- 44 miles (70 km)
- About 4 hours
Nothing could be more romantic than meandering through the countryside on Covered Bridge Scenic Byway. Forested hills alternating with open pastures create an aura of the 19th Century that will seem real when you pass underneath one of the four covered bridges along the byway. During the horse and buggy times of the 1800s when these covered bridges were novel and pristine, the defiant youth referred to them as "kissing bridges." But the proper term was "wishing bridges," and it was tradition to hold your breath and make a wish as you passed through.
On a Sunday afternoon drive you can see the light dancing on the pavement from the sun shining through the trees. Roll down the windows and you will hear the Little Muskingum River rushing alongside the byway as it bends and turns through Wayne National Forest. Dappled along the byway are several barns built in the 1800s decorated with advertisements for Mail Pouch Tobacco on them. Like the covered bridges and the other quaint pieces of architecture along the byway, Mail Pouch barns are rare and few of them can still be read.
It is amazing how unexpectedly the simple beauty of this byway was jeopardized in the hurricanes of 2004. As the storms dissipated over the land, the ensuing and seemingly endless rains washed parts of the forest with as much as eight feet of water. Tragically, Rinard Covered Bridge was swept cleanly off of its pier and into the rising river below. Efforts are being made to restore the bridge, and though this was a great loss, the small and precious parts of the byway that make it so charming remain.
Perhaps while you are driving through one of these priceless covered bridges, you will hear the clatter of the wooden floorboards beneath you and be impressed to use your wish not for your own desires, but for the continued preservation of the majestic Covered Bridge Scenic Byway.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Campus Martius Museum (OH)
Through its exhibits, the Campus Martius Museum explains howthree important waves of migration helped make Ohio theeconomically and culturally diverse state it is today. The museumis the Ohio Historical Society's interpretive center for thehistory of settlement and migration in Ohio, spanning the periodfrom 1780 to 1970.
Photographs, artifacts, video presentations, and audiodramatizations of actual diary accounts illustrate Ohio'ssettlement and migration history. Objects on display range frommid-1800s farming equipment to a stage jacket worn by contemporarycountry music star Dwight Yoakam, a son of Appalachianmigrants.
In addition, entry-level displays focus on Marietta'sestablishment in 1788 as the first organized American settlement inthe Northwest Territory. Visitors learn the significance of thesite's name, Campus Martius, and witness the challenges thatconfronted the first white settlers in what was then considered the wildWest.
Ohio River Museum (OH)
The Ohio River Museum's three buildings have a variety of exhibits that depict the golden era of the steamboat.
The W.P. Snyder Jr., the last intact, steam-powered, stern-wheeled towboat in the United States, sits outside the museum on the Muskingum River. Also outside you'll find a full-scale reproduction of a flatboat and the Tell City pilothouse.
Wayne National Forest (OH)
This national forest is in the southern tip of Ohio and consists of rolling Appalachian foothills.