While sitting around on New Years Day with our close friends we started speaking of changes we needed to make this year with an important one being to spend more time together. See we're friends, but honestly, family would be a better term as our kids call each other cousins and we all support and depend on each other more than typical friends would. Over the last year however our schedules and life have severely limited the amount of time we've had available for each other and now was the time to change that!
We decided to take a trip to Sandusky and enjoy a couple days of adult time (sorry kiddos) & bonding. Since the kids would disown us if we visited an Indoor Waterpark without them, we obliged and searched for other lodging options but feeling that you couldn't really bond and enjoy each others company with individual hotel rooms, a house would be the only logical choice so we searched HomeAway.com for a place that would meet our needs...
Searching Sandusky brings up pages of rentals however as you start to filter based upon your needs (or our wants because we have a picky group, very picky, it's them not me I promise), the pages reduce to just lines. 5 Bedrooms check, Grill check, at least 3 Bathrooms check, and now we are down to around 7 results. I forgot, we definitely need a hot tub annnd now we are down to 3. Of those remaining, only one commanded our attention.....
As we used to say as kids in the 80's, this place was "Dope!". Looking over the pictures it was honestly too good to be true, 5 bedrooms, large living room, fireplace, huge Tv's and yes, a hot tub. We contacted the owner and he replied back quickly and seemed super nice.. Almost too nice, to the point it put us off and made us wonder if this was just a scam (which shows the sad state of our world these days when someone being nice sets off red flags). So on a wing and a prayer we made our reservations and a month and change later we arrived.
Chris met us upon our arrival and showed us around the house showing each room and providing the backstory as he personally restored and rebuilt everything with his son. After the walkthru it was apparent he actually was a nice person and just down to earth. To ensure our comfort during the weekend he also stocked the refrigerator with beer and left us with a ton of snacks!
Inside The Main Floor
Instantly comforting and designed for entertaining, the main floor has wide open spaces that segway right into each other. The foyer is crowned with beautiful modern lighting and adorned with a nice table that happens to be a perfect place to set a bouquet of flowers in the event your want to surprise your wife (gentlemen are your paying attention?) The real star however is a 6ft mirror that everyone in our party used at least once (or 34 times) to take photos or use to double and triple check their outfits. Charisse and Sonja might as well have spent the night in front of it due to how much time they spent in front of it.
The living room and kitchen are separated by a partial wall that has a huge flat screen tv and fireplace built into BOTH sides which is pretty sweet as you can be entertained rather cooking or relaxing. The living room has more than enough seating for everyone to lounge around and I would like to personally tell you how comfortable the couch is however, Cannon, Sonja, Charisse and Carese never got off the damn thing to let me enjoy it! Like seriously, never got up! So I guess that's enough of an endorsement for the "relaxation factor".
The kitchen is spacious, leaving enough room for everyone (in our case the guys) to cook and maneuver without crossing into each other's space. One of the goals of our trip was to spend as much time together in the house since we eat out all of the time back home and the kitchen had all of the dishes and utensils (and seasonings) we needed to make this happen. It's important to note that the women of the group didn't help cook anything because being the upstanding gentlemen we are, we wouldn't allow them to 😁😁
One funny thing to note, Charisse, Sonya and Vernell spent just under 10 minutes trying to turn the faucet on, literally, only to find out that it's one of those "Jetson's" features of the home and all you have to do is waive your hand next to the base and viola! it turns on! It was actually quite funny (and sad) watching 3 people with 2 "Masters" degrees between them, struggle to figure out how to make water flow.... How'd they finally figure it out? One guy with only a years worth of "Higher Education" showed them... BTW I am that guy, he was me.
The biggest delemma we faced after arrival was who got which room. We run into this issue everytime we rent a home and for some reason we still never think to call dibbs beforehand, so this is always the part that makes or breaks the trip for some of us as your actual "domain" could change your mood for better or worse!
If you remember the old mid-90's tv show "Supermarket Sweep", where each contestant had to run around the grocery store like a crazy person scouring for certain ingredients in a certain amount of time, than you know exactly what it looks like when we seek our our rooms. Picture a halfway civilized "Running Of The Bulls" as soon as we hit the doorway! The difference here however vs. past rentals is that each room was beautiful!
Each with a diffrent style of decorating, it was as if each was its own separate house. Some with wood "pallet" like walls or different paint schemes, they were all comfortable from the decorations on down to the beds which showed no expense was spared as these aren't your run of the mill hotel mattresses. The 5th bedroom was part loft but was fully recessed giving you privacy and as an additional feature which we thought was cool is there is a sitting area in front with a chess table and bookshelf that lets you overlook the kitchen area and provides a nice view of the home. So which room is the Master? All of them!
I have to mention the bathrooms as each has a shower head that i've only seen in Sharper Image magazines and in super expensive hotels (on their website of course as those places are above my pay grade). Made up of several jets that aim at every level of your body, it feels like more spa than shower and we all loved it. My apologies to the property owners as we probably used more water relaxing than actually showering!
The Great Outdoors
Outside the home you'll find even more space to relax and entertain with the huge bi-level deck which is only dwarfed in size by the even bigger backyard. On the deck is plenty of seating and a wood burning fire pit for those Erie county nights. Also for those nights (and days) is a large hot tub that we couldn't get enough of. Prior to this trip, I had seen pictures of people enjoying hot tubs in the dead of winter and I never really understood it... Until I tried it!
There's no feeling like soaking in warm jets with the colored Led lights slowly strobing while the greatest singer ever, Sade plays on low with a mountain of snow surrounding you. Worried about being cold when you get out? Well don't because the house comes with nice thick robes that are perfect for shielding you while moving in and out of the house.
In the backyard is a lower section that's completely shaded and fitted with additional lounge chairs and cornhole boards. With a yard so big and perfect for entertaining, it's no surprise that a huge gas grill awaits with enough burners and propane to cook nonstop and feed the whole crew.
Not to just be resigned to the back, the front porch is a great place to sit and talk while watching traffic go by. Or if you're more of an explorer, hop on one of the bikes provided and venture out around the town!
An Added Touch
Aside from the home and it's restoration being beautiful in itself, it's the additional touches that really bring its character out.
Barn doors, creative lighting, paintings, signs, decorative luggage and more add to the comforts of the home. One of the closet doors doubles as a whiteboard and had several motivational messages written on it which was cool because it gave the home the kind of personality that's not present in a hotel.
Needless to say we had a blast being able to relax and spend time together this weekend and having the "Sandusky House Of Versailles" as our home without question added to the experience. We hadn't made it out of the driveway before we started making arrangements to come back and experience it during the warmer months. If I had one suggestion for you that would provide you a better stay than we had, it would be to stay for more than 2 days. This was the only mistake we made when booking this house, a weekend isn't enough!
Sandusky has so much to offer, you can find many things for the whole family or like us, your group to do during a getaway weekend. Plus with the new addition of the Cedar Point Sports Center, families will be visiting year round, so when your thinking of accommodations, give the House Of Versailles a call, the only regret you'll have is checking out!