Do you really have to stay at home to be on a “staycation”? I love hopping on a plane and ending up in a place far away, but there is something so special about driving back roads and adventuring close to home I love even more.
While not everyone feels comfortable traveling to faraway destinations due to COVID, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a more local getaway. With homeowners repurposing their properties as vacation rentals, it’s never been easier to find a cozy stay with minimal interaction with other people. If you need a getaway to rest and recharge (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), then check out these rentals that can all be accessed within a few hours or less by car from Wheeling for the quick easy vacation you deserve.
Head Northwest from Wheeling through the rolling hills of Ohio and you will find this lovely restored 1969 Holiday Rambler Camper at Camille Road Farm. Owner and Baker, Jason was a great host. There is a clearly marked parking space for guests which is a short walk from the camper itself. Jason, a former Cleveland Bakery owner, left a fresh loaf of bread, eggs from the hens right outside and an assortment of vegetables from the organic gardens in the camper for my stay.
The property is nestled up against the woods which you are welcome to explore. The street is quiet with just one visible house of a neighbor and Jason’s house nearby. You will find firewood for the firepit, a small pond full of lily pads and a docked pontoon boat which serves as a place to relax with a good book. Jason leaves approved farm animal food in the camper if guests would like to interact with the goats and chickens, super fun if you have kids.
Nearby attractions include Atwood Lake which is 3 miles up the road. If you want to enjoy lake activities without staying around lots of other vacationing folks, Jason’s place is a perfect, more private, option. The camper itself is small but equipped with everything you need to shower, cook a simple meal, make coffee in the morning and sleep. The sleeping arrangement is the dining table which folds down into a platform for the cushions to act as your bed. If you like a plush foam mattress type of bed, you could bring a sleeping pad or an air mattress to provide more cushioning. There are plenty of pillows and cozy blankets in the camper as well as air conditioning.
Jason took the time to show me the gardens in the morning before I left and it was a real pleasure to hear his plans to expand the property to include another pond and some glamping sites in the future. It’s a great place to unwind for a weekend and check out area lakes or nearby Amish Country.
I drove a little out of the way on the way back to change up the scenery and stopped at Daily Grind Coffee in New Philadelphia, Ohio for some fresh brewed coffee and pastries. The route home also took me past Tappan Lake which was a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy the lunch I had packed in my cooler. Jason’s Airbnb doesn’t have a minimum night stay and at just over an hour away it’s a great place to get away for a short change of pace.
Redbud Farm, Wellsburg, WV (17 miles)
Jim and Jo Ellen Haizlett have been hosting guests at Redbud Farm in Wellsburg for 7 years now and are superhosts on Airbnb. It started with one cabin they initially built for themselves.Jim, who worked at the nearby West Liberty University for 20 years, has a sawmill on the property and the family built each of their three beautiful one-of-a-kind cabins themselves. After they built the first cabin Jo Ellen says it was other people that suggested they could rent it, so they did!
All three cabins are off-grid and the shower/outhouse are outside the cabin. Each cabin is equipped to cook meals and stocked with firewood for outdoor cooking and indoor heat. Each cabin features a unique and cozy style and local artist Rosalie Haizlett’s gorgeous artwork can be found throughout. Rosalie is one of the couple’s seven children.
The family keeps the trails on the property well groomed and kayaks for guests to use during their stay. A map of the property is provided and guests are welcome to explore the surrounding woods. I asked Jo Ellen what makes a good guest and she said “someone looking for a restful getaway, to unplug devices, work on projects and enjoy the privacy.” Even though the property houses three rentals, there is a quarter-mile between each and you’ll feel as though you have the place to yourself.
Some AirBnB rentals are just a crash pad for area adventures but at the Haizlett’s secluded paradise, Redbud Farm IS the destination. This is a great stay for people who truly want to unwind and enjoy nature. That being said, the rental cabins are closed in the coldest winter months of January and February as the roads become less reliable to access the cabins.
People come from near and far to stay at Redbud Farm proving, as Jo Ellen says, that “Brooke County CAN be a travel destination”. The farm sees a good amount of guests from nearby cities like Pittsburgh where people are just looking to get out for a bit and relax.
Redbud Farm’s busiest season is April to October so if you’re looking for a fall getaway, book NOW before they fill up for the rest of the season. There is a two night minimum stay and pets are allowed at Redbud Farm!
The Triangle Cabin, West Farmington, OH (118 miles)
If you’re looking for a one night getaway that’s close to home and unique, The Triangle Cabin in West Farmington might be a perfect stay for you. Nestled in the heart of Amish Country, the cabin itself is well equipped for an easy trip where you can pack light. You’ll find all the utensils and cookware you need to make a simple meal in the tiny kitchen. Appliances include a sizable countertop toaster/convection oven, a microwave and an electric hot plate. There is an electric hot water kettle and a Berkey water filter as well.
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Check in is at 3 p.m. at the Triangle Cabin and it’s easy and contactless using a coded lock box outside the cabin for the key. The host, Elijah, a musician who lives in Cleveland, was very responsive on Airbnb and even let me know the cabin was ready a few hours ahead of scheduleand I could arrive any time. I drove up to the area early and decided to pursue one of my favorite past times, cruising antique malls. I did some research ahead of time and decided I wanted to check out Aunt Annie’s Antiques which was nearby and had great reviews online.Annie’s did not disappoint. The place was massive and you could certainly spend hours looking through all the treasures inside. On the way to check into the cabin there were a few farm stands along the road to pick up some fresh food for supper.
For a tiny A-Frame cabin, the Triangle seems bigger inside than the photos portrayed. The downstairs houses a Queen size futon bed and upstairs you’ll find two small bedrooms; one with a full size bed and one with a twin sized bed. There is a second story porch for sitting off of one of the upstairs bedrooms. I chose the full size bedroom because the bed was a super comfy foam mattress. The space is equipped with clean bedding and if you’re there in cooler weather there is a wood stove and plenty of wood to keep the cabin very warm.
In the morning, I decided to hit up a local spot for some breakfast before heading out of town.A quick google search led me to Wayside Restaurant in Warren, OH. The food is a bargain and came out very quickly and with the bottomless cup of coffee it was well worth the stop. The restaurant has a diner feel to it with a breakfast menu you can order all day long and friendly service. It was a rainy day so I took my time heading back to Wheeling. I stopped for some more antiquing and thrift store digging in Youngstown, OH before making my way home.
Though the cabin is small, four people could easily stay comfortably. There is a full size bathroom and a picnic table and firepit outside as well for outdoor dining. The drive up to the cabin with the changing fall leaves would make a perfect October weekend getaway. Area farm stands will be loaded with pumpkins to peruse and fall treats to enjoy. To check out more photos of the cabin by the owners and past guests you can follow along on Instagram.
Alleghany Houseboat, Verona, PA (70 miles)
This is one of those unique stays that fulfills a far-fetched dream of mine to live on a boat, even though I don’t know how to operate a boat and have spent very little time boating. You can arrive at this cozy houseboat in about an hour and half from Wheeling. It’s located in the 10.7 Marina which also houses a kayak and paddleboard rental company as well as a Pizzeria and hosts various events. While a houseboat may seem “off the beaten path” the hosts warn that the marina is frequently full of life/activity and there are often rowing teams out on the river in the early morning. If you’re looking for peace and privacy or are a late sleeper, this probably won’t be the ideal stay for you. It should also go without saying that the Oolikhanna Houseboat (Lanape, meaning “beautiful stream”) is not ideal for guests that may suffer from seasickness in the wake of passing boats.
From the AirBnB listing:
“Come Glamp with us on our tiny 1972 Nautline houseboat located on the beautiful Allegheny River. We are in Verona, PA, a little river town about 10.7 miles upriver from Downtown Pittsburgh. Enjoy a complimentary kayak, paddle board or canoe rental to enjoy the river. Create your own river adventure to Sycamore Island, or Plum Creek to explore. You can also take it easy and hang out on the houseboat or enjoy a dip in the Allegheny to cool off.Enjoy the top deck watching the sunset.”
At $200/night with a two-night minimum along with a cleaningand occupancy fee the Alleghany houseboat is a little more pricey than some other area stays, but for a one-of-a-kind experience on a well-equipped boat with breathtaking scenery, it’s a steal.
What local staycation destinations are you excited to explore?
• Melissa Rebholz was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, to a Sicilian/German family. She grew up in a household revolving around food. In 2007, a summer of volunteering for GrowNYC (New York City’s Farmer’s Markets) led her down the path to culinary school at The Natural Gourmet Institute and 10 subsequent years of farming from Long Island to Sonoma to Tennessee. Working simultaneously in kitchens to support her farming habit, Melissa migrated back to the rustbelt in October of 2019 to help Grow Ohio Valley open the Public Market as the head chef. Her hobbies include foraging, baking, dinner parties and exploring her new home of Wheeling, West Virginia.