Road Trips from Columbus – Mid-Ohio Valley
The Mid-Ohio Valley Region, known for its tourism, agriculture and manufacturing industries, is a charming place full of adventure and rich Appalachian culture.
Begin your trip in Parkersburg, a city that is known for its beautiful attractions and great local eateries. Here, you can find West Virginia’s tastiest potato chips, Mister Bee’s. What once started as a small local business turned into a million-dollar enterprise by 1972. Founded in Parkersburg by Leo and Sara Klein in 1951, these chips are a yummy classic that you can’t miss out on. You can find Mister Bee’s at almost any store and shop around the state.
Looking to check out some local art? The Parkersburg Arts Center, located at the corner of Eight and Market Street, was chartered in 1938, making it the oldest cultural agency still in operation. The center includes five different gallery spaces to display the work of local artists and crafters, and a gift shop where some of the artists sell their work. The center also includes year-round art training classes for people of all ages to enjoy.
Another must-visit place in Parkersburg is the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. Located on a charming little island in the Ohio River, this park, accessed by a sternwheeler riverboat from Point Park on 2nd Street, is open yearly from May to the last weekend of October. Enjoy ground tours and horse-drawn carriage rides as you explore this historic island rich with American history. The Blennerhassett Hotel, located on the mainland, is a stunning place that offers rides to and from the island, and is within a five-minute walk to the historic Smoot Theatre and the Oil and Gas Museum. While enjoying your stay, be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Blennerhassett Bar & Rest and take advantage of the 24-hour fitness center.
Looking for a small town with big town fun and even bigger energy? The town of Ripley is just the place to go. With ample shops, great eats and lots of historic festivals and events, this town is sure to live up to your expectations. Home to the “USA’s largest small town Independence Day celebration” that dates all the way back to the 1800s, this 4th of July parade holds the title of the oldest parade in the entire country.
Another must-see place in the area is Cedar Lakes Park, a picture-perfect getaway to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beautiful nature of the region. This park includes the Tug Fork Covered Bridge, one of just 17 covered bridges still left in the state. Built in 1887 and moved three miles to its current location in 1983, this bridge is a stunning piece of history that you’ll need to capture on camera.
Some popular places to eat in the area include the Downtowner Restaurant and Tudors Biscuit World. The Downtowner offers a cozy, diner-style atmosphere with friendly staff and comfort food at an affordable price. Last but certainly not least, Tudor’s Biscuit World is a must-visit place for all things homemade. A restaurant chain only found in the Mountain State with made-from-scratch fluffy biscuits, breakfast classics and dinner platters, Tudors is an all-time favorite among West Virginians. Their hours are currently operating 5:30 am-2 pm Monday-Saturday, and 7 am-2 pm on Sundays.
End your trip in Point Pleasant, a city in Mason County that offers a variety of dining, culture and fun activities. Here, you can visit Tu-Endie-Wei (meaning “point between two waters”) State Park, where there is an 84-foot-tall monument honoring those lost in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774.
Get a taste of life on the river at the Point Pleasant River & Learning Center, and learn all about the commercial enterprise on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. Learn about topics such as floods, boat construction, sternwheel steamers, river disasters and more in this museum that has had a connection to the river since 1854.
After immersing yourself in the river life of this area, stop by the West Virginia State Farm Museum (a museum dedicated to Mason County native and businessman, Christopher H. Bauer) and get a first-hand look at a 19th Century blacksmith shop, the first Lutheran Church west of the Allegheny Mountains and many more historical landmarks that shaped early farm life in West Virginia. Be sure to call ahead of time to make tour reservations.
With great service and even better authentic Mexican cuisine, the Rio Bravo 2 is the place to eat after a long day of exploring the city. Open daily, this restaurant offers high-quality ingredients, a friendly atmosphere and vegetarian options.
Last but most certainly not least, end your evening by visiting the famous Mothman Statue and Mothman Museum. This statue depicts one of two popular monsters native to West Virginia and stands roughly 12 feet tall. Mothman, first “spotted” in the Point Pleasant area in 1966, is a mysterious legend that has gained national recognition after being made into a Hollywood film in 2002. The museum features the history of this timeless legend, some spooky stories, and includes a gift shop so you can take a little piece of this haunting phenomenon back to your own hometown.
End your stay at Lowe Hotel, an old-fashioned piece of history built in 1901 with over 300 rooms, all complete with antique furnishings and classic décor.
Rich Appalachian culture and fun-filled activities await you in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Are you in?
This post was last updated on October 13, 2021