Marietta Ohio is one of the largest, and most attractive, cities in southeast Ohio. It has great historical significance, entertainment and thriving arts community, plenty of special events, and scores of outdoor activities to suit all interests. Shopping and dining in Marietta is first class and the hotels and other lodging options just as great. With only two hours northwest to Columbus, Marietta is a convenient base for exploring the best destination in Ohio. Marietta has many layers to uncover.
History Image: puroticorico (flickr)
Marietta was once home to a prehistoric complex called Earthworks inhabited by early Native Americans who were part of the Hopewell tradition; groups of Natives bound by trading routes along American rivers in the northeast and northwest between 200BCE and 500CE. Marietta is the initial permanent American settlement in Ohio, established in 1788 by early pioneers at the mouth of the Muskingum River. It was established in April of 1788 and named for the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. One of the earliest successful industries in Marietta was boat building, appropriate for its location at the confluence of two easily navigable rivers. Ocean boats were built and sailed south to New Orleans to Mississippi, and to the Gulf of Mexico. About 20 years post-settlement the steamboat was created, an iron mill pumped out rails for the newly founded industry, and sawmills accommodated new construction. There are many lavish mansions in Marietta are a testament to two separate oil booms, one in 1875 and the other in 1910.
Attractions Image: MeRyan (flickr)
One of the biggest attractions in Marietta Ohio is the annual Ohio River Steamboat Festival kicking off after Labor Day for the last three decades. The Ohio River banks welcome Sternwheelers by the dozens close to the downtown core. There are sternwheel races, fireworks, and music concerts with thousands of visitors. The aforementioned preserved and prehistoric Native American monuments (Mounds of Marietta) scattered in the area – the most notable being the Earthworks complex – are another of the biggest draws in Marietta. Being a station on the Underground Railroad, there are several sites to be seen in Marietta from this period including stations, plantations, and homes now on the National Register of Historic Places. A half-dozen museums, a planetarium, the Marietta Aquatic Center, farms, and vineyards create a bevy of places to visit.
Outdoor Recreation Image: puroticorico (flickr)
Miles upon miles of hiking trails wind around Marietta and the outskirts. Golf is another big hit on the list of things to do; there are dozens of courses all within a half-hour reach of the city including two directly in Marietta. Several public ramps and docks offer easy access to both rivers. There are eleven in total for the Muskingum River and five on the Ohio River. With such amazing river accessibility, a visit to Marietta wouldn’t be complete without a river cruise. Opt in for a romantic dinner cruise, sightseeing cruise, or even singles cruise. There are several steamboats making the round along both Muskingum and Ohio rivers. Cruises are especially fun during the Ohio Steamboat festival where hourly trips are offered.
There are a handful of reliable hotel options available in historic Marietta Ohio, most with high speed internet, a dining options, and roomy suites or rooms. Magnuson by the River – formerly the Best Western – ups the ante with a convenient boat dock and picnic space on Muskingum River. One of the most notable hotels in Marietta is the Historic Layfayette Hotel; A Grande Riverboat Era Hotel. The old steamship has fascinating Marietta history behind it and is now renovated into a grand hotel on the Ohio River.