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Sojourner's Lodge: the getaway you're looking for

Katherine Ryder Published: June 1, 2011 10:41 AM
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Nesting on 20 acres of Ohio Amish Country, Sojourner's Lodge and Log Cabin Suites are idealistic for the romantic weekend or secluded getaway that visitors are looking for.

Starting with two lodge suites in 2002 and then two log cabin suites in 2006, Gwen and Duane Miller kicked off their business in hopes of bringing a special entity to Holmes and their surrounding counties.

"My husband builds houses for a living," Gwen said. "He had this idea. I was going to OSU when we had our son and I decided to make this my stay at home job...now it's my full-time job."

As a family the Miller's manage the day-to-day operations of Sojourner's as well as the bigger projects.

"I handle most of the reservations, our website, e-mails, advertising, etc and I help some with the landscaping and cleaning." Gwen said. "My husband does almost all of the outside work: mulching, mowing, landscaping, etc" We are a family run business with a few employees that help with the cleaning, and we all strive to make Sojourner's a wonderful place for guests to stay."

With just Gwen and Duane taking care of over 20 acres of land, the project seems bigger than anyone could handle themselves. However, they really do enjoy it.

"There are many benefits, we're both just very fortunate," Gwen said. "Plus I'm there when my son gets on and off the bus for school and that's a bonus."

Duane had owned the 20 acres before Gwen knew him. She explains that his parents own the dairy farm across the road and when an adjacent farm went up for sale, Duane wanted to buy a part of that farm.

"Duane added the pond, the hiking trails and he built the 60 ft. bridge back in our woodlands," Gwen said.

As a devoted couple and business to the community, Gwen remarks that the years have brought many successes.

"Our biggest success has been attracting people to come out and watching them come back," Gwen said. "It's really the people that are our success. If you offer something that meets and exceeds people's expectations they're going to share their experiences and spread the word."

The majority of what Sojourner's Lodge and Log Cabin Suites is about is providing a peaceful countryside retreat with luxury suites that keep people returning year after year. When Duane and Gwen started this adventure Gwen wanted to create something that would exceed their visitors' expectations.

"I always think that when you book a trip to a hotel or B&B you want something beautiful. You don't want to drive in and be disappointed," Gwen said. "One comment we get a lot from our guests is that our place is even more beautiful in person than our website shows."

There is always room for improvement no matter what business you're in.

"There is always going to be something that we can work on or something we can do better," Gwen said. "The main focus has to be on making the customer happy. You're never going to perfect that, you always have to strive for that. If you really try to make them happy and give your best, they'll see the effort you're making."

One of the big benefits of Sojourner's is having the management staff available at all times. Gwen and Duane live on site, where the main office is located. Duane built their house as well as the log cabins and lodge suites. "It is great benefit to live on the same property, when guests need more towels or help starting a fire in the fire pits or a map of Amish country, we are here to help them."

Another big benefit is that Sojourner's combines a relaxing getaway and gorgeous suites with all the attractions of Amish country.

"You have the best of both worlds, you can shop, dine, and visit the attractions, and then you can return to your quiet suite nestled in the Amish countryside," Gwen said.

As contributing members of their local and surrounding communities, Gwen and Duane provide gift certificates and donations to local auctions, schools, businesses and other organizations throughout Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas counties.

Sojourner's Lodge and Log Cabin Suites is also a member of the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce, Amish Country Lodging Council (ACLC) and the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association based in Columbus.

"Those organizations are great," Gwen said. "They keep in touch and they provide support when you need it."

As for future goals and growths, Gwen says that for now they are content with their cabin & lodge suites but who knows what the future might bring.

"We always throw around different ideas," Gwen said, "but to me, the future is about maintaining what you do well, striving to perfect your property and making improvements on what you need to."

Sojourner's Lodge and Log Cabin Suites is located at 2156 Durstine Rd in Dundee.

Only 15 minutes from Berlin and Walnut Creek.

For more information or to make a reservation call 330-359-5320 or visit www.sojournerslodgeohio.com.


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