Private plane rides, European-style castles and gourmet cuisine: you wouldn’t expect to see these things in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Just an hour’s drive southeast of easily accessible Columbus, there’s a secluded and mysterious pocket of luxury.
Glenlaurel is a Scottish-style country inn located in Rockbridge, Ohio. The beautiful property and topography does resemble the aristocracy-owned hunting lodges of Scotland. Accommodations options include suites, “crofts” (a Scottish word for smaller homes) and cottages. The cottages, with hot tubs and gas fireplaces, were built in a circle, yet built at angles that their vistas are completely private. High-level executives and members of society have met “neighbors” in the center of the circle, complete with grills and picnic benches, and subsequently vacation there at the same date each year. The cottages have created their own little Scottish village society in a very real way.
The inn has Scottish links golf, a spa and beautifully groomed walking trails. They also have a fine dining restaurant serving delicacies like juicy stuffed pheasant and garden-fresh vegetable soups. Scottish touches abound, such as water being served in cold, pewter Celtic vessels, Scottish poetry is read at dinner and bagpipe music plays. There’s a fun-loving Scottish pub downstairs.
Take a modern break from it all and get a private bird’s eye view of the area in a 4-seater plane ride. Whether you fly from 20 minutes or more, veteran pilot Harry Sowers has over 40 years’ flying experience. With Hocking Hills Scenic Air Tours, you’ll see the natural beauty of the Ohio River area.
If a Medieval royal – or guild member – experience of Britain fires your imagination, you have to check out Ravenswood Castle and Medieval Villages. Dine – or sip tea – in a great hall, complete with heraldry-bedecked hearth. Stay in rooms fit for any of Europe’s palaces in the castle. The basement bedroom -- the Duke’s Dungeon -- caters to more exotic tastes: the bed is a (stretch) rack built for two.
Surrounding the castle are private little cottages. For a funky, yet modestly priced option, they also have gypsy wagons to stay in . . . just like days of yore.