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Under the Stars

Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth. Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right [...]
614now Staff

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Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark

The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth.

Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right time.

But every once in awhile, the clouds part on your iCal, and an email arrives that will lead to one of those rare times where you get to do something special.

Yes, in fact, I would like to spend a night in Leveque Tower. It’s an offer I couldn’t refuse, and now for a few hundred bucks a night, you can take in the impressive art deco luxury of the city’s most famous building—one that, most people don’t know‚ has spent a large part of its modern years mostly vacant.

Now, with the new 10-floor Hotel Leveque, a new venture from Marriott’s Autograph collection, the structure that once was the fifth tallest building in the world, has a revitalized purpose.

“It’s basically a rebirth,” said Michael Shannon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “This building is alive again.”

Shannon took us (and now we take you!) on a tour of the new facility, the capstone of  a multi-million dollar renovation to what was just added to the Architectural Digest’s Top 10  Art Deco Buildings in the World.

The team at Hotel Leveque didn’t have to do much reinvention when it came to the look of the hotel. It’s art deco, all-day. Tiles, furniture, artwork—every piece of the hotel (other than the main floor Starbucks) looks plucked from the 1930s, when the Leveque was the tallest building between NYC and Chicago.

Literally one of the first American skyscrapers, The Leveque was thought to “touch the sky,” which is alluded to in the many stars and half-moons featured on the building’s terra cotta exterior.  Hotel Leveque was built on that celestial theme, from the chandelier above the lobby, to the astrology-themed decor you’ll find in most rooms. (There’s even a turndown service that lights up constellations on the ceiling above the bed—sleeping under the stars!)

Fun fact about a new hotel in an old, unique building: you kind of have to design around the structure’s bones, which resulted in a bit of serendipity: every room in Hotel Leveque is a unique design, 33 variations in total. “You’ll never stay in the same room twice,” Shannon says. In total, the hotel features six suites, all stacked on top of one another, which Shannon expects to be a target of Red, White, and Boom fans for their view of the Scioto. The bathrooms are perhaps the hotel’s most consistent feature, featuring impeccable tilework, incredibly spacious showers, and as a nice local touch—free grooming products from Columbus’s Cliff Original.

While the restaurant is slated to open its doors later this summer, overnight guests and anyone in Columbus can amble up the steps to hotel’s second-floor bar, The Keep. In Shannon’s words, “the new traveler is looking for adventure and experience,” and they can find plenty at The Keep, which, along with finely crafted cocktails comes the feeling you’ve snuck into a little secret spot.

The arrival desk is a good mix of all the things that separate Hotel Leveque from your average fancy hotel. From valet to bellman to check-in, I’m greeted by a different person each time, yet they speak to me with knowledge of something from my background. Shannon later tells me this is what they call “tough points.” Other little touches: Their uniforms have been designed by local fashion designer Liz Bourgeois. With just 149 rooms, Shannon boasts that such a small guest list enables them to do other things larger hotels can’t. “If you became a regular here, we’d know you like Diet Coke,” he says.

For more information about Hotel LeVeque, visit bit.ly/2qdq0K1.

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Getaways

Worth the Drive: Charming Tuscan wine getaway just 2 hours from Columbus

Regina Fox

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What if I told you Tuscany was only two hours away? Okay, okay, so it's not actually Tuscany, but it certainly is a taste! I'm talking about Gervasi Vineyard near Canton, Ohio. This scenic wine resort will transport you out of the mundane scenes of Ohio into a 55-acre European destination with its delicious wine, delectable food, and delightful accommodations.

The Wine

Ohio will never be Italy or even Napa Valley, but Gervasi's operation could give them a run for their money. All wines are made from hand-selected from Gervasi's five-acre vineyard, and the three grape varieties allow more than 20 delicious wines to be made for your drinking pleasure.

The Food

Gervasi Vineyard has four—count 'em FOUR—dining options throughout its beautiful campus to suit every social need. The Bistro serves rustic, upscale Italian cuisine in a beautifully-restored, historic barn. The Crush House is a more laid-back, contemporary dining option with soups, salads, sandwiches, and, of course, lots of wine. If you visit Gervasi in the warmer months, you'll want to check out The Piazza—an outdoor dining area with views of Gervasi’s spring-fed lake, yard games, and live music. And finally, The Still House is an intimate, chapel-inspired attraction offering signature Gervasi Café coffee and pastries by day and distilled spirits by night.

The Stay

After a long day of sipping merlot, you ought not get behind the wheel. Instead, lay your little lush head down in any one of Gervasi's three overnight options: a boutique hotel, a rustic farmhouse, or, my personal favorite, The Villas.

Entering these Tuscan-inspired suites is like stepping foot onto Italian soil. Cozy fireplaces, heated travertine floors, and European décor provide an environment so rich and cultural you'll forget you're actually in northeast Ohio. And when you wake up in the morning, all snug in your big comfy bed, a complimentary breakfast will be waiting for you in the lobby.

Things To Do

In addition to the obvious—vineyard tours, distillery tours, eating, drinking, being merry—Gervasi has a robust events calendar during every season. For the warm months, you can twist alongside the grapevines with yoga classes, and dance around the fire pits to outdoor concerts. When the temperature dips down, Gervasi moves inside with holiday events, culinary classes, and live music.

Gervasi Vineyard is 1700 55th St. NE Canton, just about two hours from Columbus. To make reservations and learn more, visit gervasivineyard.com.

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Getaways

4 cozy cabins in Ohio that’ll make winter your favorite season

Colleen Quinn

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Yes, winter is cold, but with cold comes cozy! 

Picture this: You’ve got your fuzzy socks on, a cup of hot coco in one hand, and a good book in the other. The sound of a crackling fireplace lingers in the background as you glance out to the snow-coated country side and realize…you are in your own little snow globe paradise!

Sounds lovely doesn’t it?

Oh, and let us not forget the best part…hot tubs! There is something so satisfactory about soaking in steaming hot water as the chill of winter wonderland beauty surrounds you, am I right?

No need for winter blues when you can create your own winter oasis at one of the many cozy cabins located right here in Ohio!  

Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

A perfect place for a relaxing cabin getaway. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is tucked away on 75 acres of woodland forest, conveniently surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park. Enjoy a secluded and relaxing weekend soaking in the whirlpool hot tub, snuggling up by the gas log fire, and enjoying the peaceful serenity provided by the wintery nature around you. 

Freshly-baked cookies always await your arrival here and all accommodations include a hearty breakfast, too.

Oakwood Cabins

Also located in the winter wonderland of Hocking Hills are the cozy log cabins of Oakwood. Each charming yet modern cabin is set in a secluded location, giving you the privacy required for a rejuvenating getaway. Feel the cold breeze on your face as you sink into the screened-in outdoor hot tub and relax away each day by watching old DVD’s. If adventure is calling your name, strap on some winter hiking boots to explore the nearby Ash or Old Man’s Cave!

Murphin Ridge Inn

Escape to the Amish country of southern Ohio this winter by visiting the quaint cabins at Murphin Inn. Marvel at the snow-coated views of the Appalachian foothills, spanning across 140 acres of rolling woodland and farm. Spend the day exploring the Amish-owned boutiques, antique shops, and bakeries in the neighborhoods nearby. Upon return, cozy up by the indoor or outdoor fire pits with a good book and great company. Come morning time, enjoy a bountiful country breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice. 

Mohican Pines Cabin Rentals

Peacefully located on quiet country roads far from traffic or noise you will find the luxury cabins of Mohican Pines near Mohican State Park. The cabins are far from any town, allowing the stars to shine brighter than ever. Admire the snow covered pine forest and valley from the patio or steamy hot tub and enjoy your winter bliss. 

Grab your loved ones and make this winter extra cozy. Beware, you may find yourself so cozy that winter becomes your new favorite season!

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Getaways

Cabin Fever: Bask in a bird’s-eye view at Mohican Treehouses

Olivia Balcerzak

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In 2011, Kevin Mooney created Mohican Treehouses, a small village of upscale treehouses in the middle of the woods in Glenmont, Ohio. Since then, Mooney has created a large barn and hired staff to make the nine houses (and one soon-to-be tent) both a getaway spot for families and a barn-wedding venue for couples and space for their families to stay. (614) had the chance to chat with Mooney to see what’s going on in his treehouse cabins, and what you can expect when you visit.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

(614): How did Mohican Tree Houses get its start and where have you seen it go from there?

KM: I studied Hocking Hills’ business plan and their lodging and determined that this area here is going to have a lot of lodging down the road, so I started off building these rental cabins. And then a friend of mine talked to me about treehouses and then I bumped into someone that took a class on how to build a treehouse. When I first built treehouses, I couldn’t give it away to friends and family. When [my friend] called me the second time and said, ‘I want to build a treehouse with you on a TV show (Animal Planet, Treehouse Masters) and it will be the second treehouse,’ I jumped at the chance. We built the treehouse not knowing if the show was going to work. And then once the show worked, it just took off.

(614): When people arrive at the Tree Houses and the venue itself what should they expect to see?

You can expect, if it’s a treehouse, to be left alone. You’re on 77 acres; you do a self check-in. You’re going to hear a lot of Mother Nature. You’re going to feel really out in the middle of nowhere. This one I’m looking at right now I have a 25-foot spiral staircase that is 4 feet wide and goes up 25 feet to a suspension bridge. The suspension bridge is 100 feet long and when you go into this treehouse, you step in and on the other side of it is a glass garage door. You open up the glass garage door and it feels like you’re out in Mother Nature.

(614): What would be the appeal of staying here as opposed to other winter or summer getaway places?

The tree is the experience because you’re 25 feet off the ground and you can feel that general movement of the tree. I remember someone wrote in one of my books. The mom said, ‘You know, when my kids got here, they weren’t happy. Their cell phones didn’t work, their internet didn’t work,” and she said thank you. “It’s the first time we’ve reconnected with nature in years.” She said by the end of the trip, the kids were loving it. They put their IPads away, they put their cell phones away and reconnected with the family.

(614): One of the biggest pieces of business for the Mohican Treehouses you said was weddings, can you tell me a little more about the process of booking your wedding there?

Most people just find us by the internet and they arrange a tour and we’ll give them a tour and if they book us, we’ll give them a tasting. And we’ve hired an executive chef. Our chef here was invited to be on Chopped and is rated one of the top chefs in Ohio. Out of the last 50 tastings, we’ve only had one couple not book us. The game has changed where the millennials are demanding better quality food, a better experience, and that’s where I think we really shine because we go above and beyond any other place. My people realize if you’re getting married and we’re a part of your wedding, we’re really lucky to be a part of your wedding.

(614): How is the setup of the wedding? Is the venue decorated already?

I have this room where they can take all of these decorations out like lanterns—you see a lot of lanterns at barn weddings, things like that. A lot of high-end decorations, I bought them and for less than $200 the couples can take whatever they want and decorate it themselves. And if they don’t want to do that—we’re full service. We’ll do the photography, the photobooth, the flowers, and we’ll do the DJ.

(614): How many people this year would you say are coming?

We’ll do 90-some weddings this year. And if you want to stay at a treehouse, you better be getting married here or you better be invited to a wedding, because a lot of my Friday brides and grooms will come in on Wednesday and a lot of my Sunday weddings will stay until Tuesday—so really if you want to rent a treehouse, it’s really hard.

(614): What else would you like to say to prospective customers?

My son said it best one time. He said, ‘When we do this, we’re going to get people to feel the dirt, we’re going to get them out of the city and they are going to feel what Mother Nature is like. They’re going to get their hands dirty and make a fire, sit around the treehouse and just relax. Enjoy not having a cell phone service and internet.”

To plan your next adventure to the Mohican Treehouses, visit themohicans.net/treehouses.html.

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