The Ottumwa Courier


November 30, 2009

Honey Creek a perfect reunion site

CENTERVILLE — One of the state’s goals in building Honey Creek Resort was to make it a true destination, a place people would come to from surrounding states.

How well that has been accomplished is a matter of some debate. But the debate didn’t matter to Livie and Ella Ruble or Jordan and Josh Hunt on Saturday. They were focused on their gingerbread cookies.

Two branches of the same family, the Rubles are from Minnesota. The Hunts live in Arkansas. Honey Creek is roughly in the middle. Both families have long drives; it is about 12 hours from the Hunts’ Arkansas home and seven or eight hours from where the Rubles live in Minnesota.

Stephen Ruble, Ella and Livie’s dad, said it gets the families off their home ground, where it can be difficult to relax, and into a place where they can just enjoy each other’s company.

“We found this to be the perfect reunion spot for our families,” he said.

The days after Thanksgiving tend to be slow unless you want to fight crowds and go shopping. Many places let their employees spend time with families, and that limits recreational opportunities. The problem is compounded when you’re hundreds of miles from home and don’t know the area all that well.

Honey Creek staff tried to help by offering several Saturday events for guests. Making the gingerbread cookies came first, followed by a GPS scavenger hunt while the cookies baked. Decorating the cookies wrapped up the afternoon.

Mallory Downn drew immediate attention when she walked into the lobby to get things started. It’s hard to stay unobtrusive when you walk into a room with two oversized baking sheets, a large rolling pin and a big bowl full of dough. She had a group of four children and two moms gathered around within moments.

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