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Join us as we set out on a journey through the Buckeye State, a realm brimming with vibrant cultural tapestry and engaging heritage. From dynamic cityscapes to tranquil rural scenes, Ohio unfolds like a well-kept secret with countless tales lying in wait. Be it for the intrepid globetrotter or the intrigued local, unveiling the in-depth, genuine experiences housed within Ohio's cultural milieu is truly unmatched.
So, buckle up and embark with us on this excursion, deciphering the mysteries and strategies for immersing in Ohio's alluring past and present. Prepare to encounter fresh insights, awaken your senses, and craft lasting memories – because Ohio's cultural jewels are just yearning for your exploration!
Discovering the Cultural Depth of Ohio
Ohio is a realm with a profound cultural heritage, dating from its humble beginnings as a frontier settlement to its current prominence as a pioneering industrial and agricultural hub. Ohio's diverse populace is mirrored in its culture, boasting an array of traditional music, art, culinary, and customs.
To delve into an authentic Ohioan cultural expedition, consider several steps. Start with acquiring knowledge about the state's history, allowing a more profound understanding of the individuals shaping Ohio's culture. Next, explore some of the state's museums and historical landmarks, such as the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art in the heart of the state. This prestigious institution holds an extensive collection of global art, serving as a testament to human creativity and providing insightful glimpses into the lives and narratives of Ohioans of yore and today.
Further your experience by participating in a cultural festival or gathering. Ohio's communities celebrate their heritage with festivals that bring traditional music, dance, cuisine, and other activities to life. Don't hesitate to interact with the locals. Engaging in dialogue about their customs, preferred delicacies, or viewpoints on Ohio's present culture is among the most efficient ways to comprehend a culture.
Celebrations and Festivities in Ohio
Ohio houses a rich tapestry of holidays and events, each emanating a distinct charm. The thrill of Fourth of July fireworks in Cincinnati or the traditional German Christmas markets in Dresden offers something for all tastes. To fully enjoy these holiday and event experiences in Ohio, consider the following tips:
Experiencing Ohio's Natural Splendors
Ohio is a harmonious blend of cultural richness and natural allure. Whether it's the energetic metropolis of Cincinnati or the undulating landscapes of the Hocking Valley, Ohio has much to offer for exploration. Here are some suggestions for witnessing Ohio's best features:
By adhering to these tips, you can uncover the lush cultural and natural tapestry that is Ohio!
Exploring Local Commerce and Cuisine
Ohio provides countless opportunities to shop and dine in true local style. From lively farmers markets to quaint roadside establishments, the taste of the Buckeye State is never far away.
Numerous farmers markets, including the globally recognized North Market in Columbus, dot Ohio. These markets offer fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and more from local providers. Smaller farmers markets are dispersed across the state and should not be missed during your Ohioan adventure.
Casual dining options are also plentiful in Ohio, with a plethora of roadside diners and cafes offering hearty meals at affordable prices. These establishments are local favorites, providing an opportunity to enjoy traditional cooking and engage with Ohio's residents.
Discovering Local Art, Music, and Entertainment
Ohio is bursting at the seams with local art, music, and entertainment eager to be uncovered. Here are some tips for discovering Ohio's cultural richness:
Journeying through Ohio's culture offers an irreplaceable experience. By following these tips for genuine experiences, you can gain a deeper appreciation of this vibrant cultural tapestry and unearth the hidden jewels that make Ohio an extraordinary destination.
Whether you're intrigued by its history, keen on sampling local delicacies, or desire to connect with locals in their own environment, Ohio surely has something to offer everyone!
The breathtaking four diamond Crystal Springs Resort in northwestern New Jersey is THE spot for the ultimate high end luxury vacation. From golfing and spa treatments to gourmet dining and tastings in a $10 million value wine cellar, you can really go all out for a destination wedding, girls getaway, or family reunion. You may be thinking Crystal Springs is out of reach for your family, but think again. I'm going to show you how Crystal Springs can be your perfect multigenerational family vacation, even on a budget!! Watch my highlights video from our summer 2023 hosted stay below, and read on for my tips and tricks for enjoying paradise, without even leaving NY/NJ!!
If your budget has no limit, go ahead and book 1-2 weeks in a huge suite (or house) and get excited to enjoy ALL the amenities without a second thought. Massages at Elements Spa, and tons of fee-based amazing activities like rock climbing, teddy bear stuffing, mixology class, 3 or 7-course Chef's Tasting menu at the adult-only Restaurant Latour, a private goat yoga class, tee time one of their 6 golf courses... sky's the limit!
If you're like the rest of us, you may need to justify vacation expenses and feel like you got as much as possible for your hard earned money. And I'm so excited to be the one to tell you, Crystal Springs has SOOOOooooo many free activities and amenities, if you plan your trip well, you will feel like you got an incredible deal, lived like the rich and famous, and come home with incredible memories (and photos)! Let's get to it!!
1. Book a Suite
I know I know, a suite doesn't exactly scream "budget friendly" but hear me out! For less than $100 extra per night you can upgrade from a standard room to a studio suite, and get yourself a full kitchen (no microwave but it has an oven, fridge, stovetop, coffee maker, and dishwasher), with dining table and sleeper sofa! If bringing kids, I highly recommend leveling up to a one or two bedroom suite - kids can watch TV or play quietly in their room while you sleep in. Now THAT'S how to vacation... so you don't get home and need a vacation after your vacation!!
2. Breakfast Credit
All rooms and suites come with $40 breakfast credit per night, and breakfast at Crystal Tavern is delicioussss!!! From french toast and fritata to acai bowls and cereal, you'll put that breakfast credit to good use!!
3. Indoor & Outdoor Pools
With 7 beautiful indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs at Grand Cascades and Minerals, swimming is probably the favorite activity for both myself and my kids at Crystal Springs, year round, and it's included with your stay!!
The 10,000sqft Biosphere indoor pool complex at Grand Cascades is absolutely stunning. You feel like you're in the tropics, surrounded by palms. With a fun water slide, aquarium, waterfalls, and a little cafe with snacks, gelato, and more. Just outside you'll find a swim out heated pool, another pool, and a life size chess board. So fun!! Do note: the German Foiltec roofing material allows nearly 100% light transmission, so you'll still want to use sunblock** and/or UPF swimwear** (**as an Amazon Associate, I receive commission from purchases made after clicking those links).
At the far end of Grand Cascades, past Crystal Tavern, you'll find the gorgeous (unheated!!) Vista 180 pool complex featuring an infinity pool looking over the gorgeous Appalachian mountains, a fun swirling whirl pool, waterslide, and 180* Cafe for snacks and cocktails!
Just 3 miles from Grand Cascades you'll find Minerals Resort, and you are free to use their amazing indoor and outdoor pools as well, which includes a cliff jump outside, underwater aquarium inside, and an outdoor splash pad!
Some important things to keep in mind regarding pools at Crystal Springs:
4. Free Activities
There are SO many free activities to do at Crystal Springs during your stay, just check their event calendar here for things like petting zoo, glow golf, movie nights, marshmallow roasting, self-guided hiking, wine cellar tours, scavenger hunt, koi fish feeding, outdoor game deck (foosball, pool, and ping pong), splash yard games, and more!! And don't forget, guests can also utilize the Minerals Sports Complex gym and attend classes for free - see the gym schedule here!! We're talking aerial yoga, bungee floating, spin, barre, Zumba, you name it! There are also endless fee-based activities if budget allows, like stuffed animal building, archery, clay shooting, golf, mixology class, paint and sip, VR games, IWall Exergaming, rock climbing, etc.
5. BYO Snacks, Booze, & Food
While delicious and worth a splurge IMO, food and alcohol bills can really add up when utilizing restaurant dining exclusively. If you're on a budget, I've got a great tip for you here! Wine Country, Walmart, and ShopRite of Franklin are just 4 miles away, so you can load up on snacks, booze, and groceries! There are also several fast food options as well as a pizzeria in that one complex, in case you're looking for quick and cheap :)
And don't forget, you do get $40 breakfast credit per night, so definitely use that! And you can find relatively affordable (and quick) grab and go options like $10-$16 sandwiches and salads, as well as fruit, pastries, popcorn and more in the coffee shop on both Grand Cascades and Minerals Resorts.
If you have the budget, you should definitely have a meal at each of the restaurants at Minerals and Grand Cascades. Restaurant Latour is definitely my favorite, absolute decadence, for adults only, get a babysitter and have an unforgettable dining experience here!! I love Crystal Tavern, too, with a great variety of food and prices to choose from whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Gorgeous views as well! Springs Bistro is also delicious, their pasta and pizza are *chef's kiss*!! Kite's Restaurant, over at Minerals, is more casual and never disappoints! We've been to Crystal Springs 4 times but still haven't had a chance to dine at Chef's Garden, an al-fresco garden to table experience, because it's not open daily (check the schedule and go if possible!!)
6. Come Early, Stay Late
I'll be honest, their 4pm check-in is painfully late, but you can come as early as noon and start enjoying all the fun on the property! Because both indoor pools have locker rooms and free lockers, you can even utilize the pools before check-in and after checkout giving you 2 FULL DAYS of fun with a 1 night stay, or 3 full days with a 2 night stay, which is our favorite bang-for-your-buck length of stay... or "staycation" if you're fairly local like we are! Ah-may-zing!!
7. Drive and Save!!
When traveling to a far away city or exciting location, you probably won't be spending much time at the hotel, so you can scrimp on accommodation and save your budget for other things such as tours, flights, and food! But when you come to Crystal Springs, the hotel IS the destination. It has EVERYTHING, with plenty of included activities to fill your entire day!
If you're in the TriState area you won't even have to worry about the cost of flights, the anxiety over delays and cancellations and whether or not they'll charge you for a carry-on, and you won't be spending half the day traveling!! Crystal Springs Resort is just a beautiful 1 hour drive from NYC, making it the perfect 1 or 2 night "staycation" getaway if you're short on time or budget, of course a week would be magical!! And... this is a "Condo Hotel" meaning you can actually buy a unit and they'll rent it out for you! I've been considering this for a while... sounds amazing!!!
8. Buy a Day Pass
A day pass won't make sense financially for a big family, but if you're coming up solo or with a few friends just for the day, it may be worthwhile to consider! Shop for Day Passes and other activity gift cards here!
Have any questions about Crystal Springs?? We've been FOUR TIMES (2019 & 2023 in summer with kids, 2021 in winter with kids, and 2020 on a "momcation") so I'm happy to answer any questions!!!
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I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!