A National Road that leads to space and so much more. – Muskingum County

How do you really describe an Ohio county that history includes:

  • A bridge that made it into the pages of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
  • Was the path west for stagecoaches and westward settlers using the National Road.
  • Was a key stop on the Underground Railroad to freedom.
  • Proud parents to an astronaut, a prolific sculptor, and a famous Western writer.
  • Who has roots that run deep in clay.
  • Home to a basket maker that had a dream.
  • And …
    Has taken reclaimed mine land and created one of the largest animal conservation sites in North America, which has been featured on the Animal Planets “The Zoo”?

Over the summer, I, as well as other influencers was invited, to enjoy a day exploring the local history and treasures that can be found in the county.   Below you will find just a small snippet of all that this county in southeast Ohio has to offer. I hope you make plans in the near future to visit one or more of the counties unique treasurers.

Museums of Muskingum County

From humble beginnings to space.  Take a step back in time during your tour of the John & Annie Glenn Museum.  The museum is a living history museum that transports you back in time. Costumed historians share what it was like to live during John Glenn’s life. Periods include 1937 (the Great Depression), 1944 (during World War II), and 1962 (John Glenn’s involvement in the space program).

The John & Annie Glenn Museum
72 W. Main St., New Concord, OH 43762
740-826-3305 | johnglennhome.org

Within the walls of the National Road/Zane Grey Museum, you will learn about the first federally funded National Road and how it came to be. The 136′ diorama brings the struggles of creating the road and how it changed towns along the way to life.  The museum also has an authentic Conestoga wagon, which was used to haul heavy materials during the 18th century. Learn more about the life of the first millionaire author Zane Grey, who was considered the “Father of the Adult Western”.   A history lesson of the area would not be complete without learning about the pottery industry and its effect on the growth of the area.

The National Road, “First Highway in America” starts in Cumberland, Maryland and extends 700-miles to Vandalia, Illinois.

National Road/Zane Grey Museum
8850 East Pike, Norwich, OH 43767
800.752.2602 | ohiohistory.org/nationalroad

 

OF COURSE THE COUNTY THAT HAS A “NATIONAL ROAD” would have great driving tours!

Muskingum County’s Scenic Roadways

Get Your Motors Running!

Muskingum County is not without its own beautiful winding-roads, rich history, unique roadside attractions, and restful accommodations. Just for asking, the Muskingum County CVB will send you their wonderful Bike Drive-it-Yourself tour that includes a Hocking Hills Tour, Wayne Tour, Amish Country Tour, and for bikers, the Triple Nickel Tour.  All four tours start in Zanesville, Ohio. From there you can enjoy a trip to see the Big Muskie Bucket, take a train ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, or visit the Wilds.  There is a nice selection of accommodations available in Zanesville. On the day of my visit I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Spring Street.  For a FREE copy of the Muskingum County’s Scenic Roadways Touring Map, visitzanesville.com or call 740-455-8282 |800-743-2303.

For a Scenic Motorcycle Map, click here.

 

 

 

MyOhioFun Road Trip Note:

If you enjoy fall road trips, the fall foliage that can be seen around mid-October is spectacular.


Take a walking, driving, or bike tour of Historic Putnam.

The Historic Putnam tour includes 15 homes and commercial structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   Architecture includes late Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian.  One of the prominent stops on the tour is the Stone Academy.  The Academy is a National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.  The home was also the site of 2 abolitionist conventions. Open seasonally and by appointment, the Academy makes for a great first stop to view historical exhibits, learn about famous residents, and view a special hidden trap door used to hide those seeking freedom.

Stone Academy
115 Jefferson Street, Zanesville, OH 43701
740-454-9500 | muskingumhistory.org
(Open seasonally and year-round by appointment.)

Built in 1805, by the first physician of Zanesville, Dr. Mathews, the home is the oldest building in Zanesville and is maintained and operated by Muskingum County History.  The home is open to visitors seasonally, and by appointment. Visitors to the home will view historic room settings, local history exhibits, and artifacts. If you visit during the warm season, allow time to visit the garden around back.

Dr. Increase Mathews House and Gardens
304 Woodlawn Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701
740-454-9500 | muskingumhistory.org

Hidden behind fences, the Schulz Mansion, carriage house and stables is on the tour, but not open to the public. When built, the home had 26 rooms, 102 windows and eight fireplaces.

Schulz Mansion 
441 Putnam Avenue, Zanesville, OH 43701

To learn more about other homes on the tour and/or request a copy of the tour visitzanesville.com.


An Artisan Trail 

Hands, creative ingenuity, and the spirit of local artisans are what brings this county to life.

The roadside pottery shop.

A visit to Zanesville would not be complete without a stop at one of the local pottery shops.

Sometimes the best finds are from those stops that happen because something catches your eye along the roadside.  I knew I was heading to Ohio’s pottery corner, so I started keeping my eye out for an old-fashioned bird bath.  I didn’t want any old bird bath. I wanted a Roseville Pottery bird bath. Not only did I find the perfect bird bath, I got to haggle with the owner (one of my favorite ways to shop). I do think he got the better end of the deal, because I walked away with more than the bird bath.  A World War Vet with an art for dickering, he explained to me that his family has been in business since 1951. Of the 2 acres of pottery, 99% of the pottery is made in the USA.

Other notable pottery stops include:

Ohio Pottery Zanesville
1905 W Main St., Zanesville, OH 43701
740-408-2624 | facebook.com/ohiopotteryzanesville

Zanesville Pottery
7395 East Pike, Zanesville, OH 43701
740.872.3345 | 800.860.6456 | zanesvillepottery.com

Hartstone Ohio Stoneware Factory Outlet
1719 Ddearborn St., Zanesville, OH 43701
740-450-4415 | stonewareoutlet.com

The American Art Pottery Gallery
620 Military Road, Zanesville OH 43701
(740) 452-0741 |zanesvilleart.org/exhibitions

FREE admission for all. Reopening Spring 2021.

 

I have been fortunate during my various travels to have had the opportunity to enjoy many art museums and galleries, but the feeling you are in the presence of a master artist really sticks with you after visiting Alan Cottrill’s studios. Born in Zanesville, Alan’s life included time as a truck driver, a soldier in the US Army, a food franchise owner, international entrepreneur, and finally to one of the finest sculptors in the world.  His works of art can be viewed both in and outside his studio, as well as throughout the world, including the U.S. Capital Building. If you’re lucky enough to catch Alan in his studio working, you will realize just how passionate he is about his art.  His hands truly bring life and emotion to all his pieces. Take a minute and really look at each piece. I promise you there is a soul in there.  A small donation is requested to visit the studio and upstairs gallery.

Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio & Museum
110 S. 6th Street, Zanesville, OH  43701
740-453-9822 |alancottrill.com

Zanesville Museum of Art
620 Military Road, Zanesville, OH 43701
740-452-0741 | zanesvilleart.org

 

 

 

MyOhioFun Road Trip Note:

Every First Friday of the month,  the Artist Colony of Zanesville host an Art Walk in Downtown Zanesville. Local galleries open their doors to studio tours and their art.  To learn more visit their website(Please check their website for any changes to schedule due to the pandemic.)


A Little Town Called Dresden Ohio

To those who bought and collected Longaberger Baskets and pottery, this small town was the site of many a pilgrimages and bus tours. As well as ground zero for the famous yearly Longaberger “Bee Day”.  (That’s another story for another day. Just imagine masses of people dressed up in “Bee” hats, clothes, pins, and carrying baskets, all gathering in the small town of Dresden to purchase as many basket items as they could afford.) 

Longaberger’s founder, Dave Longaberger was a local boy who against all odds, took his families basket making business to unbelievable heights.  A dream that would change the local economy, employee hundreds of basket weavers, become a major destination, and would offer a better quality of life for those independent consultants who sold the Longaberger baskets and products through home parties and events.   At one point there were over 50,000 consultants selling baskets all over the US.  Baskets that had been handmade by artisans in the Frazeyburg factory just outside of Dresden. Each basket crafted would have the initials of the artisan who crafted the basket. (Book – Longaberger: An American Success Story)

Today, the Longaberger factory is no longer producing baskets.  When the company closed its doors, Dresden & Co. opened up to continue the Dresden legacy of handmade baskets.  Longaberger Baskets are now being weaved by artisans at Dresden & Co., who employed many of displaced Longaberger weavers when the company closed. Today, you can still purchase the Longaberger brand baskets on QVC, and through online stores.  Dresden & Co. also offer their own signature baskets under their own label.   Dresden & Co.’s showroom is open to the public Monday through Friday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit their website for additional details.

The Village of Dresden is still the place for all things baskets.  Plenty of shopping can be found all along Main Street.  And if your looking for a nice getaway, the Inn at Dresden was built by Dave Longaberger and was for a period of time his home.  The view from the top of the hill overlooking the small town is also spectacular.

Dresden & Co. 
101 W Dave Longaberger Avenue, Dresden, OH
dresdenandcompany.co

The Inn at Dresden
209 Ames Drive, Dresden OH 43821
740.754.1122 | theinnatdresden.com

Destination Dresden
destinationdresden.com

 

 

 

MyOhioFun Road Trip Note:

Part of Dave Longaberger’s dream was to build a home office in the shape of a Market Basket.  One of the company’s trademark baskets. In 1997,  Dave saw his dream come true. Although the “big basket” home office ceased operation and then was subsequently sold to give it new life, a drive past this marvel in Newark, Ohio with it’s big basket handles makes our list for Ohio’s roadside attractions.  (1500 E. Main Street, Newark, OH – Southside of Hwy 10)

 


Explore the outdoors:

The Wilds

Over 10,000 acres of reclaimed land turned into a sanctuary for endangered species and the largest conservation centers in North America. What a wonderful story and what a wonderful place to visit.

The day of my visit,  I saw camels, cheetahs, African Painted Dogs, Giraffes, Southern White Rhinos, Bantengs, Sichuan Takins, and more.

From May through October (and later if the weather allows) The Wilds offer various safari tours. The most popular tour is the Open-Air Safari tour. You will board a Safari bus and a guide will take you for a tour through the park, all the while sharing information about the animals and the Wilds conservation efforts. Other safaris include the Wildside Tour which gets you up-close interactions with the animals.  The Horseback Safari allows you to enjoy a horseback ride through part of the grasslands and butterfly habitat. Additional tours include the Sunset Safari, Sunset Wildlife Tour and Winter at the wilds Tour (Nov-Apr).

Get your adrenaline pumping. Take a ride on the Wild Zipline Safari. Soar above the animals and pastures as you fly from one observation platform to another. Ten in all.

Luxury Accommodations. You are going to want to book early for one of these “Wilds” Adventures.  From May-October the Wilds take reservations for their private Yurts. Stays include a choice of Safari tickets, dinner and breakfast for two, as well as beautiful views of the Wilds.   The Lodge at the Wilds is a cabin available year-round and accommodates up to twelve. It offers a fully-equipped kitchen and also comes with tour packages (May-Oct).  To make a reservation or to learn more contact the Wilds at 740.638.5030.

 

The Wilds
1400 International Rd., Cumberland, OH 43732
740.638.5030 | thewilds.columbuszoo.org

 


Trails, fishing, boating, nature walks, and more can be found along the Muskingum River.

Muskingum River Parkway State Park
Ohio State Park

If you enjoy an adventure and want to try something new, then Belly Boat Fishing might just be what you are looking for. “Belly boating combines the thrill of the wilderness with the challenge of reeling in “the big one” while paddling with your feet!”  

Ohio Belly Boat Fishing 
740-777-2579 | ohiobellyboatfishing.com


Get close to the water.


Listen to the splash of the paddlewheel as you enjoy a leisurely tour down the Muskingum River.  The Lorena Sternwheeler operates seasonally (June-Oct). Reservations are required.

Lorena Sternwheeler
For additional information contact the Zanesville-Muskingum CVB at 740-455-8282 or 800-743-2303.

Dillon State Park
5265 Dillon Hills Drive, Nashport, OH 43830
740-452-1083 | website
Canoe, kayak or paddle board Dillon Lake. Rentals are available.


Local Treats.

For those who love ice cream, this hometown stop has not just become a local favorite. It has found its place on the Food Network’s Ice Cream Nation show.  For over 70+ years, Tom’s has been dishing up large bowls of ice cream and seasonal flavors; a definite tasty treat stop! Tom’s also serves hot and cold sandwiches, sides, and soups.  #MyOhioFun suggestion: Try the peach ice cream if it is available.

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl 
532 Mcintire Avenue, Zanesville, OH 43701
tomsicecreambowl.com

Conn’s Potato Chips
This hometown favorite potato chip company uses 50,000 pounds everyday.   You can find bags of their chips at local stores, or you can visit the factory and purchase at the office.  Stock up for the ride home.
1805 Kemper Court, Zanesville, Ohio 43701
740-452-4615 | connschips.com

Bryan Place
If your looking for a place to enjoy a little break from touring Zanesville, the restaurant at Bryan Place offers delicious salads, sandwiches, Sunday Brunch, and more.   Also located in the wall of the former YWCA is an event center and furniture store.  Charming architecture throughout the building.  On a beautiful day, opt for the patio to enjoy your lunch. 
49 North S 6th St, Zanesville, OH 43701
740.450.8008 | Facebook page

 

If you are looking for dinner plans, I suggest you make reservations at the Old Market House Inn in Downtown Zanesville.  The Inn combines the unique charm of a pub with a mix of Italian.   Try their Lasagna or one of their specials like homemade spaghetti tossed with a house made seafood based Puttanesca sauce and scallops. Or the Tuscan grilled sandwich with chicken, spinach, sundried tomatoes and a gruyere cheese sauce between grilled Giacomo’s tomato basil bread served with a bowl of house made roasted tomato and vegetable soup.  And those homemade chips!

Old Market House Inn
424 Market St, Zanesville, OH 43701
740.454.2555 | adornettos.com/the-old-market-house-inn
Reservations are suggested.


Roadside Attractions

Ohio’s first Earthship.  Tours and green living workshops are offered throughout the year.
Blue Rock Station
190 Virginia Ridge Rd., Philo, OH  43771
bluerockstation.com

“When weather conditions allow, visitors can climb the stairs of the 100 ft. tower at their own risk.  From the top of the tower, the Blue Rock Fire Tower provides a magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding forests and hills.”

Blue Rock Fire Station
6665 Cutler Lake Road, Blue Rock, OH 43720
740-385-4402 | website

 

 

 

 

MY OHIO FUN ROAD TRIP NOTES:

Before you go:

> Visit the Zanesville/Muskingum County CVB website to view their Travel guide, request a FREE copy, and/or to check out their list of Itineraries.

> If you are planning on visiting The Wilds or taking a cruise on the sternwheeler, please purchase your tickets ahead of time.

> Most shopping, dining and accommodation locations take credit cards.  There are ATM’s throughout the county.

What to bring:

A camera.  Always pack a cooler for those perishables you may find along the way.  Bring appropriate shoes for any outdoor hiking or adventures.

Driving miles to Zanesville:

From Akron – 110 miles
From Charleston, WV – 160 miles
From Cincinnati – 155 miles
From Cleveland – 150 miles
From Columbus – 145 miles
From Pittsburgh, PA – 132 miles
From Toledo – 195 miles

Where to stay:

You can find plenty of accommodations around Muskingum County. Chain hotels, bed & breakfasts, unique cabins, as well as camping locations.  Our friends at the Zanesville/Muskingum CVB are happy to assist with finding the right spot to rest your head after a day of traveling the back roads. For a list of accommodations click here.

 




 

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Disclaimer:

This past August, I was invited to join five other influencers for a 3-day journey through three different southeast Ohio counties.  The media tour was sponsored by Guernsey-Cambridge CVB, Muskingum-Zanesville CVB, and Morgan County CVB.  During our tour we visited museums, historical sites, as well as state parks.  We also sampled local faire and even toured a glass factory!   A lot was crammed in those 3 days, but I walked away with a whole new perspective.

I would like to thank the Muskingum County Convention and Visitors Bureau for being such a gracious host and great tour guides.


Article and photos by: D. Rock, MyOhioFun.com
Any use of the above article or images without prior permission, will be in violation of copyright laws. 

***Disclosure: MyOhioFun.com received two ferry tickets and a golf cart, courtesy of Miller Ferries for our day of exploration. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***