The day I drove down to The Inn at Honey Run was dreary, gray and damp. The swish-swash of the windshield wipers was getting to me. I got behind a slow truck and couldn't get around it. But the minute I arrived at the inn and got out of my car, a sense of calm came over me. It was so quiet -- the only sounds were those of the chirping birds. And the heady aroma from a nearby wood-burning fireplace, mixed with the wet leaves in the woods, filled my head with memories of simpler times gone by.
If things have been getting to you too, I believe you're in need of a quiet, enchanting get-away, and The Inn at Honey Run should be your next destination. Look at it this way: you survived the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and now you deserve a little time for yourself. The inn sits in the heart of Ohio's Amish Country, the largest concentration of Amish in the world, so it's an ideal place to come, kick back and enjoy what the area has to offer. Or, if you'd prefer, just stay on the grounds and indulge yourself in total relaxation.
Innkeeper Phil Jenkins purchased the twenty-plus-year-old business two years ago and has been busy ever since keeping the original owner's vision for the inn, yet tailoring it to his own. Phil is a very interesting and charming person, and his esthetic touches are seen throughout the inn. In his "previous life," he was a public school teacher and church musician.
Nestled in the woods on the side of a hill, the inn's main lodge offers 24 guest rooms, each with a private bath, television and telephone, plus a CD/clock radio. Rooms on the first two levels feature large window walls, enabling you to watch the birds and the beautiful woods. More than a hundred species of birds have been seen in the woods surrounding the inn, and there are bird feeders outside every guest-room window. Top-level rooms feature either suites or large rooms with decks. In fact, several rooms on the top floor are cozily designed as bi-levels with a separate reading area and bright skylights. See, I said you'd be able to relax!
Also available are a dozen unique earth-sheltered Honeycomb guest rooms. Built into the side of the hill, these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired intimate rooms have floor-to-ceiling sandstone gas-log fireplaces and private rock-curved patios with gorgeous views. Other amenities include Whirlpool tub/shower combinations, queen-sized beds, televisions, VCRs, telephones and CD/clock radios.
Three guest houses in the woods are also available for those who want ultimate privacy for special occasions, or for couples traveling together.
The contemporary Cardinal House has soaring wooden ceilings and a sunken living room with a free-standing rock and sandstone wood-burning fireplace (please understand, here at Honey Run, contemporary doesn't mean cold and plain; it is wonderfully warm and inviting!). Both bedrooms have private baths, skylights and large windows to let you enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A studio kitchen, laundry, large deck and the usual television, telephone, VCR and CD player complete the package.
The Trillium House includes the features mentioned above, although it has one bedroom and a large Jacuzzi Room for two. This is the place for that special Valentine's Day treat or anniversary! Once again, you deserve it!
The Woods House, a contemporary cottage nestled deep in the woods, has two bedrooms. It has a studio kitchen, large living/dining room area, tall wooden ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling stone gas-log fireplace, Jacuzzi tub/shower and a screened-in porch overlooking a gorgeous ravine. As with the others, it also includes a television, VCR and CD player.
Sitting high on the hill, The Monarch House is a new addition to the list of places to stay. Two contemporary suites are available, all furnished with plush, comfortable Norwalk Furniture.
Besides being a personal get-away, The Inn at Honey Run is also an outstanding executive full-service conference center. The main lodge has two meeting rooms, each of which seat up to 20 people conference-style or 70, theater-style. At the Honeycombs, a small, private "Think Tank" is available and accommodates up to eight people at a deluxe oak conference table.
The inn promotes several "packages" for its guests that include everything you need for a great get-away. These include the "Romance Your Honey" package, "Amish Heartland" package, golf packages, "Pilots Fly Inn" package and the "Relax and Rejuvenate Yourself" package (sounds like a great way to fight the winter blahs!).
Breakfast is available for all guests at The Inn at Honey Run. For those in the main lodge, a continental breakfast is set up in the main dining room. Guests in the Honeycomb rooms receive in-room breakfast service, and the guest houses are stocked with breakfast foods.
Phil is very serious -- and excited -- about the restaurant at the inn and is trying to broaden its horizons, so to speak. The restaurant will soon be cooking with mostly locally produced food. Phil is working with area farmers to bring restaurant patrons the freshest, most delicious foods possible.
The main dining room at the inn serves lunch and dinner for guests, as well as the public. The lunch menu is outstanding, with offerings of soups, salads and entrees (and I can personally vouch for the onion soup and chicken salad sandwich; they were wonderful!). The dinner menu offers appetizers and an array of entrees to satisfy anyones appetite. This fine dining experience is created by Chef Matt McFadden, a graduate of Johnson Wales Culinary Institute.
Phil likes to "make the rounds" and greet the people in the dining room whenever possible.
"I like to 'schmooze' with the patrons! It's the favorite part of my job, and it keeps me motivated," he said.
A gift shop recently has been added, and I must say, it is different from any other you'll find in the region. If you're into nature, you'll appreciate the fine quality found here.
"It's an eclectic collection of nature-inspired items," Phil stated.
The Inn at Honey Run is more than just a place to stay and eat. It has become a cultural center for the area. Karole Butler, sales director, coordinates symposiums throughout the year.
"We have an exciting lineup of symposiums coming up," she said. "In January, we're hosting our 19th-annual Garden Symposium, with Libby Bruch. In February, we'll host the Italian Music and Art Symposium.
"We're sad to say we won't be having our annual Amish Symposium this year, though. The Amish bishops have retired from doing this popular event.
"Coming up in April is an in-depth look at three musicals based on classic French literature ("Candide," "Les Miserables," and "The Fantasticks"), and also an Old English and Gothic Calligraphy Symposium. People can just check our Web site for additional symposiums throughout the year."
Another cultural aspect at the inn are Sunday evening Fireside Presentations, available to guests and the public at no charge.
"We have a nice variety of entertainment, as well as learning opportunities," Phil said.
Some examples of these presentations are music soloists, spiritual counselors, the art of Feng Shui, the art of Bonsai, storytelling, calligraphy and writing.
The Inn at Honey Run is the place that has it all -- serenity, nature, lovely rooms, great food and a bit of culture to balance it out -- and it's tucked away in the rolling hills of beautiful Holmes County, just waiting for you.
I know you'll be delighted when you visit The Inn at Honey Run. Be sure to tell Phil and Karole you read this in Amish Heartland magazine.
The Inn at Honey Run, 6920 County Road 203, Millersburg, OH 44654-9018, (330) 674-0011, fax (330) 674-2623, reservations (800) 468-6639, www.innathoneyrun.com.
Restaurant hours: Lunch, Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dinner, Mon.-Thu., 5:30-8 p.m., and Fri. Sat., 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Sun., for house guests only.