Last week on our adventure day, we went to Lake Hope State Park. My mom wanted to return to Hocking Hills so I looked for places we haven’t been there. When we were there two years ago we saw most of the typical tourist spots. I wanted to stay away from the more crowded areas. I also needed to keep in mind accessibility.
When I mentioned to Mom and Dad that I thought we would go to Lake Hope they started laughing. Tom and I had never been there, but they used to go to Lake Hope on retreats when they were in college at Ohio State. They both were active in the Albright-Otterbein Student Fellowship. They stayed at Laurel Lake Lodge at Lake Hope for their retreats.
When Mom was a freshman, she set her sights on a handsome sophomore at her first retreat. She tried flirting with him but he was very serious and uninterested – at first. Due to her persistence, he at least was talking to her by the end of that first retreat.
Choosing Lake Hope State Park was a chance thing for me, but it ended up being a God thing with my parents. I loved listening to their stories about retreats at Laurel Lodge and the fun they had with other students. They stayed in touch with many of the friends they made on these retreats. All four of us sat on the swings outside Laurel Lodge and Tom and I listened to their wonderful memories. I wished later I had recorded them to share with my brother and sister.
But, memories aside, Lake Hope is a wonderful state park, away from the bustle of a lot of the other Hocking Hills sites. The area was a big iron producer in the latter part of the 19th century. We visited the Hope Furnace, which was a furnace used in iron production from 1854 until 1875.
Then we drove to the Lake Hope Dining Lodge for lunch. Although you cannot eat inside the Lodge due to coronavirus restrictions, we could order and get our food to go. There were picnic tables outside the lodge which were a lovely, shaded area for lunch. The food was very good and there was plenty of it. Tom and Dad both got pulled pork sandwiches and Mom and I each got the hearty mac and cheese. We all agreed we should have ordered one sandwich and one mac and cheese and share them. There was plenty for two meals.
After lunch we had our idyll at Laurel Lodge. I especially liked the swing set – six swings in a circle around a fire pit.
Lake Hope State Park is a wonderful place to spend a week of quiet vacation. There are cabins within walking distance of the dining lodge and miles of hiking trails. The 120 acre lake is great for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. There is a 600 foot swimming beach that wasn’t crowded on a beautiful, hot summer day. Eight mountain biking trails surround the lake. Most of the campground sites are primitive but there are nice shower houses.
We enjoyed our outing to Lake Hope State Park very much. For Mom and Dad it was a walk down memory lane. Tom and I felt blessed to be able to take that walk with them.