Blog: Matt Reese

Celebrate winter!

Earlier this week on Groundhog Day, Buckeye Chuck and Punxsutauwney Phil disagreed about the timing of the spring of 2014. Punxsutauwney Phil forecasted 6 more long weeks of cold winter from Pennsylvania while Buckeye Chuck, in Marion, did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring for Ohio.

After being blasted by numerous bouts of frigid temperatures, abundant snow and just plain COLD Ash cave 3 weather this winter, it could be that the forecasts from the meteorologically inclined groundhogs garnered a bit more attention than usual, as many are really wishing for warmer weather.

As my woodpile dwindles, I too am temped to wish for an early spring, though I do enjoy winter. I was reminded of this last weekend when our family took a short trip to the beautiful Hocking Hills. It was the warmest day we’d had in some time, in the low 40s. We stopped to see Ash Cave, which is always beautiful in any season, but I have never seen it in full winter splendor. When it is cold enough for long enough (which it certainly was this winter), the trickling waterfall at the top builds up a spectacular ice mountain in front of the already impressive rock formation. It was a truly beautiful reason to celebrate winter.

While the Hocking Hills has long been recognized around Ohio for its beauty and impressive stone features, the park has recently been the subject of national and international acclaim. Hocking Hills Ash cave 4State Park was the only location in the United States identified in Buzzfeed’s list of the “22 Stunning Under-The-Radar Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List in 2014.” The other destinations were scattered across the globe and included exotic locales from Norway, Brazil, New Zealand and French Polynesia.

“We are always excited when people discover what Ohioans have long known, that Ohio is truly home to some of the most beautiful places in the world,” said James Zehringer, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director.

And, after our recent visit, I have to agree that a winter trip to the state park in Hocking County is well worth the drive, and maybe even worth wishing for a late spring.







Ash cave small

Photo by Kristin Reese.

Below: Video of Ash Cave

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Author: Matt Reese

I grew up on a small farm in northwest Ohio and spent most of my youth writing, doodling, taking pictures, reading and exploring the surrounding farmland. With a family full of teachers, I also grew up around a culture supportive of education. I was active in athletics in high school before graduating from Ohio State University where I studied agricultural communications. This led to my career in agricultural journalism.

I continue to work on the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. I married my wonderful wife, Kristin, in 2002. We live on a small farm in Fairfield County with sheep, rabbits and chickens. We have a daughter Campbell Miriam who was born in the fall of 2007 and a son Parker Matthew born in August of 2009. We are active in our local church and with numerous other organizations. I help with the agricultural program at Ohio Christian University in Circleville as well.

I have worked for Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999. I also write a column for numerous newspapers around Ohio, Fresh Country Air and do freelance writing and photography work. I have written and self-published six books to date. To find my books, visit and search for “Matt Reese.”

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