Photo courtesy Explore Hocking Hills
About an hour south of Columbus, Ohio, the rolling Hocking Hills region serves as the gateway to greater Appalachia, luring some 5 million visitors per year with a rugged natural beauty rooted in Blackhand sandstone foothills and craggy rock formations. The terrain may be rough, but the accommodations are not. In this territory where log cabins reign supreme, some are exceptionally innovative, and none more so than The Box Hop ($325/night). Designed from three 40-foot-long shipping containers, it’s a surprisingly posh three-bed, two-bath homestead for eight people on 18 acres. The unconventional modern facade makes a striking first impression, then charms with the black-and-white farmhouse interior everyone loves right now. A firepit, hot tub, and rooftop patio summon and soothe after a full day of outdoor activity in the seven Hocking Hills State Park sites. If Box Hop is booked, try the idyllic Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls ($199/night), where you can stay in a glamping-caliber yurt and do a spa sampler of three treatments in an 1840s log cabin.
The parks enchant with stunning waterfalls, caves, lakes, and hiking trails to explore at ground level, but the region isn’t called the Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest for nothing. If you’ve got the cojones, strap in for the prone-position SuperZip at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, a quarter-mile ride reaching 50 miles per hour. The company has zipped customers across some 238,900 miles, roughly equal to the distance between the Earth and the moon—auspicious timing, as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The John Glenn Astronomy Park celebrates the milestone this month with a minute-by-minute recounting of the event in real time, and also hosts free sunset astronomy programs on clear weekends from March through November.
Territory: Logan, Ohio
Distance: 224 Miles
Drive time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Sip: Samples of blackberry, Granny apple, and peach tea–flavored hooch go down surprisingly smooth at Hocking Hills Moonshine.
Visit: The quirky little Columbus Washboard Company is the last of its kind in the U.S., turning out handmade products for both laundry and bluegrass music.
Photos courtesy Explore Hocking Hills