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Weekend Getaways in Ohio: Four Days of Hiking and Wineries

a wooded trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Are you a Midwesterner looking for a lovely vacation that’s within driving distance, but feels like a world away? Enter one of the best weekend getaways in Ohio!

This is Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley. This beautiful little stretch of country sits in central Ohio, right between Cleveland and Akron. I was first drawn to this area by the presence of Cuyahoga Valley National Park: a hidden gem of the National Park System and the only park in the country with no entry fees! When I dug a little deeper, I found an even more deeply buried gem: the prolific wine country that calls this area home.

You can easily visit this area in a luxurious four-day weekend. To that end, I have prepared some truly unique wine pairings for you: the wineries you should visit, and the hiking trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park that you should pair with them.

Day 1 - The Ledges Trail & The Winery at Wolf Creek

a stone staircase on the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

If you look up photos of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Ledges Trail is likely the first thing that will come up. This trail is a maze of extraordinary rock formations, filled with caves, bridges, and hewn rock staircases. It’s the kind of scenery you’d never expect to find in the Midwest, which makes it even more magical!

Pair the scenic beauty of the Ledges Trail with the stunning back porch at The Winery at Wolf Creek. This winery boasts an amazing back porch with lovely views back over the vineyard. It’s a wonderful place to relax with a glass of wine and a well-earned cheese plate.

Day 2 - Kendall Lake & Nauti Vine Winery

Today is a day for water features! Start your day in Cuyahoga with a leisurely stroll around Kendall Lake. The Kendall Lake trail is mostly flat, and circles the park’s beautiful lake. It’s a lovely walk all on its own, and you can branch off onto any number of connecting trails if you want to extend your hike.

After your day on Kendall Lake, traipse your way over to Nauti Vine Winery. This treasure has a truly Tuscan feel, and the superstar is the back patio. It, just like the trail you hiked this morning, looks out over a lake, making these two locations the perfect pairing. Nothing is better than sipping a glass of local wine while watching the sun go down over the water.

the lake at Nauti Vine Winery

Day 3 - Everett Bridge Area & High and Low Winery and Bistro

For today’s wine and trail pairing, it’s time to go classic.

You can’t visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park without admiring its iconic covered bridge. The Everett Bridge is a piece of local history that is absolutely worth visiting, even if you’ve never read Bridges of Madison County. You can visit just the bridge, or you can lengthen your adventure by hiking the neighboring Furnace Run trail, which leaves from the same trailhead parking lot.

the Everett Covered Bridge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

And a classic and historic trail deserves to be paired with the area’s classiest winery. For this pairing, we turn to High and Low Winery and Bistro. As the name suggests, this spot is half winery, half restaurant. The menu is full of delicious options, and you can pair your meal with a flight of creatively named wines, like the “Impossible Things”, or the “Mother-in-Law who Takes Your Side.”

Day 4 - Brandywine Gorge Loop & Sarah’s Vineyard

For this day, we’ve gone best for last. 

Brandywine Gorge, and its accompanying waterfall and creek, are the only other feature in the park that rival the Ledges Trail in popularity. There’s a gorgeous boardwalk that gives you stunning views of the falls, and a wooded trail that makes a loop around the creek. That wooded trail is full of places where you can approach the riverbank, so make sure you plan extra time for creekside explorations!

After your morning along the Brandywine, it’s time to make your way to my absolute favorite winery in central Ohio: Sarah’s Vineyard.

Sarah’s Vineyard is everything you want a winery to be. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but you definitely want to hold down one of the picnic tables overlooking the grapevines. They keep a full menu of delicious treats, and make a truly astounding of wines all on site, including a life-altering, sweet/tart rose that I always purchase multiple bottles of anytime I visit.

This is one of the Best Weekend Getaways in Ohio!

Central Ohio is full of both stunning natural beauty and delicious delicacies. Don’t sleep on this beautiful hidden gem of the Midwest.

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Love and Shenanigans,


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