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Travel

Cabin Comforts

Looking for a late-fall getaway? Consider one of these cozy spots.

The lull of autumn’s final stretch settles in amid the last falling leaves and the first flurries of snow. It’s the perfect time to find some calm before the holidays, and a cabin getaway promises just that. “I love the peacefulness of it, the quietness of it, just the simplicity of it,” says Alice Wilson, co-owner of Coyote Creek Farm in Hillsboro. From a rural retreat in Harrison County to a family-size lodge in the heart of the Hocking Hills, here are three welcoming spots where you can relax and recharge.


A Touch of Home

Set on 64 acres in Harrison County, Possum Lodge was crafted for both rustic appeal and homey comfort. Owners Chuck and Nancy Slusarczyk bought the land in 2005 and built their 1,400-square-foot personal retreat soon after.

“I took things that we had in our own home and used it to decorate,” says Nancy, adding that no detail was too small, right down to the light switch plates.

“We didn’t just cut them into square switch plates,” she says. “We did them in the shapes of leaves, or took a Dremel tool and carved in deer hoof prints.”

Solid log beams rise to a peak in the lodge’s great room, which is warmed by a wood-burning fireplace. The mantle above it is crafted from a hand-hewn log that was once part of another cabin that stood on the property. An open loft upstairs has a queen and two twin beds, while the main floor houses two private bedrooms. There’s a full kitchen, and visitors need only open the sliding glass doors to their own outdoor lounge.

“We have [the back porch] set up like a tavern,” says Nancy. Dubbed the Drop Tine Tavern for the downturned antlers of a buck, the space includes stools made of whiskey barrels from which guests can take in the surrounding scenery.

The Slusarczyks maintain a few trails on the property, and the couple delivers a map to guests upon arrival. Within half an hour’s drive, visitors can also hike at Salt Fork State Park, feed the animals at Boss Bison Ranch or simply relax at Vineyard 22 Winery. But Nancy says many of her customers find it tough to leave such a welcoming space.

“Around Thanksgiving, I decorate the cabin and put up a Christmas tree,” she says. “[People] like how it feels like a home.” 76405 McElhaney Rd., Freeport 43973, 440/537-2026, possumlodgecabins.com

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Coyote Creek Farm's cabin was built with wood salvaged from 19th-century barns and homesteads. "All the wood inside is recycled," says co-owner Alice Wilson. "The windows were recycled, the doors, even the lighting." (photo courtesy of Coyote Creek Farm)

Country Retreat

Built with wood salvaged from 19th-century barns and homesteads, the cabin at Coyote Creek Farm is tucked into the quiet of Highland County. It’s surrounded by fields and woods and located just two miles west of Rocky Fork State Park.

“All the wood inside is recycled,” says Alice Wilson, who owns the 240-acre farm where the cabin is located with her husband, Mark. “The windows were recycled, the doors, even the lighting. We had them rewired, but they’re old fixtures.”

Although the Wilsons embraced a weathered look, they left no comfort lacking. Just beyond the cabin’s front door, three wide chairs rest beside a wood-burning fireplace (central heating complements the fire’s efforts). There’s also a claw-foot bathtub, an upstairs queen bed and a hidden loft accessible by a built-in ladder. “It goes up above the bathroom,” Alice explains. “There’s a full-size bed in there, but you can’t stand up. It’s great for kids.”

The cabin has a small refrigerator, coffee pot and an outdoor grill. Although there’s no stove, Hillsboro’s restaurants are just a few miles down the road. Those in search of longer hikes can look to nearby Rocky Fork and Paint Creek state parks, as well as the Great Serpent Mound.

For guests who want to stay put, Alice says she makes sure they start their day off with a good meal.  

“I take breakfast down and drop it off in the morning,” she says. “Usually I have egg dishes, sausage links, fresh fruit [and] orange juice.”

She doesn’t linger, though. With modest decor and no television, the cabin is built on simplicity, which guests seem to relish. “They’ll go down there and just hibernate.” 8871 St. Rte. 124, Hillsboro 45133, 937/393-5166, coyotecreekfarmoh.com

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Kevin and Julie Claus' Stillwater Lodge in the Hocking Hills boasts 3,000 square feet of indoor space. and a large wraparound porch that provides even more covered space outside. The lodge sleeps 19 guests. (photo courtesy of Stillwater Lodge)

Big-Time Escape  

When a two-bedroom cabin simply won’t do, Kevin and Julie Claus’ Stillwater Lodge offers a solution. It sleeps 19 guests, and the wraparound porch looking out over a nearby pond is just the start of what this spacious, 3,000-square-foot place has to offer.

“Not all families always want to be together, close together,” Kevin says with a laugh. “So, the upstairs has a game table, and the lower level has a large game room that has a pool table [and] a foosball table.”

Kids, as well as the young at heart, will be happy to find a Wii game system with dozens of titles and a large couch in the downstairs game room.

“Then there’s all the outdoor entertainment,” says Kevin of the lodge’s proximity to Old Man’s Cave and other Hocking Hills sights. “Nine months out of the year, folks are pretty much outdoors.”

In addition to three private bedrooms and a loft with a queen-size bed, a twin daybed and a pop-up trundle, there’s a downstairs bedroom with three custom-made wooden bunk beds that provide a perfect sleeping space for siblings or cousins. The main floor includes a full kitchen with barstools, a 4-foot-by-8-foot maple table and a fireplace.

Kevin designed the lodge, which is the newest of the nine cabins and lodges the Claus’ Cedar Grove Lodging owns in the Hocking Hills. Stillwater Lodge’s roomy yet minimal interior gives its guests space without ever feeling empty. The strong wooden beams and shiny finishes make a statement all by themselves.

“That’s kind of a signature we have across all of our units. … We don’t need a lot of knickknacks,” Kevin explains. “[We] just let the cabin be the decoration.” 19555 St. Rte. 664 S., Logan 43138, 740/380-2209, cedargrovelodging.com


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