Morgan County is located in Southeastern Ohio, and is known for its rich history of places along the Muskingum River. The entire county has only a little over 14,000 people, which actually is part of the charm of Morgan County! If you are someone who loves small towns, enjoys a slower pace, and looks for places where truly everybody knows your name, you will love Morgan County!
The camaraderie in Morgan County is felt, there is a sense of community everywhere you go, and a sense of home. The welcoming feeling you get in Morgan County, will be part of the experience that will stay with you. Here are the Top Ten Reasons you should spend a weekend in Morgan County!
Welcome to The Twin City Opera House, located in downtown McConnelsville. This is the longest continuously running opera house in the state of Ohio. The grand opening was in 1892, during a very prosperous time in the history of McConnelsville. This was a time when their location on the Muskingum River, flooded the town with continuous commerce. Today it’s a shining historical gem, located right in the center of town. The Twin City Opera House is showing movies now in addition to live performances, and has a volunteer base dedicated to its upkeep, preservation, and sharing its history with visitors.
The Locks on the Muskingum River were built in 1841 to help boats navigate around the Dams. The famous Sternwheelers could not traverse the Muskingum because it was too shallow, so the Locks and Dams were built. In the mid 1800’s- the early 1900’s, Morgan County was a booming area because of its waterway transports. This is the reason historical places like the Twin City Opera House exists.
The Locks themselves are engineering marvels that are really cool sites to see. A great place to start is Lock #7, you can get to it easily from downtown McConnelsville. Or Lock # 6 located across from Stockport Mill. My Town recommends paddling the Locks by kayak. This is a great way to see history up close!
3. Enjoy the Small Town Shops of Downtown McConnelsville
Downtown McConnelsville is an adorable, picturesque small town. It has a public square with a bronze statue of a Civil War private right in the middle of town. The Statue stands thirteen feet tall and is perched on a block of granite that came from the Gettysburg battlefield. The Town Hall and the Twin City Opera House are right on the Public Square.
There are several places to leisurely walk around and visit, here are a few My Town Favorite Finds:
*As if I need a reason to drink coffee, but Seraphinea’s Crumb and Coffee gave me another reason with their s’mores iced coffee! Loved this small town coffee shop. Make sure to scroll through photo galley to see pictures of this adorable downtown space!
* Town Square Collectibles-Awesome place to stop in for a large collection of items made by local crafters and artisans. Located right on the Public Square.
*Maxwell’s Hunting and Fishing– With all the outdoor recreation in the area, it makes sense there would be a a great place to stop for all your gear in town. I loved the feel of this small town staple.
* Want to really get a small town feel while in McConnelsville? Stop in for a drink or for lunch at the Chatterbox Tavern. You will love the vibe of this favorite local watering hole.
The Stockport Mill Inn is a renovation of an actual Hydroelectric Mill that was in use until 1997. The location of the current structure was originally built in 1906, on the west end of the Lock #6 Dam. The renovation of the Mill into an Inn is truly unique, as the proprietors took great pride in maintaining the Mill’s original structure and character. You can stay in one of their fourteen cozy guest rooms that each have an incredible view of the Muskingum River and the Dam.
The Stockport Mill also hosts every kind of event imaginable, and wow! The home cooking you will receive at the Stockport Mill Country Inn is outstanding! Adding to an already unique destination, The Historic Stockport Mill’s dining experience will be one to remember. The homemade rolls and desserts really put this meal over the top. Make sure to scroll through gallery.
5. Tour The Button House and The Morgan County Historical Society
The Historical Society and the Button House are a great start to your visit in Morgan County. Not only to explore the history, but the people who work there are a huge wealth of knowledge of all the happenings in Morgan County. It’s a great way to learn the lay of the land, and connect the dots in a new place you’re exploring. If you are from Morgan County, they have a huge genealogy section dating back to the early 1800’s for your research, and a great local artifacts collection on display.
Have you heard of the famous artist Howard Chandler Christy? While being renowned in New York, he was from Morgan County. Christy is the most commercially successful, U.S. based artist. You can view several of his works at the Morgan County Historical Society.
The Button House is the perfectly preserved home Evelyn True Button, built in 1836. This is a beautiful, historic treasure set up to show you exactly how Evelyn would have lived at the time. Evelyn was a teacher, world-traveler, and advocate of women’s rights. A divorced woman, she was a true firecracker of her day. Electricity came early to Morgan County, so it’s really neat to see how this home feels like one you would live in today, even though its almost two centuries old.
Morgan County is a gem for hiking trails in the Southeastern woods of Ohio, especially if you want to find trails that are not too populated! Located among the beautiful scenery is Burr Oak State Park. There is so much to explore within Burr Oaks 40 miles of hiking trails, within its 660 acres. The beautiful vistas, valleys, rocks, and caves that Southeastern Ohio is known for are abundant here.
The Park has a beautiful lodge that does have overnight accommodations and a campground. The nice part about Burr Oak Lodge, is its location set right on the lake front. The overlook can also be seen from their dining area. So even if you are not staying at Burr Oak, you can hike, come in for lunch or dinner, and sit to take in the beautiful view.
The Morgan County Dungeon is a fun little stop in Malta. Malta is right across the “the Old Bridge” in downtown McConnelsville. The Dungeon was used from 1833-1839 for rioting, larceny, and even marital issues! This is a fun short stop while visiting Morgan County. It’s also next to the Rock Hollow One Room School House, circa 1877. Call the Morgan County Visitor’s Bureau if you would like a tour.
Because of Morgan County’s river location, it has a rich Indian History, and also a very bloody one, most notable the “Big Bottom Massacre.” Click here to read about the Indian Tribes of Morgan County, courtesy of Ohio History Connection. Because of this history, even today you can find arrowheads along the river, and in strategic locations if you ask permission. One of the best places to look is right on the banks of the Muskingum River in front of the Stockport Inn, and on Ditez Farm. If you decide to go hunting in Stockport, when you call the Stockport Inn for permission, make sure to see if you can get reservations for their delicious homemade buffet!
Old Bridge Brewing Company is a labor of love renovation of an old auto shop-circa 1919, into the now incredibly unique Old Bridge Brewing Company. Their location has a view of its namesake- The Old Bridge. There were several other interesting attributes to this brewery. Such as, hand-made embellishments that were part of the original building structure, salvaged from the renovation. They also have their own unique brewing style that lends to its small town feel, like collaborations with a local coffee company, to create The Dirty Girl Coffee Stout.
While you’re enjoying your brews, make sure to stop in at El Palenque right next door. Or you can make an order right at the Brewery. Personally, I love the chimichangas at this Tex-Mex Eatery, but everything on the menu looks delicious.
Bring a kayak, find a boat, or fish from the riverbanks! The Musky is waiting for you! One place to visit: Muskingum River State Park, where an old bridge now serves as amazing falls for visitors and fisherman alike. The river provides great fishing spots for Large Mouth Bass, Crappie, Spotted Bass, and Channel Catfish to name a few, for more information check out the Morgan County Fishing Report.
A Note From My Town- and Photo Gallery
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