Travel: Relaxing is Easy at Granville's Welsh Hills Inn

Taylor Starek

The Welsh Hills Inn is a 45-minute drive from Downtown Columbus. But with its quiet surroundings and blissful amenities, it might as well be a million miles away. Web producer Taylor Starek and her husband spent a weekend at the gorgeous Granville spot, and she came back with insight on how to get the most from your stay, from when to go to what to do while you're there (relax).

Ellie's gait was steady-almost leisurely.

Her tail swayed slowly as she approached, offering us, as we grabbed our bags, a greeting in the form of a sniff and a nudge. No bark, no run-Ellie's welcome seemed unusually calm for a 6-year-old Golden Retriever.

After our stay, it's easy to see why Ellie demonstrates such tranquility. Being a longtime resident of the Welsh Hills Inn, a bed and breakfast tucked away on 15 acres in Granville, would soothe just about anyone (or any dog).

Perhaps that's why TripAdvisor travelers have deemed it the best bed and breakfast, not just in Ohio, not just in the Midwest-but the best in the country.

The inn sits atop a hill just a few miles north of Denison University, and stunning views, quiet nooks and friendly faces abound.

Inspired by their own experiences at bed and breakfasts around the world, Bobbi and Jeff Noe, who both previously worked in the corporate world, opened the inn in 2010.

They live in a sectioned-off area of the spacious home and make it a point to interact with all their guests, personalizing each person's stay and building up a repertoire of regulars. (They've hosted families of Denison students who came to see their kids off to college and returned to see them graduate-and for a stay at Welsh Hills.)

What the Noes have created over the past five years is nothing short of spectacular.

The inn has four available rooms (as well as a cottage), but one peek at the Berllan Glyn Grande King Guest Suite, a sprawling space located on the home's first floor, and my husband and I couldn't resist. The suite boasts a private screened porch overlooking the pool, a steam shower and-my personal favorite-an Italian soaking tub that'll make you feel like Marie Antoinette. I grabbed a book and spent a glorious hour immersed in a warm bath before snatching a towel off the heated towel rack and wrapping myself in a heavy robe. Afterward, I practically floated around the room, enjoying complimentary wine and cheese (served every evening) and admiring Bobbi's impeccable taste in art; she's collected for years and displays varying pieces throughout the home.

Jeff isn't a trained chef, but sample his maple-glazed pork chops, topped with rich homemade chutney, and you'd never know it. You might dispute it, in fact, after a taste of his roasted rosemary potatoes or caramelized Brussels sprouts, delicately seasoned with nutmeg; he insists it's something he's taught himself over time. Test his skills by booking a private dinner, served nearly anywhere you'd like. We ate by candlelight on the inn's wraparound porch, enjoying soft music and overlooking Granville's gorgeous green foliage. Breakfast, included in our stay, was also served outside. I'm still trying to recreate Jeff's fluffy vegetable frittata, seasoned with herbs and creamy cheeses.

Granville offers plenty of laid-back fun to fill a weekend. We walked Denison's campus and stopped in a few downtown shops. But we both agreed spending time on the inn's grounds would've been enough for us. Bike rentals, private massages, a pool and hot tub, plus bocce ball, table tennis and darts, provide plenty of activities to fill a day or two. We spent an hour of our afternoon entertained by Ellie and her spirited companion, Wrigley, a one-year-old Australian Shepherd. And be sure to browse the inn's gift shop, stocked with locally made goods, from pottery to tea to beautiful hand-blown glass. Of course, Bobbi and Jeff encourage visitors to grab one of their many rocking chairs on the inn's front porch and take a moment to enjoy the quiet that comes with being this remote. Sit back, relax-and give Ellie and Wrigley a pat for me.

The Welsh Hills Inn

Location: 2133 Cambria Mill Road, Granville

Room rates: Starting at $189 a night; includes homemade breakfast and a wine-and-cheese hour each evening

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