Ohio Backroads – Summer 2010

Ohio Backroads – 2010

     Welcome to Ohio!  Crossing the Ohio River, we came upon Marietta, named for Queen Marie Antoinette of France; Ohio's oldest city; home to several Native American peoples; and site of oil booms!  Also known as River City, Marietta has several museums and historical areas.  http://mariettaohio.org/   

     Campus Martius Museum is highly unique, in that the Rufus Putnam house stands where it always has, and the museum was built around it! The house has been restored; visitors can take a guided tour of the kitchen, parlor, and three upstairs bedrooms.  Helen was our guide.  Does she know her history!  What a delight to listen to someone who is clearly enthusiastic about the history of Marietta!  Helen told us about the Putnam family and a little about the history of the house.   There are three floors of exhibits.  The basement is about the Industrial Revolution and the migration from farm to town.  Interactive exhibits make history live!  Other exhibits include a Conestoga wagon, period clothing, tools and weapons used to build America, furniture, and Native American artifacts.  They were here first!  Allow at least an hour.  Admission is $7 per person, or $9 for a combination ticket for admission to the Ohio River Museum.


     The Ohio River Museum is three buildings, with many models of the sternwheelers, and artifacts from the steamboats, such as whistles, pilot wheel, dishes, and the pilothouse of "Tell City.”  A flatboat is on display.  Travel on the river allowed early pioneers to open the West.  Allow about 30 minutes. http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2321/places/11896/

     Harmar is an old neighborhood in Marietta, the site of Ft. Harmar, built three years before Marietta.   Soldiers were sent there to evict "squatters” or those who were there illegally.  The Native Americans called this area home.   Lovely old homes, shops, restaurants, and museums are there for the visitor today.   A school stands where the fort used to be.  The village can be reached from Marietta by a foot bridge on the old railroad trestle, across the Muskingham River.  The "Busy Bee” was a good place to stop for a cold drink on a hot sightseeing day.  http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=708


     Downtown has the charm of an old Ohio town;  shops, restaurants, the old Lafayette Hotel, the Lock Watcher's house and more provide lots of sightseeing.  Take time to look.  The Court House is worth strolling around.  There are many antique shops.  Marietta Wine Cellars is in town.  We stopped in for a tasting, and bought two bottles: Chardonnay and Merlot Gold.  They are both exquisite!  The gift shop has wine accessories, while the lounge provides a place to sip wine and nibble cheese. http://www.mariettawinecellars.net/

     Cambridge, another old Ohio town, has its own winery and vineyards.  It is the home of Degenhart Paperweight and Glass Museum.    The Degenhart family created the fine glass objects d' art.  They also collected glass.  In the display cases, we saw glass people, goblets, animals, plates, vases, roller skates, bowls, and so on.  The colors ranged from pink to red to clear to iridescent to green to blue.   Elizabeth Degenhart, the first Lady of Glass, was the owner and operator of crystal Glass Company.  It was her request to have the museum.  Her dining room is in an alcove in the museum.  We were impressed at all the delicate glass.  The gift shop has many lovely items for sale.  Allow at least 30 minutes.  Admission is $1.50 per person, an excellent deal.   Only $1.00 if you have AAA!  http://www.degenhartglass.com/

     We drove up the hill to Georgetown Vineyards for a tasting.  They have some unique wines, including rhubarb and red raspberry.  We enjoyed them very much, coming away with a bottle of rhubarb wine and one of peach.  The views of Cambridge are very pretty.  A pretty garden and patio provide a spot for drinking wine.  Their award winning wines lined the shelves.  They are moderately priced and of excellent quality.  http://www.georgetownvineyards.com/

     We are spending the night in New Philadelphia, at the Schoenbrunn Inn.  We like it here because there is an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, continental breakfast and a pub serving sandwiches and appetizers at night. The rooms are comfortable and attractive, and it's reasonably priced. 

Day 2

     New Philadelphia is a historic town dating to the late 1770s.  We looked around the town square, which boasts the Court House, war memorials, specialty shops, and eateries.  The business district has a movie theater, shops, restaurants, live theater, pubs, and park like areas.  There is a walking/driving tour to showcase some of the older homes and more elegant homes.  One house is built on a tract of land allowed by President John Adams!  There are several handsome churches.  The crown jewel is Tuscarora Park, dating from 1907!  In the early days there was a zoo and dance hall.  The park today still has the original carousel, a piece of art!  There is the Ferris wheel, train ride, kid's roller coaster, mini golf, swimming pool, picnic shelters, and playground areas.   A pond with a fountain is a focal point.  A small waterfall and pond is in the center of a bank of drinking fountains.

     Just next door is Dover, where there are several wineries.  We visited The Old Schoolhouse Winery.  It's in a 120 year old one room schoolhouse with pretty flowers and a patio.  So charming!  Jennifer hosted our tasting.  She was gracious and knowledgeable.  We had eight tastes of semi dry wines, including Teacher's Pet, tasting rather sweet, and Class Clown, tasting like a sweet tart.  The eight tastes with a souvenir glass were $8 per person. 

     The area is made of rolling hills and valleys with family farms, forest, and small hamlets.

Day 3

     Next stop, Mansfield!   Another charming Ohio town, Mansfield has a jewel in the antique looking carousel, built in the early 1990s.  The decorated fire hydrants add whimsy and a bit of history to the streets.   The square has monuments honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and the veterans from the Civil War through the Mid East conflict.  We enjoyed wandering through town.   Some scenes from the "Shawshank Redemption” were filmed in town.   The two hour tour is $8 per person.

      Mansfield is also home to the Ohio State Reformatory, one of the most haunted sites in Ohio!  Paranormal tours are offered.  Did we take one?  Of course!  The building itself is dark and imposing!   Inside, it is decaying.  Our guide took us through the entire prison, showing us cell blocks, the library, and many other sites.  He told the history of the prison, opened in 1896 as a juvenile center.  Several groups of well known ghost hunters have visited, including Ghost Adventures.  We have many pictures with orbs, indicating spiritual presences.  The shower photos have many orbs.  We were able to go through "The Hole” where the worst prisoners stayed in solitary confinement.  The prisoners received harsh treatment.  In the 1950s there was a riot, which the Ohio State Patrol put down.  Our guide took us up a narrow spiral staircase in the library to the roof.  We could see the working prison next door, and no pictures are allowed of that!   Two movies, "The Shawshank Redemption” and "Air Force One” were partially shot here.  The Visitor Center has some artifacts of the movies, along with many prison artifacts.  The tunnel from "Shawshank” is on display in the prison.  We were able to visit the warden's quarters, where he lived with his family.  We heard about the wardens' wife who died there.   The guides told us about their own ghostly experiences in the prison.  The prison was closed in 1990. This was an extremely fascinating tour!  A gift shop sells souvenirs.  http://www.mrps.org/

     Back on the road, we passed some interesting sights not to be seen from a major highway, such as an airplane in a yard!

     We were in Holmes County, home to the largest Amish population in the world!   Lancaster is one town.   We saw the Workman Cabin built by Morgan Workman in the early 1800s. The town has pretty churches, homes and a picturesque downtown.  http://www.visitamishcountry.com

     Nashville is a tiny hamlet promoting itself with its country music hall, Little Opry Music Theater.   There's a town clock, hall, and center.   It's post card pretty!

      Down the road, Millersburg offered a meal and accommodations at the historic Millersburg Hotel.   Once it was a stage coach stop.  Now it is graciously furnished with antiques, including quilts, paintings, documents, and portraits.  The restaurant-tavern was once the stables.  I had a cup of barely soup, thick and delicious, and chicken with mushrooms, quite tasty.  Greg had a shrimp and beef stir fry, also delicious.  Our room featured several lovely antiques and was very comfortable at $65.  We'd stay there again.  http://www.hotelmillersburg.com/   The shopping area had several antique stores for antique hunters and browsers!  We'll be back to shop!  The disadvantage to staying in Millersburg was that there didn't seem to be any places for breakfast in town, so we ended up at a fast food place.  Anywhere we can get a second cup of coffee in the morning!  http://millersburgohio.com/

Day 4

     We toured the town, admiring the stately homes, the quaint street names, courthouse and old jail. At the Wal-Mart on the edge of town, there is a shaded area for the Amish horse and buggy!  We saw many interesting sights driving towards Baltic. We came through the hamlet of Charm and saw Charm School.  Numerous Amish buggies were on the road!  We passed an Amish school. We looked at the cabins and butterfly garden at Baltic Area Historical Society.  We shopped at the Baltic mills Bulk Foods, an old mill turned food/souvenir/home accessory store.  There were many unusual items, and it was fun!  Oil pumps are often seen in the farm fields.   The drive was entertaining.

     When we reached Coshocton, we stopped for lunch at the Sport Zone Museum, Pub, and Grille.  Our salads were good, and reasonably priced.   The décor was eclectic sports, running the gamut from auto racing to baseball to golf.  There are lots of TVs.   http://sportzonecoshocton.com/   Coshocton is another old town, with history, wineries, fun, and shopping.  http://visitcoshocton.com/

     Back to Dover for a visit to Warther's Museum.  If you've never heard of it, check it out!  Mooney Warther was a master carver.  His trains are famous!  Some have moving parts!  He began by carving bones, and later used ivory.   His wife, Frieda, is an artist in her own right.  She has scores of button designs!  Warther Knives are renowned for quality and durability!  Knife making is what Mooney did for a living.  But carving is what he loved to do.  One of his carvings is a pliers with 511 pliers created from a single piece of wood with 31,000 cuts!   Another of his carvings is the Lincoln Funeral Train, with Lincoln's body in state.   Walking sticks he carved are on display.  Our entertaining tour guide, Lauren, took us into the Warther home, through the gardens, and into the museum.  We think you'll be impressed by Mr. Warther's talent!  The museum is an offthetrails gem!    Allow at least two hours.   Admission is $13 per person.   A gift shop has many items, including Warther's Knives and wooden carvings.  http://warther.org/

     A very short drive to New Philadelphia brought us to Schoenbrunn Inn.  We're staying overnight, because we have tickets to see the well known outdoor drama, "Trumpet in the Land,” the story of David Zeisberger and the Moravian Indian colony at Schoenbrunn, the first colony in Ohio.  The show is performed in an outdoor amphitheater with horses, fire, and moving sets.  Currently in its 41st year, it is a must see for any visitor to the area.    A visit to the recreated village of Schoenbrunn and the play would make a great daycation!  The drama runs for two hours with an intermission.  Tickets are $17 each.


Day 5

     Leaving the charming town of New Philadelphia behind, we made our way, circuitously, to the Hocking Hills area.   http://www.hockinghills.com   A splendid place of hills, valleys, gorges, and forests, the region has numerous campgrounds, cabins, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures.  On the way, we passed the world's biggest basket, the Longaberger Headquarters.   http://www.longaberger.com/  Lunch in charming Lancaster was at Annie's Cheesecake and Tea Room, a quiet dining area serving sandwiches, soups, salads, wraps, desserts, and full dinners.  It is a hidden treasure.  Greg's Cuban Sandwich and my Summer Salad were delightful!  My salad was my choice of three among several.  I had tuna, fruit, and side salad.  More filling than I expected, and quite delicious!  My Chai Tea was more dessert than drink!  Greg relished his sandwich and chips.  http://anniescheesecake.com

       Stopping in Rockbridge, I, MaryJo, went zipping for the third time!  It's just as exciting as the first!    An eco tour through the canopy of the majestic Ohio forest was the recipe for a glorious day!  My guides, Angelica and John, were knowledgeable, able, and so funny!  Even if I had been nervous, which I wasn't, they would have had me chuckling!  And they did!  Their stories about beavers gnawing the tree, a woman delivering a baby in a canoe, and deer daycare were just too funny!  Zipping from tree to tree and walking across sky bridges got my adrenaline going, and I'm ready for more!  We zipped along the Hocking River, from one sycamore to another, and descended only to ascend again briefly as we were coming onto the platform.   We crossed swaying sky bridges.   We waved to canoeists in the river below. I had a great afternoon!  http://www.hockinghillscanopytours.com/home.html   Greg was out exploring Rockbridge!  http://www.travelohio.com/Rockbridge.html

     We settled in for the night at the Hocking Hills KOA, nestled in the woods and valleys.  It's very pretty, has a pool, store, and really cool, WI-FI!  We cooked some hot dogs and beans over the open fire while listening to the cicadas in the trees!    Soon we'll take a swim!  We came to Hocking Hills on my sister Dorothy's recommendation.   Thanks, Dorth, this is fun!  http://hockinghillskoa.com/

Day 6

     Old Man's Cave is a beautiful, rather strenuous hike.  The "old man” is Richard Rowe, a recluse who actually lived in one of the caves with his dogs in the mid 1800s.  They are sandstone, so wind and water created caves. Once at the bottom of the ravine, we continued to hike until we reached The Upper Falls.  There are so many caves in the gorge!  And waterfalls!  Devil's Bathtub is a deep pool said to go all the way to Hades!  The tails are sometimes rocky and can be steep.  The rewards are the spectacular, unexpected scenery!  We watched a group of butterflies crowd a small puddle.  The trees are a lush green with roots that seem to sprout form rocks.  The moss covered rock walls rise sharply, with countless ledges and caves.  Water alternately trickles and puddles along the path.  Some wildflowers were blooming. Native Americans used to live in the area; it's easy to imagine them finding shelter and safety there.  http://www.oldmanscave.net/old_man’s_cave.htm  The trail is about a mile long, and an adventure!  Allow at least an hour.  Use caution if children are with you.

     The next hike was through the tunnel, an exceptionally dark passage.  This is also strenuous!  A stairway leads down to the floor, but the steps are steep and narrow.

  We looked in at the Visitor Center, which highlights natural history and the pioneers in the area.

     On to Conkles Hollow, another hike with excellent views!   A pump gave us some fun and a drink of water.   A paved walkway took us through deep woods, past some caves, luxurious ferns, and a small stream, then ended.  A rough path took us deeper into the preserve, and again is worth the effort!  We passed a grotto and ended at the base of a seasonal waterfall.  It was dry, but is probably a torrent in the spring.   Tall cliffs and hemlocks are on either side.  We chose the lower trail; an upper trail skirts the rim and is longer.  It can be dangerous to young children.  Allow at least an hour. http://www.oldmanscave.net/conkle’s_hollow.htm

     At Old Man's Cave General Store we grabbed an Old Man's Sub. What's that?  An Italian sub with pepper cheese, piled high.  At less than $4 per sandwich, it's a good deal!

    More hiking?  This is our hiking day!  Rock House is a naturally carved cave in a straight rock face.  A winding path took us there.  The cave is 25 feet tall in the center, and was used by Native Americans, robbers, and horse thieves!  It is a marvelous sight!  The colors in the rocks are vivid.  We had fun exploring it!  Again, it is not an easy hike!  Allow about an hour.  http://www.thehockinghills.org/Rockhouse.htm

     We're not finished yet!  Cantwell Cliffs was our most strenuous hike today!  Very narrow passages had us squeezing through, and climbing narrow, steep steps carved in the rocks.  It's a remote hike, and beautiful!   We walked along the bottom of the gully for awhile, then climbed back up and enjoyed the view from the top!  Amazing! 

   Tired and hungry, we passed a small, unmanned produce stand.  Fresh sweet corn and tomatoes made supper back at camp.  A sign over the foods stated "Honor system.”  A swim in the pool was refreshing!  A campfire before bedtime was a great end to the day.

Day 7

    It's our last day here.  A canoe trip on the Hocking River is what we've been craving!  Hocking Hills Canoe and Livery drives canoeists upriver.  Canoe downriver until you reach their building and land -where you started.  A staff member will help pull out the canoe.  For $32 per canoe, we had two hours to paddle and enjoy the scenery to our heart's content.  It's an easy ride.  The water was low, so twice we had to get out and push, but the day was warm and sunny. There were many, many, trees with huge roots.  At one place, there was a rope swing and slide over the river.  Looked like fun for somebody!

There are other trips available and kayaks, too.


     There are so many fun activities and things to see in Ohio.  Many of these places could be a daycation for Ohioans!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVaqrObo_qA  Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o0fWSK0moY  Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9TKaExohkc  Part 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POiOef7gweY  Part 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ_srMFUMtI  Warther’s Museum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAaQJpNT0mk  Zip Lining!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFpr4G08kzo  Hocking Hills – Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvEzUHoNY8  Hocking Hills – Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lc_WGr0eqM  Hocking Hills – Part 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvKGQF3_uSs  Hocking Hills – Part 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afy386zeWdQ  Hocking River Canoe Trip