Looking to add some magic to the holiday season this year & gift an experience vs more toys you have to constantly clean up?
We recently took a little road trip & I wanted to share it with you all in case you also look for fun destinations close to home. One of the many things I love about living in the CLE area is how we can go in practically any direction & find somewhere to have a great time with the family. In this case, we headed southeast.
Many years ago when our son was little, we went to the Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV. It’s right at the Ohio/West Virginia border & well known for their holiday lights that span of total of 6 miles! We’ve been wanting to go back since our son is older now & can appreciate it more so we planned a trip right after Thanksgiving. Oglebay is under a 3 hour drive from Cleveland. You can stay on property at the resort or do other lodging. We actually found a really cute Airbnb at our next stop which was in Steubenville (more on that in a bit.)
For Oglebay’s Festival of Lights, you don’t need any reservation or anything like that. Just show up. They tell people that the best times to visit is weekdays & right at 5pm when it starts to avoid crowds. We were there on Friday at about 5:30 – 6pm & it wasn’t too bad. They ask for a $25 donation which would include a coupon book & a pass to come back for the rest of the season but this is optional & you can donate as much or as little as you’d like. The self-guided tour spans 6 miles & is quite impressive. I’ll be honest here & let you know that it is most definitely not 6 miles of consistent lights but I’d say is worth seeing at least once especially if you plan to do other things that they offer.
Besides the drive-through light display, the whole grounds are decorated. There’s an area called The Hilltop which has multiple shops & a large 70ft tall tree (similar to the one at Crocker Park) that puts on a great show! As we waited for it to get dark, we took a tour of the Oglebay Mansion Museum which has 13 rooms lavishly decorated you can view as you do a self-guided walking tour of the mansion. We really enjoyed this & I would recommend doing if you go for the holidays. Kids under 17 are free! There really is so much to do there – for the 2021 brochure of all there is, click here.
After we enjoyed the night at Oglebay, we made our way over to The Steubenville Nutcracker Village. It’s only about a 45 minute drive & a must stop if you’re in the area. I’ve heard that the nutcrackers used to be in one general area of the town but this year, the 185 life sized nutcrackers were spread out along the main streets there. We walked around for as much as we could handle that night (it was frigid!) & then returned the next morning. Our Airbnb was just a few minutes away in Steubenville so it was super convenient. We enjoyed seeing the town both at night & during the day. At night Fort Steuben Park is decorated with beautiful lights & a big tree. Their courthouse also does a nightly light/music show which was totally unexpected.
The nutcrackers themselves was such a fun experience – so many different types, sometimes you didn’t know which way to look because the sheer amount of them all over the place. Steubenville is also a featured stop on the Holiday Lights Trail by ohio.org.
Oglebay’s holiday festivities run until January 9th & Steubenville goes until January 8th so you still have plenty of time to consider a trip!
Here are some other interesting stops we made during this trip:
Have you ever been to either Oglebay or Steubenville? Tell me about it in the comments!