Photo courtesy of The Marietta Ohio Facebook page
This month, I’m sending you on a one-tank trip to one of Ohio’s most quaint and historic small towns.
I’m fond of Marietta because it’s where I went to college, but it routinely shows up on lists of the most beautiful towns in the state and the country.
A quick history lesson: Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory and is Ohio’s oldest city. It was founded in 1788 by a group of Revolutionary War veterans, who named the city Marietta after French Queen Marie Antoinette.
You’ve probably been to Marietta before, or you’ve probably at least passed through. The town, which sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, is the last stop in Ohio heading south on Interstate 77—where you cross the bridge to head into West Virginia.
If you make the 107-mile trip from Canton, here’s what to do.
If history is your thing:
• Mound Cemetery (514 Cutler St.): The cemetery was built around a prehistoric burial mound.
• Campus Martius Museum (601 Second St.): Exhibits are about the founding of the Northwest Territory and how migration shaped the state of Ohio. (mariettamuseums.org)
• The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption (506 Fourth St.): The basilica dates back to 1838 and underwent a massive restoration project a decade ago. (stmarysmarietta.org)
If you want to see the sights:
• Lookout Point on Harmar Hill (201 Bellevue St.): Here’s the best spot to take in the rivers and the city.
• Harmar bridge (near the intersection of Butler and Post streets downtown): The pedestrian bridge connects Marietta to historic Harmar Village, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
• River Trail (pick up near downtown): The nearly 3.3-mile trail offers a walking tour of the rivers and bridges.
Also, I have to suggest that you take a walk along the Christy Mall at Marietta College (215 Fifth St.). It’s beautiful, and the campus is tiny enough that you’ll be able to see most of it from there. (marietta.edu/location/christy-mall)
Marietta has a cute downtown with brick streets and lots of little shops. Some of my favorites:
• Schafer Leather Store (140 Front St.): If you’ve ever wanted cowboy boots or a cowboy hat, this is the place to go. (schaferleather.com)
• Rossi Pasta (106 Front St.): Buy handmade pasta and sauces here. Every time I visit Marietta, my mom sends me with a list of her favorite pasta flavors (such as leek and onion linguini) to pick up. (rossipasta.com)
• The Cook’s Shop (180 Front St.): Take a cooking class or find whatever kitchen tool you’re looking for here. (thecooksshop.com)
Hands-down, the favorite restaurant of every Marietta College graduate I know is Tampico Mexican Restaurant (221 Second St.). It’s nothing fancy—just good chips and salsa and big margaritas. (tampicomexicanrestaurant.com)
• For bar food: Marietta Brewing Company (167 Front St.) (mbcpub.com)
• For Italian: Spagna’s (301 Gilman Ave.)
• For a quick lunch: Third Street Deli (343 Third St.) (thirdstreetdeli.net)
You definitely should stop for coffee at Stoked Coffee (302 Pike St.), which is a little yellow house you’ll pass on your way into the city. It’s some of the best I’ve ever had. (stokedcoffee.com)
If you love Marietta so much that you want to stay the night, book one of the five rooms at The Hackett Hotel (203 Second St.)—a boutique, historic property that’s above a restaurant and connected to the Adelphia Music Hall. (thehacketthotel.com)