I honestly didn’t know much about Marietta, Ohio prior to my visit, but I discovered that the area has a lot to offer visitors. Marietta is positioned along the Ohio River which provides lots of opportunity for outdoor adventure.
Marietta is named in honor of the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette and was established as the first permanent settlement of the new United States in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio River in 1788.
Outdoor enthusiast have several options when it comes to exploring Marietta.
Kayak on the River
Rent a kayak at Marietta Adventure Company and enjoy a relaxing paddle that starts on the Muskingum River and then leads to the Ohio River. Pass under bridges and stop at an island in the center that is technically part of West Virginia and is currently a wildlife refuge. In the early 1880’s-1890’s it was known as a “hot bead of vice” where gambling and other activities took place and before that in the early 1800’s it was called the Pestilence House because it was were the sick were sent to die which might explain the rumors about the island being haunted.
Tour Marietta on a Bicycle
There is a scenic bike trail that is easy to access from downtown. You can also rent bikes at Marietta Adventure Company. I would suggest riding along the trails by the river. There are several interesting statues and flood markers that tell the story of previous storms. I would also suggest exploring some of the side streets as well for interesting architecture and a glimpse of Marietta College.
One of my favorite bicycle stops was Mound Cemetery that has the largest number of Revolutionary Officers buried in one cemetery. The cemetery also has ancient earthworks and mounds that date back between 800 B.C and 700 A.D.
Take a Hike
Wayne National Forest
Travel through a historic covered bridge and hike Archer’s Fork Loop at Wayne National Forest with scenic cliff formations.
Another spot closer to downtown Marietta is Marietta Trail Network Upper Frontier Loop. We were fortunate to spot a turtle as we were walking the path. The Upper Frontier Loop is another wonderful spot to get a unique perspective of the city and the Ohio River.
There are several locations great for sunrise pics in Marietta. I woke up early one morning and explored around the walking paths by the Ohio River and even climbed up the nearby bridge for another perspective.
I highly recommend waking up for sunrise pics at least once when you visit to a destination you haven’t been to before.
Another great spot for sunrise pics is Lookout Point that gives you an elevated perspective of the city and an overview of the area.
Explore Downtown Shops
There are a lot of great shops to find unique gifts by local artisans. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you might even come home with a tattoo, like my friend Dani.
Take a Ghost Tour
Learn about Marietta’s seedy past with stories that might give you a desire to sleep with the light on with a ghost tour from Hidden Marietta Tour Company.
Visit the Devola Lock and Dam
Meet Daniel pictured above. He moved to Marietta a year and a half ago. He loves to fish in his free time and has a heart for people. He is a surgical nurse and the pastor of a local church in town. The lock pictured behind him is one of the eleven built on the Muskegum River from 1836-1841. Looks like he found a good fishing spot so you might want to check it out too.
Where We Stayed
During my visit, we stayed at the historic Lafayette Hotel. The hotel dates back to 1918 and is filled with memorabilia from previous eras.There are many replica pieces inside each room. If you have a desk in your room, make sure that you pull out the drawers all the way and you might discover the “secret safe.” There is also a rooftop deck with nice views of the river and downtown that is a little tricky to find so make sure that you ask the front desk for directions.
Make sure that you take time to notice all of the details throughout the lobby and the hallways. You will even see signs marking former flood levels. Stop by the first phone booth and when you pick up the receiver, you will hear more about the history. One of my favorite pieces on display was the Original Call Bell System used for hotel guests that had a distinct bell sound for each room.
Where We Ate
Our first evening we ate dinner at the Harmar Tavern, known for their “Soon to be Famous Fried Bologna Sandwich.” I wouldn’t typically order a fried bologna sandwich but I had to find out what the buzz was all about. The sandwich comes with a sweet pickle on it so beware if you are strictly a dill fan. There is an indoor and outdoor patio seating along with a long bar. We took a scenic walk to the restaurant from downtown across Harmar Bridge, one of the last hand-cranked turnstile railroad bridges in the country.
We enjoyed two really great breakfasts during our visit. One was at the Busy Bee Restaurant with fresh ingredients from local farms. I ordered the Mexican omelet and our table shared one of the giant cinnamon rolls. We also enjoyed breakfast at one of the restaurants inside the Layfayette Hotel called The Gun Room. The name comes from the famous collection of guns on display. The long rifles are all handcrafted and date from 1795 to 1880. There are also interesting pieces from a riverboat on display as well. I ordered the french toast that was sooo good!
For lunch we ate at Over the Moon Pizzeria. The atmosphere is laid back and the pizza is really good. Restaurant patrons can show off their artistic skills by personalizing a record for the wall, enjoy a cold beer and live music on select evenings.
For dinner we ate at The Galley where I enjoyed a wonderful Steak and Spinach salad. I normally don’t order salad as the meal but it was really good. I really liked the atmosphere and the architecture of this historic building dating back to 1890.
Discover galaxies far, far, away during a presentation at the Anderson Hancock Planetarium located on the campus of Marietta College.
I got to check out the 2017 KIA Niro Hybrid for my roadtrip which had FANTASTIC gas mileage! The vehicle still had plenty of leg room for my friends in the backseat and it has an average City/Highway/Combined of 46/40/43! I also had plenty of space for all of my bags which is good because the later I pack, the more stuff I cram into my bag.