Brecksville family fulfills dream by opening campground
by Martin McConnell
Brecksville residents Terry and Janet Schoen have long been willing campers, and their family members avid outdoorsmen. The couple has dreamed of owning a campground.
That dream was realized with the opening of Valley Overlook at Camp Mueller, 4451 Akron Peninsula Rd. With reservations already being taken, the two are thrilled to bring their outdoorsy brand of happiness to Northeast Ohio.
“We go back and forth along Akron-Peninsula, my husband in particular, because we used to own a little business down in the Merriman Valley,” Janet said. “He witnessed that there was this property that appeared to be abandoned. He and I took a look at the property and were very inspired by it.”
After about a year, the Schoens were totally intrigued by the property, Janet said, so they decided to drop a line to the owners and ask about buying the acreage.
“A year later, my husband contacted the owners again and just said, if it’s ever on the market, we’d be interested in discussing,” she said. “We just purchased it a year ago this past March. It’s a 62-acre piece of property with about 20 acres that are able to be built on.”
The property is under joint control of the Schoen family and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to Janet. Fortunately for the Schoens, they and the national park have similar ideas of how the property should be developed.
“We cooperate with the national park in all of our plans,” she said. “The national park is protecting the land, keeping it as we would wish to keep it as well: very light on development.”
The family has plans to develop the campground just a bit, Janet said. The season will begin with four cabins with more to open by the end of the year.
“This year, we’ll open and it will be a rolling start,” she said. “We open with four units, and then we will probably be adding every other week, we’re going to probably be adding a couple more units, because we’ll be building all summer.”
The Schoens said they are ready to work on what they call “the vision” for Valley Overlook. The family loves the scenery and wants to create a specific ambiance for those who visit.
“It will be a small campground as campgrounds go,” she said. “But the vision is to have a beautiful setting, where people can come and enhance their life by just feeling like they’re immersed in beauty and a peaceful place. … Terry and I are both hoping it’s a place where families can take some downtime together and really enjoy some simple beauty.”
Schoen called the property “spectacular” in its simplicity and explained that it showcases a certain type of allure and charm, thanks to its raw, natural feel.
“We have an amazing overlook that I hope every visitor will be able to enjoy at sunset,” Janet said. “The view of the valley, the western view, is really second to none that I’ve ever seen. Our hope is to develop a place where people go away feeling refreshed.”
Reservations for Valley Overlook are open at valleyoverlook.com, Schoen said. Dates start on May 15, according to their website.
The Schoens said they want to be there for people who don’t have camping equipment but need a quick getaway, if only for a weekend.
“We’re hoping that people can come to Valley Overlook, explore the park and explore our own piece of property,” she said. “You know that feeling where you just say, ‘Gosh, that was such a good day.?’ We’re trying to develop a space that is very conducive to that feel.” ∞