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Get Sporty at Punderson Manor Punderson State Park
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Shoot to Thrill Battle front Paintball
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Horse Around at Heartland Country Resort
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Explore Cleveland Botanical Garden Cleveland Botanical Garden Gingerbread Square
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Pamper Your Pet The Barkley of Cleveland
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Pamper your pet thebarkleypethotel.com
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Get Sporty at Punderson Manor Punderson State Park
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Wine & Dine at Sawmill Creek Resort Sawmill Creek Resort
Aah. The holiday season.
A time of joy, parties and family.
Also a time of vying for parking spaces, untangling strand after strand of Christmas tree lights, and frantically scouring the city to find a store that isn’t sold out of the latest “must-have” toy...
Let’s face it. Decking the halls can lead to blowing a gasket. And when you’ve dragged the Christmas tree into the kitchen so you can decorate it while baking cookies, there’s a good chance your blood pressure is in the “high” range.
To help you once again become a normal-acting person, consider one of these day or overnight trips. We’ve included destinations for the whole family, for couples, for just the girls and even for Fido.
None are a huge time commitment — and your blood pressure will thank you. – The Editors
Wine & Dine at Sawmill Creek Resort
Sawmill Creek Resort
Escape to Sawmill Creek Resort on the shores of Lake Erie for a perfect romantic getaway. Ask for the Winery Package, and stay in a deluxe guestroom — where you’ll find a complimentary wine sampler and souvenir keepsake glasses from Paper Moon Winery.
Start the next day with a hot breakfast, and then explore the resort. Check out the historic 1887 Barn Shops offering a range of gifts, such as apparel, jewelry and toys. Continue winding down with a stop at the Paper Moon Winery in nearby Vermillion. The winery’s stone-and-stucco tasting room invites with a copper tasting bar, tables made of wine barrels and a large fireplace. Sample wines along with lunch choices of panini, soup, flat bread pizza or a cheese plate. Live music at the winery adds to the fun on Friday and Saturday.
Plan to dine at the resort’s Salmon Run Restaurant overlooking Wilderness Creek. Seafood and steaks highlight the menu at this upscale casual restaurant.
And there’s a treat waiting for guests on December evenings. Sawmill Creek Resort celebrates the holidays with a Festival of Lights. Drive to see 32
dazzling light displays on the resort
Explore Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Leave the snow and cold behind when you step into the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glass House at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Pretend you’re in a tropical rainforest as you walk this warm (and humid!) replica of a Costa Rican cloud forest. Colorful butterflies, birds and native plants will catch your eye as you stroll the exhibit, and the aroma of tropical orchids and the sound of waterfalls lend realism to your imaginary journey. And be sure to check out the birds-eye view from the 25-foot canopy walk.
If you’re yearning for dry heat, a second exhibit in the Glass House transports you to the spiny desert of Madagascar, a showcase for endangered plants and exotic animals of this African island country.
Once you’ve had your fill of sweating, check out the Garden’s WinterShow, an annual event named by Scene magazine as “Cleveland’s best holiday display.” You can get some holiday decorating ideas from the large center tree (it’s also a great place to snap a family photo) and from a gallery of 6- to 7-foot Fraser firs, decorated by the Affiliate Garden Clubs. Large animal topiaries in the garden, and poinsettias and amaryllis in the Glass House add to the festive feel. And don’t miss the Gingerbread Display. These amazing edible edifices are featured throughout the Garden.
The fun continues with skating at the adjacent rink on Wade Oval. Skate rentals are available, or you can bring your own. Come back into the warmth of the Garden Café, offering a menu of soups, chili, sandwiches for lunch or hot chocolate and cookies for a snack. A final stop, the Garden Store, stocks beautiful Old-World hand-blown ornaments from Poland and Italy, along with wreaths, stocking stuffers and table top décor.
Snuggle Up for a Sleigh Ride
Ma and Pa’s
maandpas.com Reservations required
Gather family and friends — or just your significant other — and head out to Geauga County for a sleigh ride. Check in at the 1820s log cabin nestled in the woods, and get ready for an old-fashioned journey through woodland and farm fields in a sleigh pulled by black Percheron horses. Cuddle with your honey under fur blankets in an antique sleigh for a romantic night ride available on Friday and Saturday nights. And don’t forget your camera, since there are lots of photo ops along the way.
All sleigh rides come back to the log cabin, where you can warm up by the fireplace, sip hot chocolate or maple coffee, and sample homemade cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies.
No snow and you still want to take a horse-drawn ride? No problem. Ma & Pa’s also offers carriage rides through their scenic property.
You can also do a little last-minute holiday shopping in Ma & Pa’s Gift Shack, where you’ll find furniture, chainsaw carved animals (think bears and moose), clothing and light fixtures. If you’re still looking for that perfect tree, consider Ma and Pa’s fresh cut trees and wreaths.
Get Sporty at Punderson Manor
Punderson State Park
If you like cold weather and are looking for a destination featuring winter sports, you don’t have to go far. At Punderson Manor, you can snowmobile, cross-country ski, ice fish and toboggan down the “Fast & Steep” sled hill.
After working up a cold sweat, come into the Manor to relax by the wood-burning fireplace in the Cherry Dining Room. Plan to have lunch or dinner in this charming dining room, with views overlooking Punderson Lake. You might even spot an ice fisherman. Reservations are necessary for the popular Sunday Brunch.
Grab your sweetheart and escape for a romantic weekend, or bring the whole family. Punderson’s location makes a day trip possible, or book into the historic English Tudor-style mansion. Take your choice of a guest room in the Manor, or reserve a fully furnished two-bedroom cottage. Enjoy the indoor pool, and check out board games and movie rentals at the Manor’s front desk.
‘Spa’ with the Girls
The Spa at Honey Run
Located a short distance from the Inn at Honey Run, this serene, holistic wellness center can be reserved for your group. Ask your girlfriends to join you for a day that will include three treatments, a spa cuisine lunch and time to catch up with your friends. You’ll go home feeling refreshed (and maybe even ready write out those Christmas cards).
The spa cottage is set in woodland with views of nature from every window. Start the day in the Serene Room with a cup of tea by the fireplace. Then get ready to be massaged, scrubbed, wrapped and toned. You might opt for the “Honey Run Head to Toe,” a facial and foot treatment. Take a break for a spa lunch, and come back for the “Experience the Grateful Body Facial” and the “Fruit and Honey Foot Glow.” Reiki treatments (a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation) are another option.
And save time for a learning session with David Pratt, the director of spa services. He offers a 30-minute instruction in Self-Breema Bodywork, a deeply relaxing and nurturing therapy that includes gentle stretching and rhythmic movement. Complete the day with Pratt’s meditation presentation.
Treat yourself to an overnight stay at the Inn at Honey Run, a contemporary country inn that has long been a favorite of Northeast Ohioans — who come for the views, fine dining and lodging choices.
Horse Around at Heartland
Heartland Country Resort
Situated on 76 acres of rolling land, The Heartland Country Resort is a working mini-farm — and Nirvana for horse lovers. This country getaway has it all — scenic wooded trail rides, farm “chores,” luxury lodging in log suites or a family-style lodge, and a great big American-style breakfast.
A narrow gravel road takes you to the red barn-like lodge, where a cozy gathering room welcomes guests with a massive stone fireplace, comfy leather fireside seating, rocking chairs and rustic dining tables. Look forward to a country-style breakfast of pancakes or French toast, egg casserole, sausage and bacon, fresh fruit, granola, juices and homemade breads.
The entire second floor of the lodge offers a spacious guest suite perfect for families or retreat groups, with four queen beds and an adjacent living room. Three log units, The Wildflower, The Native American and The Woodland, built into a hillside, fit seamlessly into the natural setting. Guests love the private space in the log suites with glass-front fireplaces, kitchenettes, cathedral ceilings and two-person Jacuzzis. Your best buddy can also come along to this pet-friendly resort.
Dress warmly for the winter trail ride. Bring your own horse, or ride one of Heartland’s horses through the meadows and woodland trails. Take a riding lesson (English or Western) in the barn arena, and (if you’re not opposed to some manual labor) help with farm chores — gathering eggs, grooming horses and bringing in hay.
Pamper Your Pet
The Barkley of Cleveland
Orange Village, OH
Because your irrational holiday behavior has also stressed out Fido, send him off for pampering at The Barkley Pet Hotel & Day Spa. This resort-style vacation for dogs and cats combines homelike amenities with recreational activity.
What dog wouldn’t be happy staying in an Executive Poolside Suite, and what feline wouldn’t love a stay in Kitty City — with condos offering multiple levels for play and tropical fish tanks for entertainment? Treat your sophisti-cat or chic Shih Tzu to a pawdicure, a bedtime story/tuck-in tummy rub, a relaxation massage, a pool party or even a limo ride.