We All Have a Little Kid in Us- Chapel Hill and Project Playground

chapel hill 3
Annie Joseph looking lovely (and comfy) in the living room of the Chapel Hill House

For Week 2, I looked at Marion through the eyes of a child once again. Our first stop was a place that I had never heard of before. It’s the Chapel Hill’s House in Morral. The name in itself makes it sound quaint and charming but once I heard the story behind it, I immediately fell in love. The founders, Larry and Annie Joseph, decided that once retired, they would buy and fix up a log cabin in Larry’s home state of Kentucky. When plans fell through with the cabin in Kentucky, they happened upon a beautiful piece of land for sale in Morral, Ohio. They then coincidentally discovered an old log cabin in southeastern Ohio. Things were falling perfectly into place.

Once they got started building their retirement getaway, Larry was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. It was then that the Josephs realized that the true purpose of their cabin was for families struggling with cancer, especially families with children that were diagnosed. That was when the Chapel Hill House was born. Through his treatments and therapy, Larry found true healing in rebuilding the log cabin. Before the completion, 25 families were already scheduled to spend weekends at the house. Larry passed away shortly after the Chapel Hill House opened up. The house still lives on and has been booked just about every weekend it has been open. His wife, Annie, keeps his legacy alive by constantly promoting the cabin and is active in the cancer fighting community all over Ohio.

Scolding my "students" in the Chapel Hill Schoolhouse  after catching them passing notes in class
Scolding my “students” in the Chapel Hill Schoolhouse after catching them passing notes in class

The cabin seems small and old fashioned on the outside, but on the inside is the most charming home you could imagine. The décor has its own classic country feel with authentic quilts and even beds that are tightened with ropes! Outside of the cabin you will find a separate schoolhouse complete with a chalkboard, student desks and a teacher’s desk. The land is perfect for stargazing, bonfires and picnics and even has its own little playground and hiking trail.

The Chapel Hill House is a great place to get away from the stresses of life and is a great experience for the whole family. I grew up very fortunate to have a home, my health, the health of my family and an abundance of love in my life. I never had to worry about anything and my Chapel Hill experience really put things into perspective for me.

Reading the sign that says I weigh significantly too much...
Reading the sign that says I weigh significantly too much…

Our second stop was my all-time favorite park as a child, Project Playground at McKinley Park. As I walked through arches, passed the monkey bars and observed the other kids playing tag, my childhood rushed back to me and I began feeling like a kid through them again. Although I didn’t join the kiddos (there was an age 2-11, 100 lb. limit), I began feeling the rush of going down the biggest slide, my hands were sore as I watched a group swing on the monkey bars and the thrill of jumping off the swing when Mom wasn’t watching. Those times were the highlight of my week at the time. Then I started reminiscing of how excited I got when I found out my family was going out to eat. Remember how you could never  sleep those two weeks leading up to Christmas? Or how the best day ever was your birthday or every time your mom made macaroni and cheese for dinner? Now I flip out over discovering that Elder-Beerman is having a sale on eight piece Pyrex glassware containers (14.97!). When did I become a boring grown-up? I wanna go back…

To learn more about the happenings of the Chapel Hill House or how to set up your weekend getaway, visit http://www.chapelhillhouse.org/

Visitor's Guide

Traveling Ohio? The Marion County 2020 Visitors Guide is now available! View it online in a convenient flipview format, or order a print version at 800.371.6688.

Upcoming Events

View Calendar >>