Ravenwood Castle

DSCF4925Hocking Hills, the green jewel hidden in southeast Ohio, boasts the kind of scenery one would expect in a feature fantasy film. Hollows offer glimpses of unspoiled wildlife. Towering trees line streams cut deep between the foothills. The parks offer an escape to another world.

The only thing missing is a castle . . . unless, of course, you stay at Ravenwood Castle!

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Whether you want to be close to nature in a gypsy wagon or pampered in your very own tower, Ravenwood has a room to suit your tastes, especially if those tastes involve knights, queens, and high nerdery. The castle staff are always ready to help, advise, or play as the situation requires. The castle office has more maps and pamphlets than many official tourist offices I’ve visited, but frankly, there’s more than enough in the state parks and the castle itself to keep you busy.

The castle sits on a hill traced with footpaths. You can wander out into the woods, past the gypsy wagons to explore the outdoor stage, or simply stroll behind the castle to enjoy the formal gardens and the medieval village (where you might actually be staying). After a walk over the castle grounds, or visiting Old Man’s Cave, you can settle down to a giant chess battle outside the main gates.

DSCF4933Downstairs is a pub for guests where a small portion of the castle’s games wait, ready to play. And what kind of pub would it be without drinks? The castle offers a small menu in addition to an array of craft beers and cocktails. My personal favorite was Zombie Killer “cyser” (the illicit love child of mead and cider), which was on tap during our stay.

Every night, we learned a new game. Our host, Zach, not only stopped to teach us, but also stuck around to play. Informality is king here. A home-cooked breakfast is available to all guests each morning, and a coffee (and tea!) nook by the kitchens remains open all day, free of charge. When you check in, you are given two keys. One is to your room/cabin/wagon. The other is for the castle. You can come and go as you please, makinDSCF4834g yourself at home in a fairly literal sense.

The keepers of the castle take their reputation for all things geeky very seriously. In addition to carrying on protracted conversations on the quality of the latest Marvel film, the staff are always excited to reminisce (or prophesy) about Ravenwood Castle’s events. These range from beer tastings to the castle’s very own gaming convention. Several times a year, the castle hosts murder mystery dinners, featuring themes like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and steampunk Sherlock Holmes.

Whether you are looking to keep busy or slow down, I cannot recommend Ravenwood Castle more.

For more about Ravenwood Castle, be sure to check out their website and Facebook page!


 

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