Most people associate state parks with family picnics, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, hiking, and fall foliage. In the winter, they might visit a state park to go cross-country skiing, tobogganing, snowmobiling, or ice fishing.
You have all this at Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio, and more, thanks to the Punderson Manor Lodge, located in the park. Amenities include party rooms in a luxurious yet cozy Tudor-style mansion, guest rooms, a quaint pub, an 18-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, breathtaking views of Punderson Lake, cottages, and conference rooms. There's even a legend of a ghost. All the amenities one can imagine in an English manor, barring the butler. Better yet, you have bubble and squeak.
Traditional English Fare
Brad Burkovics, executive chef of 18 years at Punderson Manor, says bubble and squeak is a crowd favorite modeled after the traditional English mashed potato and cabbage side dish that makes use of leftover vegetables. "It's called bubble and squeak because of the popping sounds it makes as it's cooking," explained Burkovics.
Originating in the 18th century, early recipes for bubble and squeak called for beef, mutton, lamb, or veal, but modern versions of the dish are usually composed of only vegetables.
Punderson Manor serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a full affordable menu. The manor has a relaxing, warm atmosphere; a phenomenal view of Punderson Lake; and decadent desserts made in-house by the pastry chef.
Enjoying lunch recently, local Hedy Kramar said, "I always like coming to Punderson. The food is delicious, and it is always a treat in an atmosphere of comfort and elegance. It's a little like stepping back in time. Mother's Day is really special."
Punderson Manor is steeped in tradition. Amy Otto, the sales and catering manager, said, "We even grow some of our own vegetables here at Punderson." Rumor has it, Otto can be seen out in the garden weeding at any given time during the growing season.
Sustainability and community involvement are mentioned often when talking with Burkovics and Otto. "We are dedicated to using as much local food as possible," Burkovics said. "We recycle everything we can; we are even working towards recycling the cooking oil into bio-fuel someday. We use rain barrels for the garden, we compost."
The green team made up of Punderson employees and volunteers is working hard on sustainability and a role as an active member of the community. Dishwasher Dave Sedora, a 17-year employee, takes produce fresh from the garden every Monday and Tuesday to the Geauga County Home. Plants and seeds for the garden are donated by Sirna's Farm, a local Geauga County business.
More Park Activities
Burton, Ohio, Mayor Nicholas Fischbach gives Punderson Haunted History Tours, complete with "Ghost Stories by the Bonfire" every Thursday from May 23 to October 24. Punderson State Park is smack-dab in maple syrup country. Live demonstrations of the sugaring process are held Sundays during their all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts.
"We are looking to make the public aware of a hidden gem in Geauga County's state park by educating them of what Punderson Manor has to offer, from our sustainable local menus to our historical manor," said Otto.
When bubble and squeak was first made in England, sustainability was probably not understood. Yet the dish, which incorporates leftovers from the previous day's meal so nothing goes to waste, seems a good fit in today's times. It also seems a good fit at Punderson Manor, where delicious food and ambience go hand and hand with the great outdoors of a state park.
Punderson Manor Lodge is located at 11755 Kinsman Road in Newbury, Ohio.