Mary at Marsh Hollow
We have developed Marsh Hollow Guidelines for COVID-19 which describe how we plan to keep our guests, staff and community safe during this outbreak. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about our plans.
It’s been a busy week getting ready to re-open our cabins, which we did on May 4. One “keep safe” strategy we are using through May is to leave 30 hours between guests checking out and new guests checking in. We think it’s a good thing to do but it does wreak havoc on the schedule, especially when working with existing reservations. It will be nice to get to a new normal, hopefully in June.
The Hocking Hills State Park and Forest remains closed. As mentioned in an earlier post, the Hocking Hills Tourism Association has developed a helpful COVID-19 Info page which isn’t about the disease but rather all the great stuff there is still to do around the Hocking Hills even with the Park closed. It also includes a list of various restaurants which provide food service, either carry-out, drive-through or delivery. FYI, most delivery services are based in Logan and do not delivery to Marsh Hollow. Restaurants in Laurelville, our closest village, do not deliver. The nice folks at Hockinghills.com (thank you, Finn), our listing service and reservation system, developed a print-friendly version of the restaurant list.
Almost every day, we read about other Hocking Hills services and activities that are making plans to open up. Today, we learned that the Hocking Hills Canoe Livery hopes to open May 29!
Stay safe and wash your hands!
Mary at Marsh Hollow
While we remain closed through May 1 per Ohio’s and Hocking County’s stay at home orders, I’ve had time to look through our guest journals. Now that John is our operations manager, I don’t stop by the cabins often. I was going to write a blog post, pulling out some of my favorites, but this one from March 22, right before we closed, thoroughly enchanted me. And I think our guests were under a bit of a spell as well:
We had a most lovely weekend here at the cabin.
A sasquatch tried to get into the hot tub with us but we were able to scare it away with the help of some enchanted dice that we acquired from a minotaur that we met while exploring Old Man’s Cave.
Will definitely be back! 5 stars !!!
Z & R
I think Z & R truly enjoyed Pinewood Cabin, its hot tub pictured above, and all that the Hocking Hills offers. I truly enjoyed this guest journal entry!
Hoping you will visit soon and leave an equally entertaining entry,
Mary at Marsh Hollow
Did your New Year’s resolutions include enjoying nature more? Here’s a great opportunity to visit the Hocking Hills at a lower cost. Throughout the entire year, we offer last minute specials. Right now, if you have a little flexibility, you can book Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14 at a 20% discount at The Cottage!
Please call 740-499-8205 to book your last minute reservation.
Mary at Marsh Hollow
We belong to HockingHills.com which provides a great listing service for us, as well as our reservation system. Recently, the new owners offered to record cabin video tours. We signed on to that opportunity! They also have provided us with a large number of still photographs which we are in the process of reviewing to see which we want to add to our web site. The tours include some outside views and more of these will be added in the spring.
The tours start with a dollhouse view. That’s where you can click on icons to see outside views before or after entering the cabin. The video walkthroughs can be accessed with mouse clicks or with touchscreen. We found it easier to manipulate on our laptops, maybe because the screen is so much bigger than a phone screen. We haven’t tested them yet on a tablet. In the meantime, enjoy these three video tours. They will give you a great idea of what to expect when you visit us on your Hocking Hills vacation.
Come visit us! Great winter rates available through February 29!
Mary at Marsh Hollow
On a recent rainy day, I took the grandkids over to Logan to check out the new Hop N Hocking Hills a bounce house and video game business. It was a hit with the kids, ages 6 1/2 and 8 years old. At only $5 per kid for unlimited play time, it was a hit with me too. The facility was clean and safe.
Hop N Hocking Hills already had an outdoor bounce house business, for parties in warmer weather. They decided to expand their business so that kids could bounce AND play video games in colder weather. There are six bounce houses in one large room, and then a nice large video game play area in another, with 8 video game screens with lots of popular video games. My grandson finally got to play Fortnite, with help from other kids who were playing other games. While my granddaughter spent all of her time bouncing, my grandson split his time between bouncing and video gaming. We were there for about 2 hours, and it never felt crowded.
There are several seating areas for parents, with tables and chairs, and even some lounge seating in the bounce area. You may bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages, or order in from nearby restaurants that deliver (we highly recommend Pizza Crossing). Maya Burrito, also very good, is just around the corner on Main Street.
This is a small town private business, so don’t expect some of the extravagances that come with big city bounce facilities. Bottom line for me: kids had a blast, they were safe and $5 for unlimited play time can’t be beat.
Hop N Hocking Hills also offers virtual reality games but we did not explore this option. But it appeared other kids were having a great time.
I think it’s always nice to have rainy day options when you visit the Hocking Hills. This is a new one, and I’m sure we’ll go back!
Mary at Marsh Hollow
Last week, we hosted family at Marsh Hollow. We decided to play tourist and pretend we were visiting too. I think our itinerary turned out to be a pretty good plan for a day trip to the Hocking Hills, or for just one of your vacation days if you’re staying in the Hills. We left the house at 10 am and returned home just after 4 pm to give you an idea about how long our tour lasted. Note: click on photos for larger views but only if you have a good Internet connection.
Our first stop was Jack Pine Studio on Route 180, about 10 minutes from Marsh Hollow. Jack Pine is an artist who creates blown glass masterpieces. We were amazed as soon as we stepped into the showroom, where many of Pine’s beautiful art pieces are on display and for sale, along with work of other glass artists and craftsmen. The Studio’s other glass artists also create affordable blown glass pieces, with a heavy emphasis on pumpkins. A very cool (or hot!) feature of this studio, is that they are making glass pieces every day and visitors can watch art being created. Practicalities: they have a single indoor restroom, very clean.
Our next stop was Rock House, the only true cave in the Hocking Hills. There was dispute in our group about whether or not it is truly a cave since there’s so much light in it. Here’s the definition of cave from Wikipedia, which I think supports the “cave” designation:
A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground, specifically a space large enough for a human to enter. Caves often form by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can also refer to much smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, though strictly speaking a cave is exogene, meaning it is deeper than its opening is wide, and a rock shelter is endogene.
Rock House trail is all downhill to get to the cave area, then hikers must climb up some old rock steps to get to the cave entrance. It is dark inside. Have your phone flashlight ready for the dark spots. After exploring the cave you will continue on the trail up and out of the gorge. It’s not as steep or long as the downhill. Practicalities: We’ve taken small children and dogs to Rock House in the past, but it is definitely less stressful with an all adult group. Also, you will be glad you used the restroom at Jack Pine when you walk past the one at Rock House.
Our next stop was supposed to be the gorge trail at Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve on Big Pine Rd., about 11 minutes from Jack Pine Studio. As we turned onto Big Pine from Route 374, we saw that the road was closed. A worker told us a bridge had just been torn out and advised us of a long detour. We decided to skip this short gorge trail and head out to our next stop, which was lunch at….
Grandma Fayes Grocery and Deli is a Hocking Hills institution and only 5 minutes from Conkles Hollow. Their motto is “if you forgot it, we probably have it.” Our lunch was delicious! Among the five of us we enjoyed: haddock sandwich, deep fried mac ‘n cheese bites, deep fried mushrooms, french fries, pizza sub, tuna sandwich, and turkey swiss cheese sandwich. Our only criticism was that the buns/bread were just so-so. Practicalities: this was a heavier lunch than most of us needed. I think we all could have napped. Pack a lunch, but stop here for the mac ‘n cheese bites to share. Also save your restroom needs for the next stop.
It took us about 5 minutes to drive to the brand new Hocking Hills Visitor Center at Old Man’s Cave. There are very informative exhibits about the region’s history, development and natural resources, plus great trail information. There’s a small cave for the little ones to explore, detailed information about the trail system, seating and convenient access to the Old Man’s Cave trail system. A small gift shop with Hocking Hills themed merchandise is also on site. Practicalities: The water bottle filling stations are just what every hiker needs. The restrooms are large and clean.
Several entrances to the Old Man’s Cave trail system are steps away from the Visitor Center. We hiked down into the gorge, where I got completely disoriented because it wasn’t my usual way into this site. However, others got me righted and we headed to the Devil’s Bathtub, which did not have much water in it. We then hiked along a nearly people-less trail, across the awesome bridge pictured at the top of this post with my dancer cousin posing on it, to Old Man’s Cave. We thought about hiking to the lower falls’ basin, but the thought of hiking UP the steps, then down, then back UP again, wore us out. So we ended up exiting the gorge near the Naturalist’s Cabin, then back to the car. There is so much more to do at Old Man’s Cave, but we had one more stop on our tour and needed to get home by 4 pm.
Ash Cave was our final destination, about 10 minutes by car from Old Man’s Cave or a six mile hike along the gorge trail, plus six miles back to your car. We wanted to leave on a positive note. The Ash Cave trail is very short and completely flat (wheelchair accessible). It’s a paved trail until you reach the actual rock shelter. There was very little water in the falls, but the spectacularly high rock shelter impresses even without water. Practicalities: This is a great destination if you’re touring with little kids.
It took about 20 minutes to return to Marsh Hollow. Some took the opportunity for a nice soak in the hot tub. Others started to gather ingredients for dinner. At least one checked into work online. One sat in a rocker on the front porch and just enjoyed this little slice of heaven we call home.
Last practicalities: To avoid crowds, visit the Hocking Hills during the week. Our tour occured after the start of school so that helped too. If you must visit during busier times, go early or late to the various sites. Take a long break in the middle of the day. And visit during off season, generally November through mid-March. Our lodging rates go down, along with the crowds.
Mary at Marsh Hollow
Still don’t know what you’re going to do in the Hocking Hills this weekend and beyond? Check out the Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s WEEKEND UPDATE.
And another weekend rolls around, with lots to do in the Hocking Hills. If you are visiting this weekend and want to enjoy the natural sites in some peace and quiet, get up early and get out. Summer weekends are super busy in the Hills and parking at the major sites can fill up quickly. An alternative is to go late. There’s plenty of daylight in the late afternoon and evening. However don’t start a long hike too late or you’ll be stumbling out of the park in the dark! Check out everything to do this weekend in the Hocking Hills Tourism AssocIation’s WEEKEND UPDATE.