How to Spend a Cozy Winter Weekend in Northeast Ohio
I love wintertime. The freshly fallen snow, brisk invigorating winds, and cozy warm fires are some of my favorite things. Since I enjoy everything that the colder months in Ohio offer, I look for places to escape for a snowy vacation. The Warren area of Northeast Ohio has been high on my places to visit, and I thought, "Why not in winter? So, I booked it." My trip here could not have been more perfect.
Kitschy coffee shops are my jam, and finding one is usually at the top of my travel itineraries. Where are they, and what can I warm my bones with? Howland Bean was the perfect find when I rolled into Warren, Ohio. Their flights are unique. What is a flight? A tray of four of your favorite coffee (or hot chocolate or gelato) flavors that are served in mini cups.
After warming up with hot deliciousness, we headed over to the National Packard Museum to explore the history behind Packard. We did not carve enough time out for this hidden gem in Warren. Give yourself at least an hour to see each car, and longer if you want to read all this information and dig deeper into the history. Make sure to check out the special exhibits and read the list of all the Packard firsts. You'll be thanking them for their innovations that have made owning a car such a luxury.
We had reservations for dinner and a stay at the Peter Allen Inn, located in Kinsman, Ohio, but we saw a sign for the Hartford Hill Winery on the way there. If you see something like this while out driving, you can't help but stop and check it out. When we pulled to a stop at the winery, the sun had just begun to set and gave us a splendid winter sunset that brought the sky to life with purples and reds. The color palette set the tone for my wine choice, and I ordered a Rockin' Randall to pair with the evening sky. I could have lingered longer with the crackling fire and live music, but our dinner reservation was fast approaching.
When I arrived at the Peter Allen Inn, I was speechless. Here in the middle of what seems like nowhere is a five-star experience waiting for you. We checked into our room, freshened up, and made our way to the dining room. I can't tell you enough how perfectly delightful and wonderful this was. Ask for a table near the fireplace, order a signature drink, and be ready for a meal that is like a kiss from heaven. The farm-to-table fare is not just delicious; it is exquisite. With our appetite satisfied, we made our way to our period-decorated room and settled in. Peter Allen Inn is a true bed and breakfast, and we were greeted in the breakfast nook with a roaring fire the following day. The stay was topped off with a farmhouse egg scramble that energized us for the day ahead, perfect for anyone looking for a weekend getaway in Ohio.
Before heading out of Kinsman, we stopped in at one of the community's favorite destinations for coffee and a homemade treat, Good Intentions. If you want all things quaint, house-made, or grown locally, this is the place to be. Ask about the story surrounding the building and how The Red Basket Farm came to be. If the food and produce don't bring you back, knowing owners Floyd and Amy Davis will. With coffee in hand, it was time to head to a place I could get completely lost.
Ok, I am about to share with you a place that thrifters and used book lovers are going to love, it’s called Market Square and it’s an Ohio thrift store you can’t miss. It houses the oldest soda fountain in the State, and the thing that you will notice right away is books. 100,000+ books. I lost my husband at one point and had to text him to find out where he was. Where was he, you might ask? He was in a closet digging through the hidden treasures. Depending on what you are looking for, one hour or three is what you will need to explore this "Trumbull County eclectic find." Once I found Matt, we bought our new acquisitions and headed to Northeast Ohio’s Amish Country in Mesopotamia.
We piled into the car and took a drive over to the End of the Commons. At this point, I am grateful I packed comfy clothes with elastic waistbands because what we found here was a place full of fantastic! A few notables: this is the oldest operating general store in Ohio, AND it is smack dab in the middle of the fourth largest Amish community in the United States. What that means in layman's terms is get ready to embrace the Amish lifestyle and eat fry pies and homemade baked goods. I filled my basket, shopped around, and then realized what time it was. Confirming, there is no shortage of things to do in Amish Country, Ohio.
A local told me I had to eat at Buena Vista Cafe, and after checking it out, I am now an official fan of Uncle Nick's Famous Greek Chicken. One bite into this crunchy chicken will have you coming back for more. Tucked away in an industrial part of town makes this an official "hidden gem." We were also introduced to Italian Greens, again another first for us and so delicious!
I'm always on the lookout for local specialty shops when road tripping through Ohio. Before we headed to our evening hotel, we stopped in at Fatty Cakes, a delightful soapery filled with impressive natural soaps and creams. Owner Leslie said, “they are made from the earth just for you.” Thanks for all the goodies; my skin is set until my next trip to Downtown Warren.
Winter, while I love it, creates a desire to relax and slow down. We picked out the Grand Resort for our evening landing place with that in mind. Once those doors opened, we were transported into what seemed like a New York City setting. Greeted by a welcoming fire and upbeat atmosphere, we checked in and took some time to unwind in our room. While the Grand Resort is known for fine dining, local friends picked out a place for dinner off the property.
It was dark when we arrived at Cafe 422 in Warren, but I could tell it would be off the charts fantastic. Dinner was exquisite, and everything we ordered was perfection, from the appetizers, the main course, and all the way to dessert. We ordered Hot Peppers in Oil; they are famous for these. I had never heard of them (and for the record, we bought some of their canned ones to take home before we left.) We ended dinner with their Lemon Cake made from their in-house Limoncello. It was to die for.
Happily, filled with Cafe 422, we headed back to the Grand Resort to slip into the heated Roman Bath open year-round. Surrounded by quietly falling snow and steam rising from the 92-degree water, we soaked down to enjoy the evening with a nightcap.
I wish I had more time at the Grand Resort because there is so much you can experience while there. It truly is a place you can come to and not leave once you arrive, the amenities are endless, and as a guest, most of them are included in your stay. Walking by the Grand Spa and Salon, with the soft, calming music, drew me in, but time did not allow a therapeutic massage. It is one bucket list for next time and a highly recommended Ohio getaway!
Before we headed out of Warren, we had two more things on our list that we wanted to see. One was just across the street at the Medici Museum of Art. What makes this museum so special is that it houses some of the Boy Scouts of America art done by the famous American painter Norman Rockwell. It is a breathtaking display that tugs at the heart.
You might not know, Ernie Hall, a famous pilot, lived in Warren and gave flying lessons well into his 70's. We stopped into the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum; while it is small, it is packed with memorabilia!
It was almost time to head home, but Cockeye BBQ and Creamery is a hometown favorite, and all my friends on Ohio Road Trips said, "It is some of the best BBQ in Ohio." So, we had to check it out, and I couldn't agree more. This family-run joint connects you with flavors that make your mouth burst. I over-ordered so we could take some home for later.
I've lived in Ohio my whole life and had never explored all the things to do in Northeast Ohio – Trumbull County has become a favorite. All I can think about is getting back to see more and get my hands on some fried greens and hot peppers in oil.
Brandy Gleason is a lover of all things winter and Northeast Ohio calls her name when the snow is flying. Once you get to know her you find out she's always looking for the next adventurous thing to experience, spa to relax in, and the best coffee around. She is the face behind Ohio Road Trips where she curates the fantastic things to do in Ohio.