Showing posts with label Traveling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traveling. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hocking Hills Anniversary Getaway 2017

Little did I know, back in January, when I booked our anniversary getaway trip, just how much we would need the quiet, peaceful, relaxation that a getaway brings.

With our oldest daughter graduating this spring, me having 3 surgeries this year, my son having emergency brain surgery and a 5 week hospital stay, another surgery and around the clock infusions at home, and a trip to take our oldest to visit a college in Missouri... needless to say, I was more than ready for an overnight getaway date with my man.... I think the last time we had an actual date away from home was in March... that's over 7 months ago. I don't think we've ever went that long in between dates, but it feels good to know that when life had a turn for the worse, our marriage was strong, even without alone time.

We booked our getaway with Getaway Cabins in Hocking hills Ohio and rented Cabin 36....

'Ever After' was a beautiful, clean, private, and romantic cabin.... however it is 8 miles away from Hocking Hills. The bed - although huge, was very uncomfortable, the neighbors dogs were barking all night, and there was some road/car noise, so needless to say we got NO sleep for the two nights we were there! But, we did have a fabulous time and want to go back with the kids in the near future!


Hocking Hills State Park is one of the best places to hike in Ohio. The park’s extensive trail system showcases a variety of landmarks, including rock formations, waterfalls, cliffs, and caves. We visited every site and walked both the gorge trails and the rim trails. The weather was gorgeous and the landscape was absolutely beautiful!

Ash Cave - Ash Cave offers two of the southernmost trails in Hocking Hills State Park. Lower Ash Cave travels about a quarter-mile alongside the Ash Cave Gorge. The Upper Ash Cave Trail, often referred to as the Ash Cave Rim, offers a more rugged climb. Ash Cave is Ohio's largest recessed cave. Erosion to the 700-foot horseshoe-shaped rock face has created a 100-foot-deep recess and, when conditions are right, a slender 90-foot-high waterfall.

Cedar Falls - Cedar Falls is another fabulous hike in Hocking Hills State Park. Laden with hemlock trees, this primitive area is known for its steep rock walls, grottos, and waterfalls. The water tumbles 50 feet down a sandstone wall on Queer Creek into a pool. A grist mill once stood atop the falls.

Ash Cave Fire Tower - Located in the Hocking Hills State Forest, Ash Cave Fire Tower was constructed in 1934. We climbed the 80’ tower.

Old Mans Cave - Old Man's Cave, is an easy hike of 10 minutes from the visitor center in the heart of the park. There are seven trails in the area. Some include tunnels and stairways through the rock, various waterfalls, rapids, and the large recess cave. There are quite a few stairs, and some steep drop-offs in places.The cave itself is 200 feet long with the look and feel of a rocky amphitheater. It is 50 feet high and the overhang is 75 feet deep.

The cave gets its name from hermit Richard Rowe, who lived in it in the late 1860s with two dogs. It sits in a half-mile-long hemlock-lined gorge with three waterfalls up to 40 feet tall and picturesque pools. It is a very cool place to explore on a hot summer afternoon. Attractions include Devil's Bathtub, Eagle Rock, Whale in the Wall, and the Sphinx Head.

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

Whispering Cave - Whispering Cave is the Hocking Hill’s newest attraction opening in 2017. The cave is about 300 feet wide; a drizzly waterfall pours from its rim, falling 105 feet to the floor below. The hike to Whispering Cave was more strenuous then most of the others (except for Cantwell Cliffs), but it was our favorite. 

Cockles Hollow - Conkle’s Hollow is a rugged, rocky gorge that’s considered one of the deepest in Ohio. It’s Lower Trail offers a paved, mile-long journey that’s dotted with enormous hemlocks, rock formations, cliffs, and a meandering stream. The Upper Trail is about 2.5 miles long and leads to a spectacular waterfall. It is a stunning sandstone gorge with sheer cliffs that rise 200 feet. It is as narrow as 70 feet in places and is reportedly the deepest canyon in Ohio.The best views are from the east side of the Rim Trail. There is an imposing 96-foot-high waterfall at the northern end of the canyon that is only visible from the Rim Trail. The trail on the west side is farther away from the main canyon but offers views into side canyons. It is cooler, wetter, and more shaded.

Rock House - Nestled deep in the woods, the Rock House Trail is memorable for hikers of all ages. This scenic quarter-mile route resembles a South American jungle in the summertime! Once at the Rock House, feel free to explore the cave’s gothic-like windows and enjoy spectacular views of the green valley below. a rocky room that is 200 feet long, 25 feet high, and up to 30 feet deep inside a brightly colored cliff. There are 120 steps along the quarter-mile hike. Rock House includes seven windowlike openings with a Gothic feel. The openings in the rock are halfway up the face of the 150-foot-tall cliff.

Indians once lived in Rock House. A 16-room resort hotel was built near the Rock House in 1835. You will see graffiti from the 19th century on some rocks. The trail at Rock House is a relatively short loop trail, but some of the grades to the natural cave and back are very steep.

Cantwell Cliffs - Cantwell Cliffs is arguably the most isolated section of Hocking Hills State Park. It features 150-foot-high cliffs, massive rock outcroppings, large recess caves, deep woods, and narrow passages between downed boulders and the cliff along its trails. The Fat Woman's Squeeze is one such passage. It is the most rugged section of Hocking Hills and its trails are the steepest. It was largely carved by Buck Run. The trail at Cantwell Cliffs is a 1 mile loop trail that goes first along the cliff rim and then down to the cliff base around and back up again. The trail is strenuous with sharp drop-offs in places. I would definitely recommend Cantwell Cliffs - I'm disappointed that most of my pictures I took here somehow were deleted - but it is absolutely beautiful and a really adventurous hike!

Overall, we really enjoyed our anniversary getaway, the scenic nature, and each other in Hocking Hills!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

St Louis Missouri and the Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot (63 stories) monument in St. Louis Missouri. 
The Gateway Arch weighs 43,226 tons and the foundations are about 60 feet deep.Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch (catenary means it is the shape a free-hanging chain takes when held at both ends), it is the world's tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri's tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to "the American people," it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.

The Arch was designed by architect Eero Saarinen in 1947; construction began on February 12, 1963, and was completed on October 28, 1965, for $13 million. Thanks to hundreds of workers, the Arch was completed within budget and without the loss of one life. The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967. It is located at the site of St. Louis' founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Located under the arch is The Museum of Westward Expansion

This is the door to the trams.... the trams go up every 5 - 10 minutes depending on if one or both are running. They are pretty small - only 5 people can be in each tram.

Inside of the tram...

Tram selfie...

We made it to the top!

Looking East to Illinois

Looking West to St. Louis

On a clear day, the view at the top can extend up to thirty miles in either direction. However, St. Louis can be a very hazy city, which reduces visibility at the top. On cool, damp mornings, a dense fog can create zero visibility at the top.

The hubby looking at the view from the observation deck.. The windows are 7" x 27", with 16 windows on each side of the observation deck. They are small because over 500 tons of pressure was used to pry the north and south legs of the Arch apart for the last four-foot piece to be placed at the top. A larger window would not withstand that pressure.

Looking down at the Old Courthouse

Hubby and I standing under the Gateway Arch

The Arch is designed to sway as much as 18 inches, and can withstand an earthquake, however under normal conditions the Arch does not sway. It takes a 50-mile an hour wind to move the top 1.5 inches each side of the center.

Stephen and Faith down by the river...


We explored the Old Courthouse, a historical landmark where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for freedom from slavery and Virginia Minor fought for women’s right to vote. There are many exhibits describing how St. Louis served as a hub for early settlers moving west.

Stephen and Faith on the Old Courthouse steps

Looking East from the Old Courthouse steps towards the Arch.

Inside the beautiful Old Courthouse.

Old original stone floors in the Old Courthouse.

 I loved this picture with the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse in the background.... we enjoyed a fun morning visiting St. Louis and The Gateway Arch!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

College of the Ozarks, Missouri Trip

"The vision of College of the Ozarks is to develop citizens of Christ-like character who are well-educated, hard-working, and patriotic."

College of the Ozarks is a Christian liberal-arts college, with its campus at Point Lookout near Branson, Missouri. It is 40 miles south of Springfield on a 1,000-acre campus, overlooking Lake Taneycomo. The college has an enrollment of 1,450, over 30 academic majors, and degrees in Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

The College charges no tuition for full-time students, due to its student work program and donations. The program requires students to work 15 hours a week at an on-campus work station and two 40-hour work weeks during breaks. A summer work program is available to cover room and board costs. The college refers to itself as "Hard Work U.", and places emphasis in "character" education.

Faith at the Administration Building
We enjoyed a tour of the college campus, visiting the class buildings, walking by Lake Honor, learning about the work program, visiting dorms, and enjoyed the beauty and coolness of the Church after being outside in the heat! After our tour, we spent the rest of the day and the next morning looking at all the college has to offer.

Some of the places we visited were:

 The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility. It has fifteen beautifully decorated suites. You can enjoy a casual lunch or an intimate dinner for two in Dobyns Dining Room offering something for every taste. We visited the College Creamery and enjoyed student-made ice cream made with the College of the Ozark’s fresh dairy cream. Under the expanse of 95,000 square feet, one can find everything from intimate, elegantly-appointed meeting rooms to state-of-the-art conference facilities, all four-star accommodations and exquisite fine dining.

Fruitcake & Jelly Kitchen has produced its famous fruitcakes on campus since 1934, and today student workers, along with supervisors, bake more than 25,000 cakes a year. We were welcomed in the kitchen where a variety of jellies and the College's delicious apple butter are also made and sold. And we got to taste samples of their fruitcake!

Edwards Mill, is powered by a twelve-foot water wheel turned by runoff water from nearby Lake Honor. Student workers grind whole-grain meal and flour, available for purchase inside the building. We also visited with students who were hard at work upstairs in the weaving studio, where students design and produce rugs, shawls, place mats and other items on traditional looms, and students hand-weave baskets.

Williams Memorial Chapel is an outstanding example of neo-Gothic architecture. The structure,  measures 150 feet long and 80 feet wide, with an 80-foot-high vaulted ceiling and impressive stained glass windows. Attached to the chapel is the Hyer Bell Tower. The church was beautiful inside and out!

Lyons Memorial Library provides resources that support the curriculum, activities, and mission of the College of the Ozarks at both the collegiate level and at the School of the Ozarks Laboratory School

Point Lookout offers panoramic views of the Ozark hills, Branson 76 highway, and the beautiful Lake Taneycomo. Located just a short walk from the Willams Memorial Chapel and Ralph Foster Museum, this is a tranquil and breathtaking must-see during your College of the Ozarks visit.

The Ralph Foster Museum is dedicated to the history of the Ozarks region. The museum houses thousands of artifacts representing archeology, history, firearms, antiques, numismatics, natural history, fine arts, geology and mineralogy. One of the more famous exhibits is the original vehicle used in the television series "The Beverly Hillbillies." The Ralph Foster Museum houses one of the largest collections of firearms in the US.

Gittinger Music Center serves as a learning and practice facility for The College Handbell Choir, Chorale, Screaming Bobcats Pep Band, and Chapel Choir. The Edith Gittinger Music Center offers students some of the finest music facilities in the state. It houses acoustically-engineered practice rooms, audio/visually equipped class rooms, a piano lab, electronic music studio, and dedicated choral and instrumental rehearsal rooms.

The Gaetz Tractor Museum features a variety of antique tractors and farm equipment. Noteworthy items include a gray Wallis from 1918 and a reaper produced in 1910. It also has on display a two headed calf that was born at the college dairy.

The W. Alton Jones Dairy is run by College Of The Ozark students. The milk is used at the Keeter Center and they also use the milk in their homemade ice cream - which is very tasty! You can watch the students milk the dairy cows everyday.

The Hoge Greenhouses, are home to the Clint McDade orchid collection. Mr. McDade, one of the School's first students, donated the nucleus of the collection, which today numbers more than 7,000 plants. Individual orchids and other houseplants are for sale at the greenhouse. They also grow all the flowers used in the beautiful landscaping throughout the College Campus.

Places that we didn't have time to visit this trip:

The Lest We Forget 9/11 Memorial features a World Trade Center column which stands as a memorial to the 2,996 lives lost on September 11, 2001. Known as "St. Michael's 37" (in honor of 37 Port Authority officers killed), the column and flanges resemble the body and wings of an angel. It now stands as a memorial to those whose lives were lost in New York City, the Pentagon, and the fields of Pennsylvania.

Patriots Park sits near the entrance of campus and contains The Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial which honors the 1,410 servicemen and women from Missouri who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. Built and designed by students, this memorial serves as Missouri’s official Vietnam memorial. The black granite walls are divided – reflecting the division of America. The statue in the middle represents the servicemen and women who stood in the gap and did what their nation asked of them. The red, flower-filled ‘V’ stands for valor and represents the blood that was shed during the war. The Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial, which honors Gold Star Families (those who have lost immediate family members killed in their service to the country), preserves the memory of the fallen, and stands as a stark reminder that freedom is not free.

The College of the Ozarks Bookstore offers College of the Ozarks and Hard Work U. logo items that can be purchased to show your support for College of the Ozarks.

Memorial Field house and Keeter Gymnasium is a 3,500 seat arena.The field house has three basketball courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, weight room, racquetball courts, dance studio, volleyball, badminton and table tennis facilities. In 2009 a 21,888-square-foot fitness center was added.

The college also has it's own Fire Department,  Post Office, College Press, Stained Glass Window Business, Nursing Clinic, Plaster Business Building, Science and Agriculture Centers a Farmers Market (seasonal) and more!

We were so impressed. Everyone on campus was friendly, polite and helpful. The grounds were gorgeous and immaculate. The area is maintained by the students under the supervision of the staff. if you are ever in the area, take some time and explore this beautiful campus... you will also be supporting the students who work and study there.

Arial View of the College of the Ozarks Campus

The Best of 2016


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