You may not be heading to Grandma’s house, but still — there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grab your sweetheart or pack up the family and take a short road trip to one of these delightful sleigh destinations.
Ohio offers quite a few ways to enjoy a sleigh ride, whether you’re looking for a close to home, family-friendly option (think Fremont’s R. B. Hayes Presidential Center) or something a bit more romantic, like the Guggisberg Swiss Inn.
• WHAT: Sleigh Rides through Spiegel Grove
• WHERE: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Spiegel Grove, Fremont
• WHEN: 1-4 p.m. Dec. 26, 28-31
• COST: $3/rider
• INFO: 419-332-2081 or rbhayes.org
Make a Christmas memory for the entire family by coming to the Hayes Presidential Center for a wonderful sleigh ride. Tim Myers of South Creek Clydesdales will be on hand with horses and sleighs. Even if there’s no snow, you’ll still get to ride — Myers has equipped his sleighs with wheels.
Here, you’ll get the chance to experience the old days, when horses were the main means of transportation. President Hayes and his family traveled by sleigh, often enjoying leisurely rides though the grounds of their Spiegel Grove estate.
Tip: Definitely dress for outside temperatures — think warm hats, scarves, gloves, a thick coat, socks and weatherproof shoes. You can also warm up inside the Center after and enjoy three special exhibits: Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum, Hayes Train Special and Dr. Snowflake’s “The Sermon on the Mount.” Admission to the exhibits is just a flat fee of $7.50/adult, $6.50/senior citizen and $3/children ages 6-12.
• WHAT: Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
• WHERE: Guggisberg Swiss Inn, 5025 St. Rt. 557, Millersburg
• WHEN: By reservation
• INFO: 330-893-3600, 877-467-9477 (toll free) or guggisbergswissinn.com
It’s pretty appropriate that this inn, which offers charming rides in a horse-drawn sleigh, is located close to Charm, Ohio in the heart of Amish country. It’s perfect for a family outing or a romantic getaway, as it has 24 rooms with nothing spared in terms of comfort and is perched on a hillside overlooking the Doughty Valley. In winter, it’s a sight to behold with snow-covered farmland and plenty of authentic horse-drawn vehicles (it is Amish country, after all).
The Inn touts itself as a “quiet country paradise” with lots of land to view. You can make reservations to stay overnight, schedule a special sleigh ride and follow it up with hot chocolate, popcorn and the warmth of a fire.
Tip: Rates are best Nov. 1-May 12, ranging from $89.95 for a standard room to $169.95 for a Jacuzzi suite. The Inn is also close to Guggisberg Cheese, “Home of the Original Baby Swiss” (babyswiss.com).
• WHAT: Ma & Pa’s Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
• WHERE: Ma & Pa’s Gift Shack, 15161 Main Market Rd. (S.R. 422), Burton
• WHEN: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 12-4 p.m. Sun.; weather permitting
• COST: $20/adults, $18/seniors, $10/ages 11-16, $5/ages 5-10, ages 4 and under free
• INFO: 440-548-5521 or maandpas.com
If you want a thoroughly rustic experience, why not consider taking a trek to this log cabin nestled in the woods of Geauga County? There, you’ll find an early 1820s log cabin gift shop unlike any other. The structure, which was moved from its original home of Zanesville, was resurrected in Geauga County. Ma & Pa’s carries items such as chainsaw carved bears, log furniture, hunting gear, fishing supplies and everything necessary for a rural home.
For an exciting sleigh ride, the draft horses will pull one of two old-fashioned sleighs, wandering out into an open field. After the trip has ended, visitors are welcomed back to the cabin for hot chocolate, maple coffee and cookies baked by Ma herself.
Tip: This is probably one of the most “authentic” sleigh rides you’ll experience, so be sure to bring the camera. Ma & Pa’s is extremely picturesque, so you won’t want to miss that photo op.
If you’re looking for an extremely romantic experience, there are couples night rides
available (stargazing, hand-holding and the like). Reservations are highly recommended.