Good morning from the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek, Ohio! I just walked into our room after sitting on the balcony, which overlooks rolling farmland and (on the front side of the hotel) the quiet main street of Walnut Creek. (It’s just slightly above freezing outside, but the balcony faces the sun and is warming up quickly–and besides, I had a cup of tea.) My husband and I are here on a weekend trip that’s part family visit and part couple’s getaway. We plan on spending time with my aunt and cousins who live in the area and are avid board gamers like ourselves, but we’re also going to do a few things just the two of us, like taking a walk this morning and, tomorrow, hitting some of my other favorite spots in Walnut Creek: Der Dutchman Amish Kitchen Cooking (for breakfast), Carlisle Gifts, Coblentz Chocolate Company, and Walnut Creek Antique Mall.
Why would one want to spend a chilly November weekend in middle-of-nowhere Ohio? For one thing, it’s beautiful here, especially at this time of year, with recently-harvested fields resting on hillsides, orange and red trees blazing over the ridges, and mist rising off the pastures as the frost melts in the morning. For another, it’s quiet here. Although this area (primarily in Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties) has become a prosperous tourist destination in recent years, it isn’t overdeveloped, and businesses close down early at night, reflecting the agricultural lifestyle of the Amish, whose culture-challenging lifestyle is one reason why tourists find the area so fascinating. (Jordan and I passed almost as many buggies, tractors, and bikes as cars as we came into town last night.)
If you visit, I recommend staying in one of the Carlisle Inns, whose slogan is “Peace & Comfort.” (I feel like that should be every hotel’s slogan, right?) They are part of the Dutchman Hospitality Group, who run several fine establishments in the area, including the Der Dutchman restaurant (hearty, homestyle fare) and two of the most gorgeous fine gift shops I’ve ever visited, Carlisle Gifts in Walnut Creek and Dutch Valley Gifts in Sugar Creek. There are two Carlisle Inns. The one in Walnut Creek, where we’re staying, is the older of the two, so the rooms maybe aren’t quite as up-to-date, but they’re still comfortable and clean, and you can’t beat the charm of this location, which stands as a friendly beacon at the foot of Walnut Creek’s main street (especially when it’s lit up for Christmas, like it is now). I love being able to walk next door or across the street to the retail establishments I mentioned earlier, or stroll a little further into the residential part of Walnut Creek.
The other Carlisle Inn is in Sugarcreek, a somewhat more built-up town, though still not at all overdeveloped. It’s newer, so the rooms are a little nicer, and it sits on a whole compound of Dutchman Hospitality properties, including the Ohio Star Theater (a popular local spot for concerts and live theater) and Dutch Valley Market, a food shop. I prefer the location of the Walnut Creek inn a bit more, but you really can’t go wrong with either. You might choose the Sugarcreek Carlisle Inn if either a) you want an ultra-comfy room to stay in on a quick overnight stop on a road trip (I’ve done this) or b) you’re coming to see a show at the Ohio Star Theater (I’ve done this too, when a friend and I came to see Fernando Ortega a few years ago). You might choose the Walnut Creek Carlisle Inn if you want a quiet weekend getaway where you can do a little shopping but still feel like there’s no one else around for miles.
Since this is part of my Work Places series (and Jordan is wrapping up work across the table from me right now), I should mention that the rooms in both Carlisle Inns, from my experience, all have decent-sized tables and ample plugs. I don’t remember the Wi-Fi situation in Sugar Creek, but here in Walnut Creek the network, while adequately fast and reliable, isn’t password-protected, so if you’re concerned about security, you might want to forego the hotel network and create a hotspot on your phone. Also of note, the rooms have Starbucks coffee in them.
But don’t stay in your room working too long if you can help it. Take a cue from your Amish neighbors and distance yourself from technology for the weekend. Isn’t that what you came here for?