Icy and snowy roads

kids dog on bridge

In the winter, Wagner Road can be a little tricky to drive, especially if your route guides you over the steep Thompson Road ridge. We suggest that you check with us at 614-499-8205 for current road conditions.  While the state and county roads that connect to Wagner Road are usually cleared, our little township road may not be in similar condition.

In bad weather, it is best to route your arrival through Laurelville and follow State Route 56 to Big Pine Road, then onto Wagner Road. This avoids crossing Thompson Road.

This advice applies to both arriving and departing guests. Let’s be careful out there, people.

Last minute specials

kids dog on bridge

Winter is a great time to visit the Hocking Hills and Marsh Hollow: the crowds are gone, the rates are lower and it’s the quietest time of year. On top of that, we offer last minutes specials, generally for 1-6 days in advance. The last minute calendar is updated every day, so even though this post was made on January 4, the table below is current:

Call John at 614-499-8205 to book one of these great deals. Two day minimum, pets are welcome!

Mary at Marsh Hollow

New footbridge at Marsh Hollow

Owner Dave Marsh is the guest blogger for this post

This past summer Operations Manager John and I needed a new construction project, and Marsh Hollow needed a new footbridge over the creek. After considering a truss and a suspension bridge, I stumbled on a modified truss (“rainbow bridge”) designed by Frank Petersohn of Vancouver BC. Although Frank has passed away, his son Michael now sells the very reasonably priced bridge plans, but fully cut and drilled kits are no longer available. For more information about constructing this type of bridge, please visit The Rainbow Bridge.

We found the design very appealing both mathematically and aesthetically. The arches are chords of a circle. We challenge granddaughter Makenzie to calculate the radius of the circle for this particular design!

Cutting and fabricating the arches, which are cut from stock 2X4’s, required angle cuts such as 18.4° and measurements such as 123 23/32”. To say the least these are challenges on a chop saw.  It wasn’t until we were nearly done that I got a digital angle measurement tool (should have had it from the beginning). Fortunately, I had Mary check and challenge my measurements (she was always correct). She also held many of the longer pieces being cut.

Note: click any photo to enlarge.

A new chop saw blade is a good idea. My chop saw actually caught fire and burned up during the project. Too bad it wasn’t the table saw because I really need a new one of those.

While a lot of the work and pre-assembly took place in the workshop, foundations had to be dug and poured and the arches moved into place over the creek. Getting the foundations parallel and aligned across the creek without a laser was also challenging, Fortunately, John is experienced with concrete work and took the lead in setting the foundations.  When all was done the two foundations were in near perfect alignment. I was convinced they were not aligned but in the shape of a parallelogram, but I was wrong.

Perfectly aligned foundations made the installation of the arches much easier.  We used a family “staycation” to set the arches. Thanks to our crew led by John including Brian, Grey, and Travis documented by Uncle Mike the actual placement went very smoothly. Note: the arches must be parallel and perfectly vertical to provide maximum stability.  I think we achieved that.  We also owe thanks to the ladies for entertaining the kids during this activity, cooking up a delicious lunch and serving cold beer.

The next steps included placing the crossbeams and staining the arches in place. The decking was assembled in sections in the workshop and transported to the site by John (they are heavy!).

During this time Jill, Mary’s cousin, was visiting.  She has a designers eye and gave us excellent advice about the design of the railings.  What you see in the pictures is a result of her input.   I think the railings give the bridge a very distinctive appearance.

Finally, because the slope of the ramps approaches 20°, we mixed Interlux Intergrip No Skid Compound paint additive with the stain to provide better traction during wet weather.  We also finished the hand rails with spar varnish make for a smoother hand hold.

We hope you will enjoy crossing the creek on our new bridge on your next Marsh Hollow vacation. It makes a great photo op and gives you access to our trail through the woods.

Dave at Marsh Hollow

An afternoon’s drive in the Hocking Hills and nearby Vinton County

We are planning a short family vacation at Lake Hope State Park, which is only about 45 minutes away from Marsh Hollow. Dave and I decided we wanted to visit first, to make sure we thought it would suit ages 3 to 78. Yes it will! Anyway, the park has lots to offer, from cabins to camping, to a small beach, marina, hiking trails, archery range, truly tasty dining at the lodge, mountain biking trails (I think it might be the no. one place for this in Ohio), a nature center….and lots of chill time. This would also make a nice day trip from Marsh Hollow….so stay here and go there.

The next stop on our drive was the new Hemlock Bridge Trail at the Hocking Hills State Park. If you follow our Facebook page, you might know that I went to the dedication and vowed to hike this trail soon. So here it is mid-June, and I have not. We are planning a creek bridge replacement at Marsh Hollow and wanted to get some ideas from the swinging bridge construction.We hiked part of it, but the park is not wrong to rate this as moderate to difficult. It is not appropriate for small children.  We were not prepared so turned back. Wear your hiking boots and bring your walking stick. Even though we only got to the turnoff to Whispering Cave then turned back, this hike is gorgeous.

Our final stop was at Jimbo’s Burgers & Beer, on State Route 56 in South Bloomingville. It is under new management and has been completely remodeled. We sat outside, as it was a beautiful June evening. The outdoor sound system was very nice. They are open Thursdays through Sundays so very much geared to the tourist trade. The mushroom-swiss burger was very tasty and large. You can have it on a pretzel bun or gourmet bun. Fries were also very, very good. The coleslaw was delicious but I generally prefer more cabbage and less dressing on mine.

Although we didn’t spend any time inside (except restrooms which are new and spotless), we could see that it was very nice, a mix of tables and booths and multiple big screen TVs. There is also a jukebox, which hopefully offers up more than boomer music.

It is also family friendly so yes, bring the kids. The menu includes more than burgers and the beer list is good. Hey, they offer Corona and Blue Moon, and all the traditional Bud and Miller stuff plus 1 IPA. We will go back for sure.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Along the Buckeye Trail – Table Rock

photo of Table Rock

Last Saturday (or lasterday as granddaughter Molly would say), Dave and I hiked the portion of the Buckeye Trail that runs between the rappelling area parking lot on Big Pine Rd. and Unger Rd. If you continue on, you reach Old Man’s Cave. We stopped at Unger Rd. and turned around to go back. In total we hiked 5 miles.

The weather was beautiful with a very unseasonable 60 degree temperature. We saw only two other people on the trail. Except for rappellers, we rarely run into much “traffic” in this area. In this section, the Buckeye Trail is also a bridle trail for most of the distance. We saw no horses or even evidence of horses yesterday.

To start, park at the rappelling area parking lot on Big Pine Road. It’s just a short distance past the entrance to Conkle’s Hollow. Cross the road, and look for the Buckeye Trail blue blazes on trees. Cross the bridge over the creek, then turn left at the registration stand to start the trail. Just follow the blue blazes up the hill, past and through some really cool rock formations.  When you see a 3 sided horse tie, you’re at the top.

Walk a little toward the horse tie, then turn around to look back and to the right. You should be able to see the Table Rock formation. Walk back a little toward where you exited the rocks, then turn left to continue on Buckeye Trail and along the top of the rappelling area. The trail needs some better marking because it is not clear where you should walk. By the way, this is not an area to bring little kids. In some places, the trail is close to the edge of the cliff.

Just keep going. Eventually the bridle trail splits off but you will rejoin it in a little while. After the trail turns away from the cliffs, it travels through a logged area that has been replanted with baby trees. Keep to the left and do not follow the logging road on the right. Although you will end up on Unger Road, it is not the Buckeye Trail. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we did! That logged area was disorienting.

As I mentioned, following this trail out and back is about 5 miles. There is a lot of uphill at the beginning but it is not a truly strenuous trail. It has some beautiful rock formations and a lovely hemlock forest. and it is seldom seen by most visitors to the Hocking Hills.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Fire at the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge

We are so sad to report that there is a major fire at the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge, one of the best, and most reasonably priced, places to dine in the Hocking Hills. It started before 9 am, when the building was not yet open to the public. Early reports indicate that no one has been injured.  Some sources report that the roof is in the process of being replaced and that it started there.

Many fire units have been called in from surrounding counties and beyond. There is a smokey scent in the air, not like your usual campfire or wood stove.

Here is a link to the Columbus NBC affiliate‘s report of the fire earlier in the day.

We will post more when we know more. A sad day for Hocking County.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

A hike in the woods

Mary and Dave and dogs

Last Friday, Dave, Carolyn (daughter and wife of John) and I hiked up into the woods to retrieve trail cam photos. Carolyn had set this up on top of the hill (not near the trail our guests use). She had selected this location because it is remote from other trails and dwellings and because she had noticed places where deer were bedding down and rubbing their antlers. Look below for a few of the many great pictures she got.

it was great to see our Bode dog follow us up the hill and then around the whole Marsh Hollow loop trail. His age has been slowing him down so he doesn’t hike much anymore. John and Carolyn’s dog Frank is the new dog hiker in our family and he is always ready and willing to go.

We plan to extend our trail to the top of the hill over the winter. Then Carolyn will have to find a new location for her camera!

Mary at Marsh Hollow

New sofa at Shadyside & Weekend Update

red check sofa at Shadyside Cabin

We’ve had a few struggles with the sleep sofa at Shadyside. The sleep sofa itself wasn’t often used, but guests have spent a lot of time on the sofa. To make a long story short, this week we replaced the sleep sofa with a gorgeous, comfy sofa that matches the red check upholstered rocker already at Shadyside. We know our guests will love it!

For the third, or extra, bed we need to provide, we purchased a Serta EZ bed. We guarantee it will be more comfortable than the sleep sofa. However, guests will need to let us know that they need the 3rd bed when they make a reservation.

 

And here is the current Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s WEEKEND UPDATE.

Have a great weekend!

Mary at Marsh Hollow

 

Laurelville Fruit Farm’s “Apple House”

Laurelville Fruit Farm cider

I had fun yesterday helping the Laurelville Elementary pre-school class visit the Apple House, run by the Laurelville Fruit Farm, which is just a short walk away from the school. I guess it’s an annual treat for the littlest students to take a tour and get an apple cider slushie. After enjoying the sweet treat, we visited the cold room, which lives up to its name, to see stacks upon stacks of apple containers. Then we got to see the apple sorter, which kicks out apples considered too small for sale and these are the ones that get crushed into cider. We saw the machinery for that process but it wasn’t running while we were there so the little people were not that impressed.

The Laurelville Fruit Farm is a family owned and run operation – for over 100 years. Some of their trees are not far from Marsh Hollow, atop the next ridge over. The Apple House is open 8 am to 5 pm 7 days a week. closed in the winter and is located on State Route 56 in Laurelville.  Great peaches in the summer.

I’ve visited the Apple House several times this September but did not pick up nearly enough Honey Crisp apples. Now they are out of these absolutely delicious sweet, crsip apples. However, they have plenty of other tasty varieties so be sure to stop by while you are in the Hocking Hills. And don’t forget to pick up some cider too!

Finally, here is the Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s WEEKEND UPDATE just in time to plan your Hocking Hills adventures for this week and beyond.

Mary at Marsh Hollow