Because We Fell In Love With Ohio

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A tree in front of a house

Last summer while we were on our long road trip, Sean and I were paying special attention to a few stops along the way. We knew that we were ready to move out of Arizona, but we just weren’t sure where we wanted to be.

We knew that we wanted four seasons, cooler weather, occasional snow, a good bit of rain, and lots of green, but other than that we were pretty open to different parts of the country. We had a list of states that we thought might be it, but we really didn’t know. We both just knew it was time for a move.

A tree covered in snow

We wanted the adventure of a somewhat more rural area, land for the kids to roam and explore, definitely somewhere smaller than Phoenix, AZ, ideally a small town closer to a large city with an international airport.

We had been on the road for about a month when we rolled into Ohio. We spent one brief night there with our friends, and let me tell you, Ohio was not even on the list of potential places when we arrived. We got out of the truck and the kids ran off to explore a bit.

We’d been there maybe half an hour when Sean looked over at me and said, “What about Ohio?” I looked at him to see if he was serious, thought about it for a moment, and it just clicked. I told him, “yeah, I think it’s Ohio.”

A tree in a forest

We spent the last week of our drive back to Arizona talking about it. By the time we were unloading the fifth wheel, we’d researched the towns that fit what we were looking for and narrowed it down to the Columbus area.

We reached out to an Ohio realtor and started the search for our dream property. (Hi Stratton! If anyone else is looking for a place in the Columbus area, I can’t recommend Stratton Alt highly enough. He went above and beyond to make sure that we found the perfect place for our family.)

A large brick building with grass in front of a house

In the meantime, we kept schooling, and working, and dreaming. Many of you have followed this dream along with us over on Instagram with us over the past year. It’s been so much fun to share the excitement with you.

I absolutely LOVE all of the suggestions you have sent for areas to explore, places to eat, and things to do. So, don’t stop sending those now. I have a long list and plans to see it all!

A large tree in a field

We flew back to Columbus for a week in November to really explore the area and to look at properties. Along the way, Sean and I both absolutely fell in love with Ohio.

We knew it was right when we were flying back to Phoenix and realized how sad we were. Ohio already felt like home. We returned to look at a few more houses in December when we saw what we thought might be the perfect place.

A tree in a forest

We had a long list of requirements and an even longer list of wishes and hopes for the property we wanted. I walked through the house and could hardly believe how all of the must-haves had come together in a place that also had so many of our dreams for the property.

So, we made the offer, signed the papers, and made it our own. If you’d told me a year ago that we’d be moving 2,000+ miles across the country and that we would make our home in Ohio, I might have thought you were crazy. It’s amazing what is possible when you fall in love with a place.

A car parked in front of a house

And in case you’re wondering just how crazy it might have been to move from Arizona to Ohio at the end of February?

The above photo was taken the day we arrived and the photo below was taken the next morning as we started unloading the truck.

A snow covered field

Oh, and all the snow? It was gone by noon. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Despite the hassle of a little extra mud and some snow dust on our things, I wouldn’t trade it away.

My younger boys spent hours outside making the most of the dry powdery snow. They were determined to make snowballs and play in it. I can hardly wait for next winter and the promise of wetter snow and a full cold winter. But first, we’ll get to enjoy spring and summer and fall.

A house covered in snow

In just the two weeks we’ve been here, we’ve experienced temps from 6°F to 60°F with a beautiful mix of rain, sleet, snow, and sunshine.

The overcast days are my favorite and I’m looking forward to many more.

I’ve never taken so photos of sunrise or sunset in my life. This is my favorite place I’ve ever been and I still can hardly believe that I get to call Ohio home.

A park bench covered in snow

Brace yourself for an abundance of photos over the months to come. I’ve come to believe that Ohio really is a hidden gem of a state and I can hardly wait to share it with you.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Larry says

    I can sure understand wanting to leave Phoenix, but Ohio would not have been on my radar either. Great that you found your dream spot.

  2. Candace says

    I couldn’t be happier for you and your family, Mary! It looks like you’ve found a wonderful home in the country with all the perfect amenities! I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it all unfold and look forward to more! A few years ago I flew out to the Columbus area (Pickerington) to help a dear friend move to our neck of the woods. It was my first time in Ohio and how beautiful it was!
    I moved around a lot when I was younger, searching for just that right spot. Little did I know it would take our retirement move to find it, but that we did. We too have four wonderful seasons and a tranquil life in the country with the big city not too far away. I wish you and your family all the best!
    Cheers!

  3. Sarah says

    We moved to a smallish town south of Cleveland four and a half years ago and felt like we had finally come home. I suggest you check out the West Side Market in downtown Cleveland. You will be in food heaven!

  4. Mary Beth says

    Mary, I stumbled onto your blog quite by accident and I am so pleased I did! I can’t wait to read more and find new recipes, but, in the meantime, welcome to Ohio! Our little state has so much to see and do and is chocked full of history and culture. Be sure to come up to Lake Erie and visit the islands and bring your family to Cedar Point. We have a lot of wineries dotting the lake also. Playhouse Square, in Cleveland, rivals Broadway with its theater productions. Closer to your home is Hocking Hills and Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave. Hiking there is absolutely breathtaking! You and your family will be amazed at what you will find around every corner! So happy you’re here!

    • Mary says

      Hi Mary Beth! We are so excited to explore the area. Hocking Hills is first on the list for the kids’ spring break this year. I can hardly wait! Thanks for saying “hi!” and I’m so glad you enjoy the website.

  5. Jo Moore says

    Welcome to Ohio! I’v lived in this state most of my life, and it really does have a lot more to offer than most people think. If you ever come down to Cincinnati, there are some really nice restaurants (as there are in the Columbus area, but I’m just not familiar with those.) About an hour north of Columbus on I-71 and somewhere around exit 182, you’ll find Grandpa’s Cheese Barn. Well worth the stop …. if you like cheese. There’s also a candy shop. And to the south you have Hocking Hills with so many great places to hike.

    • Mary says

      Yes to so many of those suggestions! We have the cheese barn and Hocking Hills on our list to try soon. I’ll add the others.

  6. Deborah W. says

    We lived in Ohio for many years, southeast Ohio, near the USAF base, in Beavercreek . We loved it and still love it. Two of our children still live there and the others have many friends and family all around. I love the changing seasons. It’s never dull weather in Ohio. So many wonderful times too!

  7. kelly says

    I love Ohio and love the Columbus area. My son goes to school at University of Dayton and loves it. Welcome to the Midwest. It’s where we are very happy to make our home. Consider exploring northern Michigan in the summer. You won’t be disappointed!!!!!!!!

  8. Phyllis says

    Funny. We moved to Columbus from Arizona too. We like Ohio, but don’t love it. We want to go back to Arizona! Just the opposite. I think it is a good place to raise kids (ours are grown) and there is a lot to do in the state and close by. We have moved many times and seen a lot of the country and are originally from Kansas, so Ohio is similar Midwest. Glad you are happy with your move and enjoy Ohio. I enjoy your website.

  9. Audra Carr says

    Hi Mary, Audra Carr, from Phoenix, Iabsolutely love it. Harvey was born in Columbus. Small world. So happy for you and your new home looks beautiful.

  10. Kristen says

    I have gotten recipes from your blog for years & just figured out you moved to Ohio. I was interested to find out why & I read this post. Stratton is my cousin’s husband! What a very small world. Well, welcome to Ohio, a year and a half later!