It is located about one hour south and east of Cleveland. It made for the perfect late-winter get-away, a great place to rest a bit, relax, read, do some hiking in the surrounding forest, swim in the resort's heated indoor swimming pool, enjoy the beauty of the state park and of Punderson Lake itself and so much more. I visited Punderson Manor on this very same weekend last winter and because I had such a great experience then, I decided to do it again.
An overnight or a weekend stay at Punderson Manor Resort and Conference Center feels like you are staying at a charming, quaint and comfortable manor house somewhere in rural England, even though you are literally smack dab in the middle of Northeast Ohio. Actual construction of the manor house began in 1929 for use as a private residence but was not completed until 1948. That year, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources purchased the land and lake (Lake Punderson) for hunting and fishing purposes. In 1951, the area was transferred to the Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation for use as a state park. The manor house itself was remodeled and opened to the public in 1956.
My experience at the resort went like this. I arrived at the manor house early Saturday afternoon and while I waited for my gorgeous room which overlooked beautiful Punderson Lake, I took a walk across the entire length of the frozen 1.5-mile-long and 85-foot deep lake, which was created by the retreating glaciers eons of years ago. While out on the ice, I met and talked to an ice fisherman who was only too happy to show me the two bass that he had just caught with his high-technology underwater radar and fishing equipment, which was extremely interesting for me to observe.
That evening, my very good friends from Medina, Tom and Karen Carabin and their son Geoff, who was visiting them from Hamilton, Ohio, met me at the manor house for a tour and dinner. After talking and laughing for more than three hours, my friends said goodnight and then I headed almost immediately to the resort's heated indoor swimming pool with its overhead wooden beams for a late-night swim.
On Sunday morning I took another hike in the surrounding forest and then walked back to the manor house once again on the frozen lake before checking out.
While I have now visited Punderson Manor two times in the winter, I could see why people would want to visit this beautiful state park and resort throughout the year — especially in the summer and fall. With numerous cabins just minutes away from the manor house and Punderson Lake, an outdoor swimming pool, kayaking, canoeing and fishing opportunities on the lake, hiking trails galore, even an archery range, there are simply so many things to see and do.
I'm now thinking about making a visit to Punderson Manor an annual event because while it is less than a two-hour drive from Norwalk, it feels hundreds, if not thousands of miles further than that. I highly recommend a visit to or an overnight stay or two at this charming, quaint and beautiful resort. Just be on the lookout for the ghosts that I was told frequent the old manor house every now and then.
Gary Richards is a teacher and Norwalk resident who enjoys writing about his travels.