousness that I can’t even describe it all to you. Suffice to say we spent some money here to be prepared for the impending winter snow storm.
Another great reason to make Punderson Manor Lodge your basecamp is that is located beside The West Woods, one of Geauga County’s Park Districts, amazing parks. We went to Frozen Fest and it was full of magical winter fun. Ice sculptures, Olaf, a dog sled team and free snow shoeing were all there and available to enjoy. I want to return to make a hike to Ansel’s cave and see the beautiful sandstone ledges!
Before we headed home, we had rescheduled for a class at Holden Arboretum, where we would learn how to snowshoe on the beautiful trails there. Snow and cold weather doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time indoors, we bundled up and enjoyed the winter weather. Snowshoe rentals here were very affordable and the arboretum is family friendly. Snowshoeing in the snow is quite different than regular hiking and we learned a lot here about how to use the snowshoes, falling down and getting up techniques and how to walk in them. We look forward to returning here someday to enjoy Holden Arboretum when it is full of spring and summer color.
Geauga County, Ohio offers so much fun in the winter, that we were sad to be heading home. The area is teeming with so much to do, we realized that we only touched the surface of the shopping and activities. We can’t wait to come again to see the Maple Syrup trail they have in March put on by the Maple Producers of NE Ohio.
The Gleason Family
Our time in Geauga county was sponsored, but as always, all opinions are ours.