Gervasi Vineyard, an authentic Tuscan experience in northern Ohio
As I made my way to northeastern Ohio, the last thing I expected was to feel as if I’d been transported to a Tuscan village, but that’s exactly what happened when I arrived at Gervasi Vineyard. Canton, Ohio may be best known for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but as I soon discovered, Gervasi is a destination that reflects the more refined side of Canton.
The Italians have a long history of producing the “best” the world has to offer…from its architecture, exotic cars, fine wines, clothing, to the food and supple leathers, Italians make the best-of-the-best. Gervasi Vineyard is the very embodiment of Tuscany and the quality that we’re accustomed to seeing when it comes to Italian influence. Gervasi was built, and is run, by the Swaldo family…Italian through-and-through. Whether you come to Gervasi for the wine, the food or the lodging, the quality, value and service you’ll experience will leave you wanting more.
When it comes to travel, I do what everyone does…peruse the web. I was researching for a place in Ohio that I wanted to visit, so when I found Gervasi on-line, I had an impression of what to expect. As I approached and drove through Canton, my GPS was telling me that Gervasi Vineyard was just a few minutes away, however the landscape/area was telling me something entirely different. I had expected large open spaces, or to be in the outskirts of Canton, but I had been driving through what looked like a residential area. Thankfully after my last turn things begin to change and my GPS had not led me astray. As I drove through the entrance of Gervasi, I immediately felt transported. Vineyards were on the left, and I could see a beautiful spring-fed lake just beyond. I soon came upon a couple of structures, which I learned was the Bistro and Marketplace.
The property on which Gervasi is built was one the home of a 19th century sawmill. In an effort to stay connected to the history and heritage of the land, the Swaldo family painstakingly restored the old barn on the property, which is the Gervasi centerpiece and plays host to its Bistro and some of the winemaking operations. The method by which the building was preserved highlights its natural open space, which provides a warm and inviting atmosphere, while at the same time complementing its Italian theme.
The road through the vineyard continues past the Bistro and winds around to the other side of the lake. The Villa Grande is where guests check-in, the space is also used for weddings, events, corporate meetings as well as cooking classes. The beautiful space provides a tantalizing Tuscan taste of what is in store for its guests.
After I received the keys to my room, I excitedly made my way to the assigned villa. There are six villas and each contains four suites with several configurations from which to choose. In the center of each villa is a lovely lobby, which guests in the four suites can utilize, along with a patio overlooking the lake. For weddings and special events, you can rent the entire villa and use the lobby as your own private space. There is even a wet-bar with ice and a mini-fridge stocked with refreshments. For breakfast…you select what time you’d like eat, and in the morning a beautiful wine box with your room number engraved is delivered to the lobby—inside, an array of freshly made goodness.
I stayed in a luxury king suite, which overlooked the lake. It was evident that little expense was spared in the construction and furnishings of the suites—mine had a gas fireplace, beautiful décor, a super comfy bed with six down pillows, large flat screen T.V., mini-fridge and a safe for valuables. The bathroom is just spectacular…travertine throughout! The walk-in shower is quite large with a mosaic design on one of the walls. The loo is in its own private room and the entire space has high vaulted ceilings. Every detail to make it feel as though you’re staying in a true Tuscan villa has been thought out.
After I had a chance to get settled, I had to walk the grounds and get familiar with the property. The vineyard encompasses 55 acres, so there is a lot of ground to cover. Throughout the property there are brick pathways to lead you to and from each setting, whether it be the Bistro, Piazza, the Marketplace, the Pavilion or the Winery, everything is connected. With their in-room spa treatments, Gervasi is able to connect mind, body and spirit.
Gervasi Vineyard is a place with so much to see, do and experience that you really never need to leave the property; it’s a destination unto itself. While I was there I ate at the Bistro or in the Piazza every day. Here are some of the seasonal meals I enjoyed:
- Black Pepper Salmon – This dish came with shaved Brussels sprouts, roasted fingerling potatoes, pancetta and it was topped with this zesty sweet mustard sauce.
- Shrimp and Scallop Duo – Rice pilaf with pine nuts, edamame, peas, roasted pepper sauce topped with a lemon marmalade.
- Hearth-fired pizzas – I enjoyed the pizzas so much that I had a couple of them while I was there. My favorite was the Garden Verdue, which has grilled vegetables, basil pesto, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and then it’s drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The aged balsamic really added to the finish.
I was thoroughly impressed by Gervasi Vineyard. While I mean no disrespect to Canton, I had not expected to encounter such a high level of lodging. It’s always fun when your expectations are exceeded. Gervasi was so special that I’d be surprised if they didn’t make the annual Mike’s Road Trip “best of” list in some category or another. While Gervasi is not inexpensive, I think given the quality, it’s an extremely good value. Gervasi received a 48 out of 50 on the Mike’s Road Trip milepost marker rating system, the highest lodging score ever given.
Have you ever been to Gervasi Vineyard, if so, please share your experience with my readers and me by leaving a comment below.