Outside of saddling a flying squirrel or constructing a eagle-drawn chariot, there’s nothing quite like zipping from tree to tree through a blur of branches and leaves, hearing the fresh forest air whiz by. To bring the experience to central Ohioans, Jerrod and Lori Pingle built a network of ziplining platforms in the forest canopy of Camp Mary Orton and began leading ZipZone canopy tours. During the company’s signature two-hour tour, professionally trained guides lead guests through the sky-brush and over ravines and streams, just out of reach of leaping sasquatches. To protect the natural scenery that surrounds the 20-acre tour, ZipZone implements a number of eco-friendly measures, such as building hiking trails in lieu of roads, limiting tree intrusions, and reducing soil compaction.
Founded in 1963 at a local YMCA, the Cincinnati Ballet grew into a major regional company by adhering to its mission to express the human experience through dance. Today, it continues upholding that vision by housing resident artists who entertain audiences with dance performances of both classic and original work. Beyond supporting local audiences and their right to clap, the Cincinnati Ballet also seeks to nurture artists through the Otto M. Budig Academy. There, a professional faculty trains aspiring performers at all skill levels. These training opportunities are supplemented by outreach programs such as CincyDance!, which provides free training and dance attire to children.
Today’s side deal offers cottage fever as an antidote for cabin fever. Escape to the pastoral paradise of The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, flanked by the natural bounty of Hocking Hills State Park. For $190, this Groupon gets you a night’s stay in one of the Inn’s cozy cottages ($179–$249 value), where unwinding is the only action item. Turn up the romance dial with that special somebody or something as you enjoy a $25 gift certificate towards any spa service, goodies including chocolates and other tasty treats ($45 value), and a complimentary full country breakfast, a combined value of $319. The warm, freshly baked cookies that greet you upon arrival are a delicious signifier of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls' dedication to hospitality and personalized customer care.
The Hocking Hills Adventure Trek team is as diverse as the wilderness they explore. Guides include living history performers who educate visitors through songs and stories and naturalists who lead outdoor adventures through the wilderness. While the performers showcase their talents at an outdoor amphitheater, guides lead visitors on year-round nature hikes through little-seen areas of the Hocking State Forest and state nature preserves. The company also leads guided rock-climbing and rappelling trips and guided fishing trips at AEP Recreation lands.
For generations, the Pfeifer family tilled the soil—originally tending to the land as Midwestern farmers after the Civil War. Even though the family eventually traded in the farm, these agricultural roots still run deep. At Hidden Lakes Winery, they tap into this instinctual knowledge of fruits and cultivars to create a host of wines made from grapes sourced from around the United States. Glasses of light riesling or heady pinot noir in hand, guests often pair their sips with the onsite café’s bistro-style cuisine. There, the kitchen boasts a full menu of Tuscan-inspired appetizers, artisanal pizzas, entrees, and desserts.
Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.