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Things to do in Athens

Portland, Oregon
2 posts
1 review
Things to do in Athens

We are visiting Athens in late April for a week to attend our daughters thesis show and will have some free time to explore. We like to fly fish, see historical sites, eat great food, and and anything that is a must see in the area. We have not been in that part of the US and would drive a reasonable distance.

13 replies to this topic
Chillicothe, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Sandusky
Level Contributor
3,748 posts
110 reviews
1. Re: Things to do in Athens

Athens is very near some great natural areas (though nothing compared to what is in your neck of the woods!). Do a google search for Hocking Hills. There are zip lines, canoe tours, lots of hiking, fishing, bike trails, and guided horseback riding (along with a few working "dude" ranches). The area is well known for it's abundence of rental cabins. There is also an amazing cooking school located at nearby Hocking College, and many graduates move on to nearby restaurants. The Grouse Nest and Cedar Falls are two that come to the top of my mind.


If you're willing to drive 2 hours or so, great places to google and explore are:

The City of Columbus (Ohio's capital, big city feel with lots of museums, restaurants and parks)

Amish Country (spread over a few counties, worth a whole day visit to experience the Amish lifesyle, baked goods, cheeses, wines and handcrafted items)

Wheeling, West Virginia (casino's, Oglebay resort and glass museum - also many other great places to fly fish in West Virginia)

The Wilds (an exotic large animal preserve near Cambridge, OH. Think Rhinos, giraffes, big cats, etc in a natural setting on thousands of acres you can drive-tour).

Edited: 01 November 2011, 19:17
Portland, Oregon
2 posts
1 review
2. Re: Things to do in Athens

Thank you for your reply. This gives me some good ideas to get started.

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10,853 posts
30 reviews
3. Re: Things to do in Athens

Given your interest in history, consider a visit to Dayton, Ohio, arguably the aviation history mecca of the world. It contains two excellent historical attractions: The Dayton National Aviation Historical Park, maintained by the National Park Service, and the U.S. Air Force National Museum.

Huffman Prairie Flying Field in Dayton arguably is one of the most historic locations in the world, although not well known in Ohio let alone the rest of the U.S.

Huffman Prairie Flying Field, not Kitty Hawk, is the actual birthplace of flight. If you know the history of the Wright brothers, it's inspiring to walk the 84 acres (.34 square km) and ponder the daredevil courage, genius and perseverance of the fathers of flight, and to wonder at the amazement of those first individuals to see a machine taking its place in the sky with birds!


If the Wrights had not returned to Ohio from Kitty Hawk and made monumental contributions to aviation technology including the development of improved controls, advanced propeller design, and a more powerful aluminum engine, the Wrights likely would have been only a footnote to history.

The world's first airplane is not at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Instead it is lovingly housed at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton in an exhibit that is part of the national historical park.

The Wright Flyer III was used to make a flight of over 39 minutes on October 5, 1905, flying until the gas tank was empty, and covering 24 miles, more distance than the combined total of all prior 109 Wright test flights. The airplane was born.




If you visit the Wright Flyer III, notice the red canoe hanging above it. It was the first and likely only canoe to fly around the Statue of Liberty, and great evidence of a moment in history demonstrating the fearlessness and confidence of the Wrights.


You might want to read "The Bishop's Boys," an acclaimed biography of the Wright Brothers written by Ohio University graduate Tom Crouch. Learn how the Wrights worked at developing an unstable airplane while other early aviation pioneers focused on developing a stable aircraft.


Dayton's Carillon Historical Park has several other excellent exhibits, including one of oldest surviving locomotives in the U.S., an 1835 B&O Grasshopper, and a very good antique bicycle collection.


The U.S. Air Force National Museum is a mammoth collection of historical military aircraft, including selected foreign aircraft and a large collection of presidential aircraft, many of the latter available for walk-throughs by visitors. This air museum has excellent exhibits, featuring not only historic machines but also the experiences and tactics of the airmen who flew and maintained the machines. Admission is free and allow at least one full day for even a hurried tour of the museum.


If you like bourbon, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. You'll be visiting near the date of the Kentucky Derby, so also might want to visit Kentucky's bluegrass horse country and Churchill Downs in Louisville. Mammoth Cave National Park also is in Kentucky. Check on the Kentucky forum for fly fishing opportunities.

On your way to Kentucky, you might want to visit Cincinnati, home of the very good National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. You also might want to walk across the 1866 John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, which proceeded its builder's Brooklyn Bridge by three decades.


Nearer Athens, you could visit Chillicothe, Ohio's first capital. Of special note there is Adena Mansion & Gardens.


Spring walleye fishing is a favorite in Ohio. If you decide to visit northern Ohio to experience this season, let us know and we can you some ideas of other attractions.


Enjoy Ohio!

Chillicothe, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Sandusky
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3,748 posts
110 reviews
4. Re: Things to do in Athens

I will ditto all of Trans suggestions as well, they just seemed a bit further than a reasonable driving distance to me. But all are definitely worth doing if you don't mind a bit of a drive! Chillicothe is the only exception, is about an hour from Athens. In addition the Adena grounds, it is home to the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park (prehistoric indian culture). If the Mounds interest you, there are also great Mound developments near Newark, Ohio, and the Great Serpant Mound near Peebles Ohio.

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10,853 posts
30 reviews
5. Re: Things to do in Athens

IrishLake raises a good point. I assumed you weren't only interested in day trips. Sorry, if I misinterpreted your post.

Although I greatly enjoy the Wilds, I don't believe it will be open in April, but you should call and not rely on their website.

Columbus would be a day trip destination, as much as a couple hours each way. The Ohio Statehouse offers excellent tours, and German Village is one of the nation's largest residential historical preservation districts and contains some of the best restaurants in Columbus. The Columbus Zoo is one of the nation's best and Easton Town Center is an innovative town-style shopping mecca in the Midwest.


Other attractions nearer Athens include the Longaberger Company headquarters, a seven-story picnic basket in Newark, Ohio, or the Longaberger Homestead in Frazeysburg.


Here's the visitor's bureau for Athens County.


Here's the Ohio Department of Natural Resources fishing website with guides, maps, weekly reports and more.


Good planning!

Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
91 posts
3 reviews
6. Re: Things to do in Athens

I can't speak from personal experience, but my husband is a proud Bobcat and he and his friends from OU days always rave about Marietta, OH. The first permanent settlement in the Northwest Terriroty, it's not far from Athens and they say it's a lovely quaint town.

Enjoy Athens! We usually go down every fall for his reunions and I"ve always found it to be a lot of fun, and quite beautfiul.

Chapel Hill, NC
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294 posts
165 reviews
7. Re: Things to do in Athens

So...is there nothing in the town itself to do?

Chillicothe, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Sandusky
Level Contributor
3,748 posts
110 reviews
8. Re: Things to do in Athens

The town itself is a college town. Anything worth doing is usually associated with Ohio University or the nearby Hocking College. It's a very cute little town, typical restaurants, bars, and shopping. But the colleges usually offer other fun things to do. Sporting events, festivals, art shows, plays... the college websites detail what's going on that is available to the public.

Canton, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Garden City Beach, Surfside Beach
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3,973 posts
285 reviews
9. Re: Things to do in Athens

A 2 hour drive north will take you to Rosco Village: http://www.roscoevillage.com/

They have various tours every day, and various events throughout the year.

If you are going to Rosco Village and you are going through Zanesville, OH. The Zanesville Y-Bridge is something different for the area you may want to cross or photograph:


At the I-77/I-70 intersection is Byesville, OH and the Byesville Scenic Railroad. http://www.bsrw.org/

Unfortunately, they are not operating in 2012, but if they do open again in 2013, I suggest visiting for a ride. During the ride, they talk about the history of coal mining in the area.

Also, if you are visiting The Wilds (I saw someone above suggested it), you may be interested in checking out the Big Musky Bucket:


Much closer than the items listed above is in Nelsonville, OH (just a quick drive on US-33 from Athens).


I haven't been on this tour, but if it is running when you are in town, it may be worth a visit.

Level Contributor
540 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Things to do in Athens

In the town of Athens itself:

Dairy Barn Arts Center


Jackie O's for excellent hancrafted brews


Casa Nueva for yummy and interesting Mexican food: http://www.casanueva.com

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