MIAMI COUNTY BARN QUILT TOUR
Sponsored by the Miami County Visitors Bureau
(Admission is Free) 

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

IF YOU QUILT IT, THEY WILL COME

Nearly 70 Barn Quilt Squares
Piece Together A Unique Heritage Tour

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A trip to Miami County, Ohio will bring visitors an opportunity to journey back in time with a new trend for the heritage travelers – the Barn Quilt Tour, a program of the Miami County Visitors & Convention Bureau.   

A colorful array of traditional quilt patterns, hand painted on barns, decorate the scenic countryside. These true folk art renditions celebrate the historic, rural and agricultural experience while connecting the lovely historic downtown communities with the beautiful landscapes of Miami County.  As visitors travel from town to farm, they won’t have to travel far to see over 67 barns adorned with unique patterns.  Leaving the fast lane behind, this unusual driving tour takes the traveler off the beaten path and away from the major highways where they can enjoy a peaceful, leisurely drive on country roads that criss-cross all parts of Miami County.   

Sprinkled throughout the county, most of the patterns are 8 X 8 foot squares and can be viewed up close by driving into the farm lanes or driveways, where some of the owners may even personally welcome their visitors.  As an added bonus, many of the farms have a wide assortment of horses, cows, goats, sheep, llamas, donkeys, roosters, and more – all waiting to greet you in their own special way. 

The concept of the barn quilts had its origin in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio.  It was the inspiration of one woman who wanted to honor her mother’s enthusiasm for the craft of quilting and to highlight the shared cultural heritage of the Appalachian region.  It quickly spread to other counties in Ohio and other states as well, creating a rich network of quilt barns, while also creating a boost for rural tourism.   

The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau offers a map brochure for this tour which is self guided, available year round, and free to the public.  There is no set trail and visitors can create their own trail, striking out in any direction to see all 67 barn quilts, or just select a few.  No two are alike.  Besides the beauty of the barn quilts, the tour provides a connection to the region’s rural heritage and the still very important role of the barns today, helping to preserve a piece of American heritage.  It also recognizes the traditional art of quilting, which in recent years has made a huge comeback.  The patterns themselves pay tribute to crafts, nature, occupations, politics, events, various states and almost anything that inspires a connection with community and family.  The barns and quilt patterns seem to be a natural partnership, linked in the rural fabric of American history.   

Plan your travels to allow time to visit other sites.  Along the way, scenic parks and preserves such as Brukner Nature Center, Charleston Falls Preserve, Historic Eldean Bridge, Piqua Historical Area/Canal Boat Ride and the Stillwater Prairie Reserve will beckon you to stop and explore, or share a picnic lunch in a lovely natural setting where wildlife, wildflowers, covered bridges, glistening streams and waterfalls will welcome everyone.  It’s a perfect way to experience the outdoors and see things you don’t normally find in the city.  Visitors are encouraged to make it a 2-day, overnight tour.  Visits to historic communities could include Piqua, Tipp City, Troy, Covington and others, each featuring their own quaint downtowns that are blessed with unique shopping, exhibits, local artisans, dining experiences, country stores, farmer’s markets, friendly folks everywhere, as well as historical and heritage attractions, and quality accommodations. 

Day trips are also a perfect way to visit local county attractions, like the barn quilt trail, without the investment of a lot of time and money, and not too far from your own backyard.  Remember the “Sunday Drive” – that grand tradition where families and friends piled in the car and took off on excursions to no place in particular?  The Barn Quilt Tour is tailor made for this type of activity.  We suggest you “take the road less traveled, and journey back in time” in Miami County, Ohio.  And, don’t forget to bring the camera! 

Group tours are welcome, and best viewing would be spring through fall.  For more information on the Miami County Barn Quilt Tour and other attractions in Miami County, visit www.VisitMiamiCounty.org  or call 800-348-8993.

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