Hocking Hills Comfort Food Cruise
The Hocking Hills region is known for its scenic beauty, but an emerging culinary scene is giving people a new, tasty reason to visit. As I hike through Old Man’s Cave enjoying the serenity brought on by winter’s chill, I cannot help but look forward to warming up after the walk. I can almost smell the mini cinnamon rolls and hot coffee at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center and the homemade chicken & noodles at the Olde Dutch Restaurant.
A host of restaurants in the region will open their doors during the 2016 Comfort Food Cruise, which takes places over three weekends: January 23 & 24, January 30 & 31 and February 6 & 7.
The Comfort Food Cruise lets you visit 13 establishments where you can sample everything from Biscuits and Gravy to Chocolate Churros. At each stop you get a sample of food and a souvenir. This is a great way to try local fare and keep notes on your favorite places to re-visit on your next trip to the region. Tickets are only $18 with $5 going to support local food banks.
Participating restaurants include: Pearl’s Diner, Jack’s Steak House, Maya Burrito, the Boot Factory Grill, Pizza Crossing, Sandy Sue’s Silver Diner, Millstone BBQ, Hocking Hills Dining Lodge, M&M Family Diner, Olde Dutch Restaurant, Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls , Ridge Inn Restaurant and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center.
In between samples, I recommend visiting some of the trails in the area, which cater to all fitness levels. Old Man’s Cave is a favorite and Ash Cave is an easy stroll. For those looking for a little more strenuous exercise, check out Cedar Falls and the Conkle’s Hollow area.
Winter is a beautiful time to visit the hocking hills when the winter chill adds an extra stillness to the natural beauty. If you’re lucky enough to catch the waterfalls become natural ice sculptures and the barren tress that reveal the true depth of the forest, it will be a visit you never forget.
Your toughest decision besides what to sample first on the Comfort Food Cruise is whether to hike first and work up an appetite or eat first, then work it off later. Either way promises a memorable visit to one of the best winter destinations in Ohio.