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OHIO: Hocking Hills & Westcott House

In Ohio, I toured the fascinating Westcott House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and hiked the beautiful ravines of Hocking Hills State Park in June 2023 — worth revisiting in April 2024 with waterfalls flowing better from spring rains. By car, these worthwhile sights are respectively 2 and 3.5 hours east of Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo highlights below are gleaned from Tom’s Ohio trip portfolio.

Westcott House by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Springfield, Ohio

Helpful docents guided us on an excellent tour through this cool building designed in Prairie Style in 1906 by “the most important architect of the modern era.”

Above: Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Westcott House on commission in 1906 and built it in 1908 for Mr. Burton J. Westcott, his wife Orpha, and their family in Springfield, Ohio. The grounds include the main house and a garage with stables connected by a long pergola. The historic building was painstakingly restored from 2001-05 for $5.8 million dollars then proudly opened to the public.

Below: A piano and unique furniture grace the living room inside Westcott House.

Above: A round green & yellow Tiffany lamp decorates Westcott House.

Below: A skylight designed by Frank Lloyd Wright illuminates the upper stairwell.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

offers many miles of attractive trails exploring gorges, waterfalls, overhangs, and cliffs worn from the picturesque Black Hand Sandstone.  The exceptional scenery attracts large numbers of visitors to Southeastern Ohio, near the town of Logan. To avoid summer crowds, start early in the morning and go on weekdays and in the off season, fall through spring, especially attractive when the waterfalls are flowing. The scenic Hocking Hills provided two full days of fun hiking for Tom in June 2023, while Carol enjoyed a quilting workshop at the Columbus College of Art & Design, one hour to the northwest. Carol joined my revisit in April 2024 when the waterfalls were prettier.

Geologic history: The Black Hand Sandstone Member of the Cuyahoga Formation was deposited early in the Mississippian Period (359-318 million years ago) when Ohio lay under a warm inland sea. This orange to tan rock underlies the Hocking Hills like a sandwich, with a hard top and bottom and a soft middle layer. Its geologic formation involved the ancient Appalachian Mountains rising to the east feeding rivers which deposited sand and gravel, which eventually compressed into a coarse, sometimes conglomeratic quartz sandstone.

Above and below: Waterfalls plunge under Ohio’s largest natural bridge, in Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, Hocking County, Ohio. Rockbridge’s sandstone natural bridge is more than 100 feet long and 10 to 20 feet wide.

Below: A red and brown Eastern American toad (Bufo americanus americanus) at the comfortable Hocking Hills Cabins with hot tubs, in Pine Creek Horseman’s Camp.

Above and below: A waterfall plunges over the mouth of Ash Cave, Ohio’s largest stone recess.

Above: Sandstone patterns at Ash Cave. 

Above: An arched stone bridge at Lower Falls, along the Old Man’s Cave loop trail (2 miles), in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio.

Above: Devil’s Bathtub, on Old Man’s Cave loop trail in Hocking Hills State Park.

Below: Cascades and waterfalls in Old Man’s Creek, right below Old Man’s Cave.

Above: Cement pylon footbridge, Old Man’s Cave Gorge trail.

Below: A stairway ascends from Lower Falls on the Old Man’s Cave loop trail.


Above: Whispering Cave and Falls (1.4 miles round trip) along Hemlock Bridge Trail, in Hocking Hills State Park in April 2024. (In June 2023, the Cave was intriguing but the Falls wasn’t flowing.)

Above: Visit Cedar Falls along a separate trail (0.75 mile loop) in Hocking Hills State Park (or connect trails in a longer loop). After spring rains in April 2024, Cedar Falls flowed nicely as pictured (although was a trickle in June 2023).

Below: A side stream cascades beautifully near Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park.

Above: A yellow flower of
Erythronium genus (a fawn lily or trout lily, closely related to tulips) on the Gorge Trail, Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve.

Below: Canyon walls overhang the end of the Gorge Trail (1.5 miles round trip) in Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve, near Logan, Ohio.

Below: Steps wind through a slot in the Cantwell Cliffs area of Hocking Hills State Park (1.3-mile loop trail).

Above: Explore colorful Rock House cave on a scenic 1-mile loop trail in Hocking Hills State Park.

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