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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.

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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.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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Getaways

Escape Columbus winter with 5 flights under $200 RT

Colleen Quinn

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If you're like us, February has you day dreaming of warmer weather and elaborate escape plans. Well, folks, it is time for a break that won’t break the bank, and we have you covered.

Below are five winter escapes from Columbus for less than $200 round trip and direct (heck yeah). Now let’s turn those day dreams into sunny realities!

PRO TIP: Flight fares fluctuate often based on many different factors. Use Skyscanner or Hopper to search flights and set alerts for inexpensive flights!

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

Throw your winter blues out the window with a trip to southern Florida’s East Coast. Fort Lauderdale has all that good stuff you are looking for from a sunny holiday: beautiful beaches, crystal blue water, incredible food, tasty cocktails, and fantastic hotels. Plus, ever wanted to zip around on one of those airboats?! Take a trip to the nearby Everglades for a chance to spot a Florida gator!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK (Rickenbacker Intl Columbus) > FLL (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $126 ($70 with no baggage)

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

Florida’s West Coast makes the list, too, with a visit to the sunny Gulf Coast. Bar hop along Fort Myer’s Beach, shop the trendy downtown streets, or get a history fix in at the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford winter estate.

A must-do here is visiting the neighboring islands of Sanibel and Captiva to rent bikes for the day. Explore the beautiful nature reserves, mangroves, beaches and do some bird watching!

Airline: Spirit Airlines
Route: CMH (John Glenn Columbus Intl Airport) > RSW (Southwest Florida Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $187 ($85 with no baggage)

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Savannah is seeping with southern charm and elegance. You cannot help but become enchanted by the cobblestone streets, large live oaks, and Spanish moss that line the streets of Savannah.

Bring your walking shoes as that is the only method of transportation you will need to get around. Walk the historic district, city parks, and markets to take in all the southern architecture and flare.

Eat your way around with all the southern style dishes you could dream of, and catch live tunes at the lively music bars. Savannah is a destination you will not be disappointed you took the time to visit!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK > SAV (Savannah/Hilton Head Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $198 ($100 with no baggage)

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Sticking with the southern charm, hop on a flight to check out what Charleston has in store. Friendly people, amazing food, trendy coffee shops, endless rooftop bars and bourbon tasting are just a few of the reasons this city attracts so many visitors each year.

You will feel like you are in a post card as you walk the cobblestones streets lined with candy colored pastel houses, and we are here for it!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK > CHS (Charleston Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $163 ($98 with no baggage)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Via Las Vegas! Does this place really even need an introduction? If you have never been to Vegas, you have to go at least once, so why not this winter? Glitz, glam, gambling, elaborate shows, restaurants, clubs, hotels, shopping, and adventure await you on the Vegas strip.

If Vegas is not your cup of tea… book the flight, rent a car and make the 2.5 hour drive to Zion National Park in Utah for a STUNNING representation of America’s southwestern territory with massive canyons, cliffs, lakes, waterfalls, and hanging gardens.

Airline: Spirit Airlines
Route: CMH > LAS (McCarran Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $189 ($113 with no baggage)

Winter drags, but it doesn’t have to if you give yourself something to look forward to… Get packing!

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Getaways

Weekend Getaway: 8 things to do in Yellow Springs this winter

Colleen Quinn

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A quick 45 minutes west of Columbus you will find the quaint hippie-esque town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The streets are filled with independent coffee shops, book stores, locally-sourced eateries, and picturesque nature walks. It does not take long to feel welcomed by the locals in this laid back town—there is always a friendly face up for a chat, making you feel part of the magic of this 3,800 person community. What to do on a winter weekend getaway to Yellow Springs, Ohio…

The Winter Farmer’s Market

Bring a bit of the Yellow Springs charm home with you from the Winter Farmer’s Market! Open every Saturday morning December through March in the great room at the Yellow Springs Senior Center, this event offers local honey, coffee, maple syrup, salts, marinades, spices, artesian soaps, centerpieces, and more.

Shop Xenia Ave

This main drag through town is littered with local shops, book stores, independent coffee houses, and galleries. Grab the popular frozen hot chocolate at Dino’s Coffee, and shop your way through locally made-hand goods, home décor, jewelry, clothing, and trinkets.

Walk Keith’s Alley

A Yellow Springs hidden gem, Keith’s Alley lays behind the main shopping drag of Xenia Ave. A perfect addition to this artsy progressive town, this beautiful alley way is filled with unique murals that are often changing!

Yellow Springs Brewery

Time for a brew? Make a pit stop at the Yellow Springs Brewery for some craft beer, board games, food trucks, and super cool décor at this funky taproom.

Eat local at two of the best restaurants in town: Sunrise Café and Winds Café

Sunrise Café – "Local. From scratch. With love," is the motto at Sunrise Café. This café sources it’s ingredients locally from over 20 Ohio farms and almost everything is prepared fresh from scratch in house. This is a dining experience your taste buds do not want to miss.

Winds Café – With an ever-changing bimonthly seasonal food menu, you will be sure to taste the freshest of locally sourced ingredients at Winds Café. If wine is calling your name, this is your spot! Check out one of their wine dinners and tastings while you are in town.

Take in the scenery

Explore any of the trails and footpaths surrounding Yellow Springs. It may be a little chilly, but grab some gloves and take a wintery stroll through the Glen Helen preserve, or along the river at Clifton Gorge.

Glen Helen

Catch an independent film at the Little Art Theater

Founded in 1929, the Little Theater is a small piece of Yellow Springs history. You can catch independent, foreign, classic, documentary, and mainstream movies in this little (now renovated) theater.

Stay in an old Jailhouse

If you are already sold on a visit to Yellow Springs then you must be wondering where you should stay. While ‘"jail" may not be your first option, think again! This 1878 jailhouse was used as the town jail until 1929 and has been converted into suites. Now you can become an ‘Inn-mate’ at the Jailhouse Suites!

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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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