There were murderers out in plain sight this weekend at The White Oak Inn and, before we discovered who they were, we sat around the dining table and had jovial conversations with them. If you’re thinking this all sounds a little odd, it’s a common occurrence on the property to learn all about the killers and their families. Curious as to what made us hang around to find out whodunnit? You’ll first have to learn about The White Oak Inn and its murderous past.
To understand the history of The White Oak Inn is to understand its innkeepers, Ian and Yvonne. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, they made a drastic life change some 20 years ago and decided to head a bit south to Danville, Ohio (the inn’s location) and take up permanent residence. They’ve got a wicked sense of humor and a love for their job that’s truly palpable. The inn is decorated in gorgeous antique furnishings and its feel is homey and welcoming. The White Oak Inn is also an esteemed member of Select Registry (we’ve visited some other Select Registry properties in Ohio and Pennsylvania as well. Here’s the scoop on them.) which means it has high standards to maintain- and it does so effortlessly.
And speaking of welcoming, from the moment Mr. Locke and I walked through the inn’s front door we felt like a member of the family. Yvonne showed us around the property while Ian was busy in the kitchen cooking. It looks, smells, and feels just like an inn should and their laid back attitude was refreshing and fun.
There’s three options for booking a stay at The White Oak Inn. The main inn property has seven guest rooms, each with comfy beds and all of the amenities of home including wifi, satellite television, and private baths. The White Oak Room is undoubtedly the most spacious and luxurious of the seven and has a two-person whirlpool tub and king size bed. The room sits adjacent to the Common Room area of the inn, so if you’re a light sleeper, keep this in mind because you’ll probably hear guests moving about during your stay.
The six other guest rooms in the main inn area are upstairs and vary as to bed size, but all rooms have access to a mini fridge, and snacks and beverages are available 24 hours a day.
I tend to be a light sleeper so our choice for the weekend was the Guest House. Away from the main house (but only by a few feet so it still feels like you’re part of the family), the Guest House has three separate rooms, each with a true fireplace (and a stockpile of wood), large sleeping area, and separate bathroom. During the mornings of our stay while we were at breakfast, our room was magically cleaned and tidied up upon our return. I’d like to blame it on the woodland creatures that are around the property (yes, I’ve always got Disney on the brain. Think Snow White.), but I’m certain it was the inn’s amazingly sweet staff that took care of our room. There is a trade off if you want more space, however. There’s no wifi in the Guest House, so if you love checking out the internet, you’ll have to take your e-devices over to the main inn’s Common Room.
If you’re really looking for some solitude and peace, then definitely book a stay in one of the property’s two Log Cabin Cottages. Each is super spacious, has a fireplace and whirlpool tub, satellite tele, and a stocked snack center. No wifi in these, either, so you’ll have to head over to the Common Room to connect. We took a quick tour and the scent of warm wood was just delicious.
Breakfast Fit for Royalty, er, Killers
What is all this talk about killers, you’re undoubtedly thinking. No worries; I’ll get there soon enough.
Each morning, Ian and Yvonne make a delicious hearty country-style breakfast. They do offer signature menu items including Banana French Toast (I tried it. Delicious!), homemade muffins, and both sweet and savory options like Egg Tortas. If you can’t make up your mind about whether you want sweet or savory they’ll give you some of both. Guests sit family style around one big table and, during our visit, we ended up making 12 new friends. Seriously. We hugged each other goodbye at the end of our stay.
The dining room is filled with morning light and is as welcoming as the photo shows. There’s no pretense at all.
Dining with the Enemy
There were two murders during the weekend of our stay, actually. A hippie-style wedding got a teeny bit carried away and the next thing we knew we were suspects. What a hoot.
In all reality, we were guests at one of The White Oak Inn’s Murder Mystery Dinners hosted by Leonard’s Mystery Players. Every guest has a role to play and our dinner’s theme was the hippie wedding of Freda and Skip.
It’s a BYOB style of dinner and, before the meals were even served we were hunting for clues. No worries if you don’t have you acting skills down pat; the performers draw you in and make you feel like part of the family.
Guests really do dress their parts (we received ours in an email ahead of time) so you’ll have plenty of time to pull a costume together.
Ian stepped in as the night’s minster and, with fez and all, pulled of a hippie wedding like no other.
The inn offers Murder Mystery Dinner packages starting at just over $300 for a one night stay including two guests, the dinner event, and breakfast the next morning. Don’t think it’s a quickie dinner, either. The event begins at 6pm and ends around 10pm.
We enjoyed four delicious courses (soup, salad, main entree, and dessert) as well as fresh bread, beverages, and loads of entertainment in between.
What’s Around The White Oak Inn?
Around the inn itself, there’s not a whole lot of touristy things to do- but that’s a good thing, actually. It’s quiet and peaceful. And serene. You’ll be right in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country so there’s plenty of not much- that’s a perfect way to disconnect and unplug.
If you do want to get out and see some sights, drive anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour and you’ll find plenty to do:
Velvet Ice Cream– Located in Utica, Ohio, the family-owned business has some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. The mill has free daily tours and taste tests and a restaurant and gift shop. 25 minutes from the inn.
Historic Roscoe Village– Shopping, restaurants, history tours, canal boat rides, and well-maintained gardens. Right around 40 minutes from the inn.
Amish Country– Head to Berlin, Ohio and its surrounding towns and you’ll drive straight into Amish Country. On weekends the cities come alive with shopping, Amish Flea Markets, restaurants, and even buggy rides. This is THE spot to learn about the Amish culture and its way of life. You’re looking at an hour’s worth of driving to get there.
Millersburg, Ohio- Just over an hour away from the inn, we visited because of Mr. Locke’s love of craft beer. Millersburg Brewing is right on the main drag and has a fun atmosphere, good food, and great beer.
Disclosure: I was hosted by The White Oak Inn and Select Registry to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes the bed and breakfast so amazing for guests. We were honored to spend the weekend with Ian and Yvonne and you shouldn’t hesitate for a second to do the same. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and all opinions are my own!