The Group Travel Leader

OHIO 2017

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Page 44 of 75

45 w w w . o h i o h a s i t . c o m O hio's diverse geography off ers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. From the shores of Lake Erie — which look more like seashores than lake shores — to sandstone caves and ancient earthworks, the state will surprise groups. Hiking, kayaking, zip lin- ing and more will keep nature buff s occupied for days on end, and the list of special places begins here. HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK LOGAN In the heart of the state and approximately an hour south of Colum- bus, seven parks make up scenic Hocking Hills State Park. is spot is like no other in Ohio, with its dramatic rock formations, caves and lush forest. e most celebrated of the seven is Old Man's Cave State Park, where Old Man's Cave Trail leads hikers to its upper, middle and lower falls amid sandstone cliff s and steep hills. e trail is reached by stairways and paths built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Ash Cave Trail off ers an easier hike with handi- capped accessibility. Ziplining, kayaking and fi shing round out the park's outdoor activities. "In spring, the waterfalls are especially pic- turesque, and the autumn leaves are absolutely spectacular," said Mimi Morrison, who leads group hikes and kayaking through her company, Touch the Earth Adventures. " is is one of the prettiest sections of the Buckeye Trail, which traverses much of Ohio." Hocking Hills Lodge, which welcomes groups, serves its renowned brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs. Chef Matt Rapposelli, a New England Culinary Institute graduate and vet- eran chef, uses a wood-fi red smoker, the aroma from which lures diners from the parking lot. He cooks meats overnight for fall-off -the-bone tenderness. Except for the ketchup and barbe- cue sauce, everything on the extensive menu is made from scratch, down to the salad dressings, the potato rolls and the pizza crust. "We're open year-round and have quite a lo- cal following," said chef Rapposelli. "Our popu- lar Sunday brunch showcases much of what's on our menu at a very reasonable price." BUCKEYE BOUNTY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES INVIGORATE A TRIP T O OHIO Above: Hocking Hills State Park Opposite page (clockwise from top right): Tour of Seneca Caverns; Historic Village at Weaver Park; Newark Earthworks Courtesy Hocking Hills Tourism Association B Y E L I Z A B E T H H E Y

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