Vining makes Hills inviting

A former local resident does everything she can think of to make family trips as enjoyable as they can be.

Her dedication has paid off.

Elizabeth Vining, 44, of Laurelville, recently earned the “Hospitality Hero of the Year” award at the 24th annual Hocking Hills Tourism Association Dinner in Logan held in February.

Vining said she felt privileged to be recognized for her efforts.

“Working with the public you never know how they are going to react when you give them information,” Vining said. “It is satisfying when they take the information and run with it and come back later and say thank you.”

Vining works for Getaway Cabins, located in the Heart of Hocking Hills near the state parks and nature areas of the region. Hocking Hills is located in southern Ohio. Vining has worked there for five years.

The daughter of Karen and Lawrence Dietz is a 1987 graduate of Wapakoneta High School.

Vining said that the region is seeing more and more visitors as fuel prices continue to increase.

“A lot of people are staying right in Ohio now,” Vining said.

Vining said more than 3 million people visited Hocking Hills last year.

“It is basically at the foothills of Appalachia,” Vining said. “It is about two and a half hours from Wapakoneta. Gatlinburg, Tenn. is about nine hours away.”

Vining said the area offers several different areas of interests for travelers and thrill seekers. Visitors can hike to several caves, cliffs and waterfalls. Horseback riding and canoeing is also popular. Ziplining on the cliffs is the recent big trend at the park.

“It is simply beautiful here,” Vining said.

Vining won the award by going above the call of duty with her job, often helping with little things such as helping visitors get dinner reservations or helping them when they run out of gasoline.

On the organization’s website,, visitors to the Hocking Hills area can find a nomination form and tell the association about a worker in the industry who made their stay little more enjoyable. At the end of the year, the person receiving the most nominations is awarded at the annual banquet.

Vining is married to Ray Vining and they have 13-year-old twin daughters, Vanessa and Heidi.