Lodge at Hocking College offers comfortable rooms, craft beers

NELSONVILLE – The Hocking Hills are a great day trip destination, with majestic views and captivating activities just 90 minutes southeast of Columbus. But visitors who can spend a night or more in the scenic area will be amply rewarded.

Not only can overnight visitors visit the beautiful area at a more leisurely pace, but they can also explore a wide variety of accommodation options.

Bed and breakfasts in the Hocking Hills range from luxurious lodges and secluded cabins to leafy campsites and budget inns. And now, a new overnight destination in Nelsonville, the Lodge at Hocking College, offers a delightful but unexpected adventure in pedagogy – wait for it.

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Hocking College offers its students a variety of hands-on opportunities in many travel and tourism-related programs, to the great benefit of travelers and tourists alike who take advantage of the university’s premier affiliated businesses around Nelsonville.

Businesses include the renovated pavilion adjacent to the college campus, purchased by the college and fully renovated and reopened this year.

Lodge rooms have beds and other furniture made by students, staff and alumni.

The charming lodge is not only a comfortable place to stay, but also provides a hands-on experience for students learning hospitality and event management and many other areas.

The lodge offers 39 rooms, including four large loft rooms, as well as event and meeting spaces.

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Upon entering, guests will find a magnificent lobby with beams and A-beams, featuring a cozy fireplace, a cozy seating area and an adjacent bar.

Rhapsody Music & Dining is a restaurant operated by students and professionals in the Culinary Arts program at Hocking College.

The lodge’s rustic decor is reflected in the lovely guest rooms, furnished with wooden bed frames made with sustainably harvested wood from the college property and crafted by the staff and students of the Wood Harvesting Program and maintenance of school trees.

The bedrooms also have oak side tables, barn-style interior doors, and emerald glass sinks.

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Lodge guests can also schedule spa services, managed, of course, by the college’s massage therapy program.

Staff and students of the University Fermentation Science program savor their own creations at the lodge's lobby bar.

Animal lovers will be happy to know that pets up to 50 pounds are welcome at the lodge.

And even if you don’t have pets with you, the lodge’s free WiFi makes it a great place to watch the latest cat videos on YouTube after a day of hiking the secluded trails with five rock formations. stars but no cell signal.

At the end of such a recent day, I gave up on cat videos and opted for the lobby bar.

There, I hoisted a pint with instructor Eric Hedin and several of his students from the college’s fermentation science program.

The pints we hoisted were, of course, delicious beers brewed by students at the college’s small brewery, Star Brick Brewing, located in the lodge.

A mural near Nelsonville's public square depicts the city's famous star bricks.

“I love passing on my knowledge,” said Hedin, the college fermentation specialist (How’s a title?) Nelsonville.

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Civilization started with brewing, Hedin suggested, which didn’t seem unlikely at all as I enjoyed my juicy, misty beer.

Among Hedin’s current students is Mackenzie Holt, the first woman to participate in the relatively new fermentation program.

Visitors enjoy a street festival in the picturesque Nelsonville Public Square.

Holt said she developed a passion for beer and brewing while working at the BrewDog pub in Columbus.

“Now I want to learn more and help women feel more accepted in the brewing industry,” Holt said.

For my dinner, the brewers recommended the college restaurant, Rhapsody Music & Dining, located in the charming Nelsonville Public Square, less than three miles from the lodge. After my experience with varsity lodge and varsity beer, I was ready to try old school varsity food.

Managed by managers, students, and professional chefs from the college’s Culinary Arts program, the restaurant offered another unexpected treat, a first-class casual dining experience on the edge of the Appalachian foothills.

The vines on the grounds of the lodge will one day produce grapes for the student winegrowers.

My first course, the gazpacho, was wonderful. But I was a little saddened to learn that the restaurant was out of my choice of appetizer, pork chops.

Instead, the waitress made a surprising suggestion – walleye.

“You won’t be disappointed,” she promised.

Stephens

“That’s a pretty big talk,” I thought to myself, “sitting here in Nelsonville, 150 miles (150 km) from the nearest walleye shoal. “

But I didn’t have to worry. The fresh walleye, encrusted with a tasty but light layer of salt and vinegar chips, was better prepared than any fish I had eaten in Lake Erie this summer.

Need I add that Rhapsody also serves Star Brick beer?

The Fermentation Science college program also produces spirits at the Black Diamond Distillery in New Straitsville.

The waitress, to her undying credit, also gave me a sample of another Hocking College Fermentation Science product, pawpaw moonshine, made at the university-owned Black Diamond Distillery in nearby New Straitsville where the annual Moonshine festival.

It was, overall, an unforgettable meal.

Other college-affiliated businesses that travelers may enjoy are the Hungry Hawk Food Truck, which serves meals at regional events; Snowden Lake, a public lake and park managed by the college’s School of Natural Resources; and the Campus Nature Center, also run by the Natural Resources Program and offering information on Ohio’s wildlife and geology.

Steve Stephens is a freelance travel writer and photographer. Email him at [email protected]

If you are going to

The Lodge at Hocking College is located at 15770 State Route 691 in Nelsonville. Rates start at $ 135 a night. To book or get more information, call 740-753-3531 or visit thelodge.hocking.edu. For more information on college beer and spirits, including brewery and distilleries tour opportunities, visit sudsandspirits.hocking.edu.

For information or reservations for Rhapsody Music & Dining, visit rhapsody.hocking.edu.

For more information on other accommodations, activities and events in the Hocking Hills, visit explorehockinghills.com.


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