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My husband and I were supposed to go on a cruise to celebrate our 5th anniversary, but obviously that was cancelled. We wanted to get away, and get a break from our toddler, but we were stumped. Where to go? My husband pitched me an unconventional idea. Let’s stay in an RV, he said.

I’ll admit, I was a bit of a hard sell. When I think of romance, I don’t think of camping. But my husband is persuasive. I hadn’t been camping in at least 10 years, and I had never stayed in an RV before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I searched AirBNB for an RV and we picked out an RV park in a part of Ohio we hadn’t yet visited and we set out on our adventure!

 

Getting there is half of the fun right? We hadn’t ventured to this part of Southern Ohio before, so we decided to take our time driving out to MOCO RV Park. We love to find random places to stop on the way. When else will you get the chance to see Big Muskie’s bucket? I’ll be honest. I didn’t even know this place existed until we saw a sign. Some of my favorite travel experiences have started with my husband seeing a sign and insisting we stop and check it out. 

 

 

Southern Ohio

This is the bucket of an excavator that was used for mining in Southern Ohio. My 6’ husband is providing scale, this thing is truly massive!

 

 

After we finished checking out Miner’s Memorial Park, we found ourselves at MoCo RV Park, our home for the weekend. Since I had never stayed in an RV, I didn’t really know what to expect. I couldn’t believe how nice the RV was! Our RV was fully stocked with everything we needed to relax and enjoy our kid-free weekend. We definitely were not roughing it! Our RV had a queen bed, a fully stocked kitchen, a TV, a table and 2 recliners. The table could be converted to a bed if needed. We did not need.

We went into town to get some supplies and take out and settled in for a quiet evening. My husband and I love board games, but we are super competitive, so we’ve agreed only to play cooperative games to save the peace. It was nice to listen to the rain hit the camper, and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t remember the last time I just relaxed and listened to the rain. It was also a huge bonus that no one was asking me for fruit snacks. We dozed off listening to the sounds of the crickets rather than the sounds of the city. 

 

 

RV

I’ve never had a recliner while camping before. This is so much better than sleeping on a lumpy air mattress.  ©Emily Householder-Stacey

 

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The next morning, we decided to venture to Marietta, Ohio, a small town right on the Ohio River. We walked around downtown, browsing the stores on Main Street and enjoying the beautiful views of the Ohio River. We also visited the Ohio River Museum. My husband and I both grew up in a small town along the Ohio River, so we really enjoyed learning more about the river’s history. We went on a guided tour of the steamship, WP Snyder. We walked up the street to the Campus Martius Museum, which focused on the experiences of the people who lived in Ohio when Ohio was still considered “the frontier.” 

 

 

Steamship

We toured this steamship at the Ohio River Museum, and then we gave thanks for modern technology. ©Emily Householder-Stacey

 

 

The next morning, we set out for Hocking Hills State Park. Hocking Hills is best known for its caves. We hiked on 2 trails, The Old Man Cave Trail and Ash Cave Trail. The Old Man Cave Trail involved a lot of steps. I’m admittedly not in the best shape so it was quite a workout! My legs hurt the next day. Old Man Cave is the most popular of all the caves at Hocking Hills. There is a very nice visitor center at the trailhead.  The trail to Ash Cave is wheelchair/stroller friendly, so if you don’t feel like having a “leg day experience” that trail is your best bet. 

 

 

Good to know: there are no flushing toilets at the Ash Cave Trail.

 

We ended our day with an evening at a rooftop patio, enjoying views of the Ohio River and stuffing our faces. After all, we had just walked like 3 miles. We had earned this.

 

 

Cave

Old Man’s Cave is called that because a gentleman named Richard Rowe lived there. Ohioans are great at naming things.

 

 

Ash Cave

A local church used to hold services at Ash Cave because the acoustics rocked. Get it? Rocked.

 

 

 

 

Monday morning, we packed up and headed to Grandma’s to pick up our little man. On our way home, we stopped for a picnic lunch in Belmont County Ohio. We picked up some Ohio Valley Style Pizza at Dicarlos and took it to a local park to enjoy our last kid-free moments. 

I’ll be honest, when we set out on our RV adventure we didn’t really have a plan. We just wanted to spend some time alone. I wound up googling things to do the next day each night, which is very unlike me! Sometimes, the best trips are the ones where you don’t have a plan and you just see where the road takes you. I would stay in an RV again. It was less expensive to rent an RV on Airbnb than to get a hotel room, but we had all the modern amenities we needed to be comfortable. 

 

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When You Go:

 

Want to check out Southern Ohio for yourself? To get here from Southern California, your best bet would be to fly into Columbus Ohio and rent a car. From Columbus, you can easily drive to all of the places Bruce and I enjoyed, and you’ll drive past some beautiful scenery too! If you do venture to Southern Ohio, you might want to bring an old school GPS, or a map, there were lots of areas where we did not have any cell service. And look at the route ahead of time, my trusty Garmin accidentally took us off-roading in my Ford Focus.

 

 

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Emily Householder Stacey is a writer, travel agent and mom based in sunny Cleveland, Ohio. Emily runs Aida’s Adventures travel agency while her son takes his afternoon nap. She has traveled throughout Australia, Asia and North America and the rest of the world is on her bucket list. Emily and her family love a good theme park. They have annual passes to 6 of them!