I hardly ever pay extra for a hotel room with a view.
I don’t spend a lot of time in my room when I travel, and besides, I prefer to spend money on doing, not watching.
But every rule is meant to be broken.
And so I agreed, when I made my reservation at Atwood Lake Resort a few weeks ago, to pay the extra $ 10 for a lake view room.
It’s a sight worth well over $ 10.
And he was almost unavailable – at any cost.
My family and I arrived at the resort, about an hour and a half south of Cleveland, on a sunny Saturday afternoon in late August, a late summer getaway before the chaos of the school year began.
We swam in the pools (indoors and outdoors), rented a boat and explored the lake, messed around in the fitness room, played shuffleboard and handed a game of cards around. ‘a table in the hall.
Most importantly, we enjoyed the view – from the bar, from the restaurant and, most importantly, from our room.
In October 2010, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District board of directors made the decision to close the 104-room resort because it was losing too much money ($ 1 million per year in its final years of operation).
Atwood Lake Resort
Getting There :
, at 2650 Lodge Road SW in Sherrodsville, is approximately 90 miles south of Cleveland. Take I-77 South to Ohio 212 (Exit 93). Travel south on 212 to Ohio 542 – turn left and the lodge is ahead on the right.
Rates per night:
Rooms start at $ 129. The resort’s 17 cabins, still owned by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, are in poor condition and have not reopened.
Where to eat:
The main restaurant Vistas offers refined and relaxed dishes, from steaks and pastas to sandwiches and salads. Sunday brunch offers made-to-order omelets and waffles. The Chalet, overlooking the par-3 golf course, offers a more relaxed sports bar-style atmosphere and menu.
What to do:
Resort activities include swimming, shuffleboard, cornhole, billiards, gym and more. The driving range recently opened, but the par 3 golf course shouldn’t be ready until spring. A short drive from the station is
, where we rented a 12-person pontoon boat for $ 70 an hour. Also available: kayaks and motorboats (there is a 25 horsepower limit on the lake). For information:
For more information on visiting Carroll County, visit
After the public rallied to save the lodge, the district ceded ownership to Carroll County. The county hired a township company, Radius Hospitality, to operate it. And Atwood reopened in October.
Built in 1965, the lodge sits on a bluff overlooking 1,540-acre Lake Atwood, one of 14 reservoirs created in the 1930s to help control flooding in eastern Ohio.
For decades, the resort was a popular destination for families and couples, offering tennis, two golf courses, hiking trails, and even a ski slope.
However, when the recession hit in 2007, Atwood was already on a downward trend. “Hotel management is not our expertise,” admitted Darrin Lautenschleger, public affairs administrator for the watershed district. “I joke with the people that we prove this every day.”
The lodge, now nearing the end of its first full year under new management, has rebounded, not only with improved economy and renovations to the resort, but also substantial support from the oil industry. and gas.
“We’ve had a pretty good summer,” said Gene Rudolph, hired by Radius to manage the property.
Longtime park manager Rudolph came to Atwood through Shenandoah and Yellowstone National Parks. He’s also worked in Ohio, running lodges in Punderson, Salt Fork, and Deer Creek state parks – an experience that should come in handy, as many mistakenly believe Atwood is a state park as well.
Rudolph said the State Park and Atwood resorts have a similar mission: to create a comfortable and enjoyable environment where groups – large and small – come to play, stay and make memories.
Significant improvements have been made to the property over the past year, primarily focusing on the resort’s rooms. New beds, bedding, carpeting, and curtains were added, as were microwaves, small refrigerators, and large flat-screen TVs.
Improvements to common areas include a new terrace and lounge chairs at the outdoor pool, the reopening of the driving range this summer, and the debut of the Chalet, a relaxed restaurant and bar. The resort has also invested in landscaping, to make the grounds more scenic for the many weddings reserved at the lodge.
Despite the improvements, much remains to be done. A 9-hole, par 3 golf course, scheduled to open this summer, has been postponed to next spring. And the resort’s main 18-hole course is at least two years from reopening.
The property’s tennis courts are cracked and neglected; overgrown hiking trails.
Rudolph wants to add organized activities for kids, which are common at Ohio State Park properties.
The Watershed District, meanwhile, is in the early stages of developing a hiking and biking trail that will eventually circle the lake.
Occupancy of the lodge during the summer was about 60 percent, according to Ruldolph. While the lodge is fuller than it was several years ago, it needs to do better, considering the summer months – as well as September and October – are the resort’s peak season.
All upgrades, of course, cost money. Carroll County has paid for most of the improvements made so far with the $ 2 million it received as a signing bonus when it sold the mineral rights for the property to a Texas oil company.
Atwood, in Carroll County, just west of Dellroy, sits in the heart of booming Ohio oil and gas country, atop the energy-rich Utica Shale. Employees of oil companies out of town have increased occupancy figures at the complex year-round, especially mid-week.
Additional oil revenues should pay for further improvements. (Although, for now, Carroll County Commissioner Thomas Wheaton is trying to find another tenant for the mineral rights to the property, after Houston-based Sierra Buckeye waived his claim. OK).
Despite the property’s continued support from business travelers, Carroll County is pushing the resort primarily as a leisure destination.
Amy Rutledge, executive director of the Carroll County Convention & Visitors Bureau, says the lodge is important to the entire area.
Over the years the lodge has been closed, the two marinas on the lake and the nearby restaurants and shops in the area have all suffered.
“Things are better on the lake when the lodge is open,” she said.
Alesa Baker from Dover was among those who celebrated the reopening of the lodge last year. “This is our favorite quiet getaway,” she said over a pre-dinner drink at View, the resort’s lounge, with her husband.
“It’s such a beautiful place,” agreed Jami Offenberger of nearby Magnolia, who went for Sunday brunch at Vista, the main restaurant, with her husband, Bob. “It’s nice to sit here enjoying the view of the water.”
The view is so beautiful, in fact it’s probably worth paying a little more for it.