Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ohio State Park Lodges Offer Affordable Autumn Vacations

Fall officially arrives Sept. 22 this year, but in Ohio the unofficial arrival of the much-heralded season is when the first leaf changes color. Staff at the eight Ohio State Park Lodges are on “autumn alert” at the very beginning of September as they watch for leaves on the state’s 125 species of hardwood trees to turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red.

“After a busy summer and often a very hot Indian summer, we all look forward to the more moderate autumn temperatures,” said Dianna Rom, regional director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra operates eight Ohio State Park Lodges located throughout the state. “When we see that first red, orange or yellow leaf we know that autumn has arrived. We think the leaves here are every bit as colorful and breathtaking as any region in New England. It’s a terrific time of the year to visit the state.”

Rom said that the parks are particularly popular with active adults during the autumn season. “The summer is definitely the season when we see the most families,” said Rom. “When fall comes around we see greater numbers of active adults who enjoy outdoor adventures.”

That beauty is different in the state’s various regions.  In the late summer and early autumn the farmlands of Northwest Ohio are marked by long rows of ripe corn that thrives in the rich farmland of the region. Northwest Ohio is also home to Maumee Bay State Park Lodge, situated on the shore of Lake Erie. Visitors on the back deck of Shawnee State Park Lodge, on the other hand, have an expansive view of rolling Southern Ohio hills in autumn colors.

Ohio boasts the full range of autumn color because of its diversity of tree species. Trees such as red and white oak, pin oak, black cherry, dogwood and sumac turn shades of red. Ash, beech, birch and hickory turn yellow and gold. And buckeye, red maple, sweet gum and sassafras turn a mixture of the autumn hues.

Xanterra operates Burr Oak State Park Lodge in Southeast  Ohio, Hueston Woods State Park Lodge in Southwest Ohio, Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in Northwest Ohio, Mohican State Park Lodge in Central Ohio, Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in Northeast Ohio, Shawnee State Park Lodge in South Central Ohio, and  Deer Creek State Park Lodge and  Salt Fork State Park Lodge in Central Ohio.

“There is plenty to do while taking in the beauty of the fall color,” said Rom. “You can do some serious bird-watching at Maumee Bay, visit Amish country near Mohican and Punderson and visit pottery galleries near Salt Fork. And of course, there’s golf, which is about as pleasant as it gets on a nice autumn day.” Xanterra operates golf courses at Maumee Bay, Punderson, Salt Fork, Hueston Woods, Deer Creek and Shawnee State Parks, she said.

All of the lodges offer a variety of value-focused packages and deals throughout the season.

Perfect for older travelers, all eight lodges offer the “65 SAVES” special. Guests who are 65 or older can stay overnight in a standard room at any lodge Sunday through Thursday night for $65 per night plus tax.

Guests should use the promotional code 65SAVES when making reservations.

For golfers who just can’t get enough of the “holey lands,” parks with golf courses feature a Park & Play package. Based on double occupancy, this package features lodging for one night and 36 holes of golf (18 holes of golf per person) with a cart. Deer Creek State Park Lodge’s Park & Play package, for example, is priced at $152 for a standard double room Sunday through Thursday through Oct. 31 and $132 for a standard double room any day of the week Nov. 1 through Apr. 30, 2011.

Some packages have been designed to highlight both in-park and nearby offerings. For example, the “Malabar One-Night Package” at Mohican State Park Resort includes one night of accommodations, breakfast for two, admission for two to Malabar Farm and a Louis Bromfield book from the lodge gift shop. The package starts at $119 for a weekday stay in a standard double room through Oct. 31 and $169 for a standard double room on Friday or Saturday through Oct. 31. The home of author Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm State Park is adjacent to Mohican State Park. The park includes Bromfield’s 32-room house and a working farm. Guests must provide their own transportation to Malabar Farm.

Another example is the “Fall Color” package at Shawnee State Park Lodge.  Available daily Sept. 12 through Nov. 30, this package includes one night of lodging, one breakfast for two people and a $10 gift shop certificate. The package starts at $115 for a weekday stay in a standard double room and $125 for a standard double room on Friday or Saturday. Guests should use the promotional code FALLCOLOR.

Several Ohio State Parks are located near charming and picturesque towns that rival New England towns in both authenticity and beauty. For example, Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in Northeast Ohio is located near Middlefield, the fourth largest Amish community in the world. The town features numerous shops featuring Amish-made quilts, wood crafts, cheese and gifts. Hueston Woods State Park Lodge in Southwest Ohio is located within an easy drive of Paramount’s Kings Island, the United States Air Force Museum and the Newport Aquarium.

For a complete listing of packages at each resort visit the home page and click on the promotions link.
To reserve rooms in these state parks or for more information, visit the individual web sites or or call 1-800-AT-A-PARK (1-800-282-7275). Xanterra also operates the marina and facilities at Geneva Marina State Park in Geneva-on-the-Lake in northeastern Ohio.

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