Marietta, Ohio, is a picturesque river town with European ambience. Located on the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, established in 1788. Its brick streets are lined with lush hardwood trees and opulent Victorian homes.
Marietta is always alive with activity, modern yet delightfully old. With lots of history, two waterways, and a bustling downtown, it was ranked 79 among Best Smaller Places by Forbes magazine in 2000. Internationally renowned Rossi Pasta, handmade in Marietta, has a gourmet store near the waterfront. The vibrant historic district offers many distinctive stores, antique shops, boutiques, and galleries, as well as several independent restaurants and cozy cafes.
Historic sites and museums include Campus Martius, an Ohio History Connection museum, on the site of the Ohio Company settlement. General Rufus Putnam’s house and the Ohio River Land Company Office remain from the original fortification, built in 1788. The Ohio River Museum, another Ohio History Connection museum, is dedicated to the history of the river and the steamboats that plied their trade on its waters.
The Castle, an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture, is open for regular guided tours and exhibits of art and artifacts important to the region, as well as teas, concerts, workshops, and other special activities. Harmar Village is linked to downtown Marietta by a historic railroad bridge that is open to foot traffic. Harmar is home to the Toy and Doll Museum, The Anchorage, The Fearing House, and various quaint shops and eateries.
The Lafayette Hotel, located at the confluence of the two rivers, is the focal point of the downtown district. The hotel, on the National Register of Historic Places, was cited “Best of Ohio” in Ohio Magazine (January 2004), for its spectacular view and top-notch service.
The Valley Gem Sternwheeler offers hourly cruises on the majestic Ohio, as well as several options for themed tours, including a popular dinner cruise, complete with professional live entertainment. Trolley Tours offers a leisurely ride through Marietta’s historic districts. The one-hour guided trolley ride gives a unique look back to our past and stories that bring our history to life.
Wayne National Forest abounds with 64,000 acres of opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting. Several scenic golf courses offer a variety of inexpensive choices for players of all skill levels. Scenic touring is available on the Ohio River National Scenic Byway, the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway (OH St. Rt. 26 was named one of the Top 40 Scenic Drives by Life Magazine in August 2004) or on one of many backcountry roads. A state-of-the-art aquatic center, featuring waterslides and a lazy river, opened the summer of 2004. The newly constructed River Trail offers more than 3 miles of bike and pedestrian trail that meanders along the scenic Muskingum River, providing unlimited outdoor recreational use.
Source: Marietta, Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-288-2577, 119 Greene St, Marietta, OH 45750, www.mariettaohio.org