By Anietra Hamper
Posted On: Oct 26, 2015
The beauty of driving Ohio’s many byways is that the backdrop changes with every season. Ohio has 27 scenic byways that meander through many parts of the state, allowing you to take in stretches of farmland, Amish culture, historical perspective and sheer natural beauty. The scenic byways paint a cultural picture of all the things that make Ohio unique.
One of my favorite scenic byways is through Ohio’s Amish country, especially in the fall. The 160-mile Amish Country Byway is one of the most tranquil drives you will ever experience. I love the scenic rolling hills, quaint Bed & Breakfasts, clothes drying on the lines and scenes of the hard working Amish in the fields and sharing the road with their horses and buggies.
The Amish Byway in Holmes, Wayne and Stark counties allows you endless opportunities to stop off at small restaurants and enjoy heart-warming Amish cooking. It is a perfect time to stop and enjoy the lifestyle of the locals who forego modern conveniences. I recommend planning several days on the byway to truly enjoy the slower pace and the many stops along the way. VisitAmishCountry.com has lots of visitor information.
Let’s explore some of Ohio’s other beautiful byways.
Ohio & Erie Canalway The Ohio & Erie Canalway is a great way to follow the path of the old Ohio and Erie Canal from Dover to Cleveland. The byway starts in Tuscarawas County at I-77 and ends 110 miles north at Cleveland's Carter Road Lift Bridge. Designated as Ohio’s second nationally designated scenic byway, you will find rich history as you navigate the rails and trails that had such an important impact on our nation’s transportation system. There are lots of cultural stops along the way. For more information, contact the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association.
Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches The Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches Byway is a 38-mile scenic route that winds through Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties. If you start in McCartyville, you will take State Route 119 to Fort Recovery, then north on State Route 49 until you end at State Route 29 west of Wabash. The highlight of this scenic route is the collection of cross-tipped churches. At points along your drive you can see them for miles due to the flat farmland in the region. This route has tremendous historical significance from the remnants of early settlers. The churches, which mark this region, were placed into the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. For more information, visit seemore.org.
Welsh Scenic Byway I’ve been through many regions in Ohio, but I never knew about the Welsh Scenic Byway until recently. This fascinating 64-mile trip through Gallia and Jackson counties showcases Welsh immigrants who settled in southeastern Ohio during the 19th century. You will see welsh cemeteries, farms, churches and homesteads, including the Bob Evans Homestead. The scenery is stunning and your trip introduces you to a culture in Ohio that is rarely seen.
Covered Bridge Scenic Byway One of the most stunning drives in the state is the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway along Ohio State Route 26 between Marietta and Woodsfield. As you meander along the rolling hills passing old farmhouses, old cemeteries and villages, you will be treated to Washington County’s most prized views, the covered bridges. There are many bridges along this route and each one has a unique design. Some are stone bridges, some are covered bridges and all of them have stories behind them. You will want to take your camera on this trip to capture the stunning painting-like scene that these bridges create, especially on a beautiful fall afternoon. For more information, contact the Marietta-Washington County CVB.
For a complete list of Ohio’s scenic byways and detailed maps, check out the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Ohio Scenic Byways Program.