Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A COOL TIME IN CANTON GERVASI WINERY NURTURES AN ELEGANT RETREAT IN ANY SEASON Series: WORTH A DRIVE

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A COOL TIME IN CANTON GERVASI WINERY NURTURES AN ELEGANT RETREAT IN ANY SEASON Series: WORTH A DRIVE

Article excerpt

CANTON, Ohio

There are many worthwhile reasons to drive the two-hours-and- change from Pittsburgh to Canton, but on this bright, snowy day in February, nothing could beat the feel of heated limestone floors at the inn at Gervasi Vineyard and Winery.

Having just celebrated its five-year anniversary, the Gervasi property has become a destination for wine-lovers and wedding parties alike. Situated on 55 acres of what was formerly a farm, the estate includes the Italianate-style inn, ballroom, open-air villa, working winery, crush house, fine dining restaurant in a renovated barn, bistro and a marketplace gift store.

"We bought the property not knowing what we would do with it," said Scott Swaldo, Gervasi general manager and son of Ted Swaldo, a retired manufacturer. The elder Mr. Swaldo, his son said, "was looking for something to do that our family could enjoy together, something that had a legacy component, that the community could enjoy."

"It wasn't like we said, 'We want to be in the vineyard business; let's go find a piece of property.' "

The inn features six villas, each comprising four suites around a common area. There are two-level king suites that can accommodate four adults or two adults and two children, as well as a renovated farmhouse on the property that houses eight adults.

Since the inn's opening in October 2011, weekends have been sold out almost year-round. During the warmer months, a two-night minimum is required, but on that frozen Thursday night visit two months ago, the Gervasi property was a welcome destination after a few hours at the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Each suite features walk-in shower, heated towel bars, luxury linens, gas fireplace, rustic touches (think heavy woods and iron) and, of course, those travertine limestone floors. Guests are urged to raid the common room fridge, which is stocked with soft drinks, Italian sodas, water, coffee, tea and yogurts.

Every morning, rustic-looking wooden grape boxes embossed with suite numbers are left in the common room. Inside are fruits, breakfast pastries both sweet and savory, and other seasonal goodies. …

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