Originally constructed in 1871 as a schoolhouse, the Manchester Hill home is rich with local history, right down to its bricks that were individually packed by hand and fired on the property. Today, Manchester Hill is home to Patrick and Jenie McGrath, along with their two kids and a slew of animals, and the property's four verdant acres house a bed and breakfast, winery, and farm.
Cultivating a smattering of pesticide-free produce such as asparagus, roma tomatoes, rhubarb, and sunchokes, the McGraths offer locals a share of their harvest through CSAs and at the Clintonville Farmers' Market. Pastured poultry, natural pork, and farm-fresh eggs originate from animals raised on the farm with sustainable and humane practices, such as vegetarian diets and nightly readings of Goodnight Moon in the barn before bed. Meanwhile, Manchester Hill's winery produces a handful of artisan wines, including a pink catawba, a traminette, a dry zinfandel aged in american-oak barrels, and zinfandel dessert wines, as well as sparkling apple cider.
The rock bridge spans more than 100 feet in length, arching to a height of 50 feet as it connects to the opposing shores of the Hocking River. As kayakers glide beneath it, they look up at eons of natural history: a bridge carved out by centuries of glacial waters that eroded the sandstone away particle by particle. They gaze up at the awesome spectacle until a white-tailed deer dashes along the shore, stealing their focus.
Hocking Hills Adventures' outdoor enthusiasts continue to provide connections to moments such as these, just as they have for more than 30 years. The staff furnishes gear such as canoes and inner tubes for river trips, during which sportsmen may glimpse river dwellers such as leatherback turtles and kingfishers sneaking sandwiches from unsuspecting picnickers. Dedicated to keeping the river clean for future generations, the staff also regularly engages in conservation efforts, including sponsorship of the annual Hocking River Cleanup
Back at the fun center, crews oversee amusements that range from go-kart rides to mini golf. With such a multiplicity of diversions, Hocking Hills' team often customizes recreational packages for its guests that combine several activities. To help visitors enjoy the area for more than a day, the grounds also affords outdoorsmen lodging, including riverside campgrounds and Amish camper cabins.
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Be Blissful Dessert Company's Summer Cowans and Wanda Berry pipe the last of the frosting onto a batch of limoncello-infused cupcakes to complete what will be the icing on the cake of another elegant event. Experts of dessert-table logistics, Be Blissful only doles out sweets by the dozen and traffics almost exclusively in individually packed confections—brownie pops and servings of cake in jam jars are among the more unusual ones—that do not require servers or risk littering the buffet with a mess of crumbs. Moist cake carries the flavors of Madagascar vanilla, seasonal strawberry frosting, or dulce de leche, and chocolate compliments both peanut-butter cookies and bowls of tart raspberries. To tantalize the eyes, the team designs the dessert table down to its floral arrangements and fills tiered trays and long-stemmed glass cake displays with cookies wearing color-coordinated royal icing or a custom insignia.