Jessica Festa a RoamRight Blog Author

The Must-Visit Destination You've Never Heard Of: Hocking Hills

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While there are many destinations travelers are constantly told are great to experience, sometimes it's nice to explore somewhere lesser known to discover what else is out there. One top U.S. getaway not many know about is Hocking Hills in Ohio, as it's home to a wide array of attractions and experiences, not to mention beautiful scenery. To help you plan your trip, here is a guide to Hocking Hills.

Stay

For a stay that really reflects local culture, the Inn at Cedar Falls is a log cabin and wood cottage accommodation constructed by hand from locally sourced wood. The onsite restaurant serves local ingredients and helps guests pair dishes with regional beers, rooms feature decorations crafted by local artisans and the onsite spa offers a broad range of natural and holistic treatments. Additionally, the property puts on an array of events and activities, like beer and wine tastings, cooking classes, cookie baking and more.

Go For A Hike

One of the main draws to Hocking Hills is its natural setting – not to mention that in Ohio state parks are all free to enjoy. Head to Hocking Hills State Park, home to six different hiking areas including Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Old Man's Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House and Conkle's Hollow, all natural attractions offering unique views. One of the park's most popular trails is the 6-mile- (9.7-kilometer-) one-way Grandma Gatewood Trail, which stretches from Ash Cave to Cedar Falls to Old Man's Cave, allowing you to experience more than one cave. The moderate hike is scenic, and you’ll see waterfalls, sand-floor caves, striking rock formations and a lush hemlock forest.

Go Ghost Hunting

Speaking of Hocking Hills State Park, did you know that it’s haunted? There are a number of ghost stories centered around this natural attraction, like the tale of Mary, who was murdered at the hotel that once resided in the park, as well as the ghost of Richard Howe and his dogs who still roam the park after dark. It should be no surprise, then, that one of the park's naturalists, Pat Quackenbush, is also an experienced ghost hunter. Author of “Haunted Hocking: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide,” Pat will show you how to use spirit boxes, paranormal meters, EVP recorders, full spectrum cameras, and electro-magnetic field detectors as he takes you around the park to hunt for the undead.

See The World's Largest Collection Of Pencil Sharpeners

One of the world's quirkiest museum experiences can be found in Hocking Hills, specifically at the Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum. Boasting the only museum of its kind on the planet, visitors will see more than 3,400 pencil sharpeners, all separated into different groups with no two alike. View everything from pencil sharpener cartoon characters to hamburgers to sports balls to furniture and beyond.

Get Active On The Water

As stated above, Hocking Hills is known for its natural offerings. After partaking in the land-based activities, opt to explore the Hocking River by kayaking, rafting or canoeing. You can rent a boat from the Hocking Hills Canoe Livery, which can set you up with a knowledgeable guide. The water is calm and smooth, allowing you to take in the idyllic scenery in a relaxing manner.

Explore Local Artisan Culture

Something truly special about Hocking Hills is the way small businesses and artisans work together for the benefit of the community. Doing some local browsing and shopping is a great way to support local artisans while also getting to ask questions and learn about local culture. First there’s the Wind Chime Shop, a whimsical store owned by couple Judy and Mike Hard where you can browse wind chimes, Christmas ornaments, china and even make your own candles from a large selection of scents. Then there’s Scenic Way, where the products of local artisans are showcased, with a focus on wood and glass works. And at the Columbus Washboard Company, you can tour the USA’s only washboard museum and factory, with hand-made products assembled one at a time.

Get To Know Indigenous Culture

Hocking Hills is home to an existing Shawnee Indian culture, as the tribe originated in the state of Ohio, with a population that once reached over 10,000. Hocking Hills Adventure Trek is a company that offers naturalist-led hikes through Hocking Hills' lesser-traversed Saltpetre Caves Nature Preserve, which end in a storytelling experience with Shawnee Indian, Wehyehpihehrsehnhwah. He'll tell the story of his ancestors, starting from a time when humans and animals worked together to survive. You'll also hear Wehyehpihehrsehnhwah play a traditional Indian flute. And when you depart, you’ll have a new understanding of the meaning of life.

Have you been convinced to add Hocking Hills to your travel wish list?

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About the Author

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa, a RoamRight Blog Author Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

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