Everyone loves a good story and there are dozens of them painted on walls, captured in stone, displayed in nature, and informal exhibits in Steubenville and Jefferson County. And all can be viewed or experienced while safely following all state protocols.
Begin with the twenty-five larger than life murals depicting the area’s heritage painted on buildings in Steubenville, the “City of Murals.” The Pioneer leading to the West, eye-catching Riverboats, the old-time Firehouse, and the Steam Laundry bring back memories of earlier times. Legendary figures such as Dean Martin and Abraham Lincoln look down upon passersby. Learn the remarkable history of Steubenville natives Dorothy Sloop and Moses Fleetwood Walker who are represented on city walls. A map and a fun scavenger hunt are available at the Fort Steuben Visitor Center to help navigate your trail.
Then return to the Visitor Center and tour the reconstructed Historic Fort Steuben. A visit to this 18th century military fort with displays and artifacts in each of its eight buildings, is a must. Entertaining and informative tour guides bring the past to life, describing the difficulties and struggles of life on the Ohio frontier. Youngsters enjoy the scavenger hunt and the Fort Mural Quiz. In the Exhibit Hall additional displays include the culture of the original native tribes, the history of surveying, and an exhibit as part of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. The adjacent First Federal Land Office is also open for tours as an example of a 19th century home office. The annual festival, Ohio Valley Frontier Days is held the first weekend in June. The fort is open daily through October. Fort Steuben Park with its inviting Veterans Memorial Fountain and view of the West Virginia mountains is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch and there are several nearby restaurants offering take-out menus that appeal to every taste. www.oldfortsteuben.com.
Be sure to include a walk or hike on one of the many trails in Beatty Park, a natural preserve with historic stonework and native plants in the heart of downtown. The park features seasonal StoryWalks as well. Check out the Facebook page of Friends of Beatty Park to find the scheduled hikes and events that have been planned. While exploring the downtown take time to admire the stained-glass windows and architecture on the historical churches. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church – the oldest in the city – boasts priceless, magnificent Tiffany windows.
Just a short ride down St. Rt. 7 along the Ohio River takes you to the rolling green hills and rural back roads of Jefferson County and to historic Mount Pleasant. This charming village is filled with stories having been a crucial site for the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery activities of the 19th century. The village contains a National Historic District which includes the Friends (Quakers) Yearly Meeting House, built in 1814, and the Free Labor Store, which refused to sell products made by slave labor. An annual open house and garden tour is held there the first weekend in August. http://mtp1803.org/.
After strolling the quaint streets of Mount Pleasant, you should be ready for a hearty meal at the nearby Farm Restaurant in Adena which features delicious food as well as charming décor. Or maybe you would like to stop by Black Sheep Vineyard to enjoy a glass of their hand-crafted wine in a cozy country setting.
Celebrate the peace, beauty, and joys of nature by pitching a tent or setting up an RV at Austin Lake RV Park & Cabins, just 20 minutes from downtown Steubenville. The 1300-acre park with an 80-acre lake offers camping, cabins, hiking trails, pontoon rentals, kayaking, fishing, hiking and picnicking as well as planned activities all summer. It’s a perfect place to share stories around a campfire. https://austinlakepark.com.
For more information on these, other attractions, dining and lodging in Steubenville and Jefferson County, visit www.visitsteubenville.com or call 866-301-1787.