Location, location, location, it’s a big deal in real estate, and that’s because it is directly related to travel. Located in the northeastern part of the state of Ohio, less than 30 minutes from Canton, and only 90 minutes from Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh PA; Tuscarawas County is drawing people to its beautiful landscape, and emerging arts and culinary culture from many neighboring cities.
Whether it’s for a day or a weekend trip, or you are looking for a small town atmosphere to call home; Tuscarawas County is becoming a small town destination. And it’s the perfect escape for Ohio and neighboring cities.
Rebirth In Times of Trouble- New Philadelphia
New Philadelphia, OH is a special place to see, because during the pandemic they were a town that not only stuck together, but grew. Many individuals seeking new opportunities began choosing Tuscarawas County. Individuals who now had the flexibility, and maybe even the courage, to start their dream business.
They chose this location because of a historical foundation that already exists here. Additionally, Tuscarawas County is a natural travel destination because of its location and beauty. Furthermore, there is a new found energy for arts and culture happening that is exciting to young entrepreneurs. Check out this moving video put together by the businesses of downtown New Philadelphia during the height of the pandemic. Click here.
Below are a few of the can’t miss locations in the small towns of New Philadelphia, Dover, and Sugarcreek. Read on to see the old and the new blending together for your perfect trip to Tuscarawas County.
How do I put into words the man who put Dover, OH on the map? Well, I guess I just did. The quirky, fun-loving, and insanely talented Ernest “Mooney” Warther, is known not only in the U.S. but across the world as a Master Wood Carver. This man’s work is legendary, and it all started in Dover, OH with a pair of pliers and a pocket knife (read history here). At the Museum you can see incredible works of Mooney Warther, from his pliers to his finest achievements of intricate trains and the Plier Tree.
What I loved the most about this museum was Mooney’s dedication to family. His family legacy was as important to him as his craft. The museum property itself displays his story very well. The Museum is built around his actual original workshop and is located on the site of his family home, and you guessed it, it’s run by his family.
Outside the museum is his wife Frieda’s Swiss-Style Gardens, and her collection of Buttons in the Button House; a super cool collection of buttons turned into a house of art! The same was done with arrowheads in Mooney’s workshop.
There is so much to explore here, I would plan extra time to really learn this unique family legacy.
The Famous Warther Cutlery
One of the ways Mooney made money during his lifetime was by making knives. Mooney was frustrated by store-bought knives not staying sharp, and so he decided to make his own. It all started when his mother needed a paring knife. In making her one, he created a product that quickly evolved into Warther Cutlery, which is known world-wide. Each knife goes through over 20 hand-crafting steps to give its quality steel the superior longevity and durability it’s known for.
In addition, Warther’s is different, because they still believe in hand-made quality. They believe knife making is a craft. They stand by their products, offering a lifetime guarantee and free sharpening!
Warther’s is now into their fourth generation of training superior knife makers, using the same techniques passed down since 1902. Read full story here. When visiting, not only will you get the opportunity to see distinctly world-renowned craftsmanship at Wather’s Museum; you also can take home the best cutlery and accessories in the U.S.!
Wow! Age of Steam is definitely one of the most eye-opening museums My Town has visited. Started by a collector of steam locomotives (Jerry Jacobson), his collection is now a museum dedicated to showing you how the steam locomotives operated. There are 22 of these very large steam engines in the era-specific reconstructed roundhouse. Touring the roundhouse, you will be with a guide who explains the functions and stories of these locomotives. You are not walking around inside a traditional museum, but exploring a train yard!
“Jerry Jacobson acquired 34 acres of farmland located immediately adjacent to the Ohio Central Railroad main line track, and right alongside a road named Smokey Lane. Today the site consists of storage tracks, a store house, coal dock, wood water tank, ash pit, back shop and the jewel of the site, a complete, working, 18-stall, brick roundhouse surrounding a 115-foot turntable and turntable pit. Other than a few, small roundhouses recently built for railroad museums, we believe that this is the first full-sized, working roundhouse built in the U.S. since 1951.”(ageofsteamroundhouse.org) I promise you, this will be a visit you will not forget!
A fun way to spend some time this Halloween season, is to visit the historical Reeves Victorian Home. This beautifully restored home of Dover’s notable resident Jeremiah Reeves, will give you a glance into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Jeremiah Reeves made Dover, OH an industrial center with Reeves Iron Works. His factory behind this home (pictured) was there for over a century.
What really makes this place special is all the original furnishings of the Reeves family in every room! They were found preserved in the carriage house. This is a family-friendly, and fun way to spend an afternoon. In addition, there has been suspected paranormal activities here, but nothing scary, just fun conversation while visiting.
The Delicious and Delectable of Tuscarawas County
There are tons of wonderful choices in Tuscarawas County when it comes to great food. From formal dining to casual downtown staples, here are a few My Town Picks:
Butter poached lobster over shrimp and pea risotto with herb buerre blanc, crabcakes, and fried boursin cheese with apricot jam available in a small town?? Yes! Because of Chef Eric Zamudio. A nationally traveled chef with over 15 years’ experience, serving up these high end dishes in small town New Philadelphia.
The food being served at Craft Bistro and Lounge is nothing short of spectacular. Followers are also coming back for the casual atmosphere and second floor downtown location. Craft Bistro and Lounge is making a culinary splash in this small town and in the county, and their food is a My Town Must!
Meet The Ohio Burger! My Town has been asked to try a burger with peanut butter many times, but never gave it a chance. But at Smash Restrobar, they convinced me! This burger (pictured) is all Ohio, locally sourced Wagyu beef, Guggisberg Swiss cheese, Ohio homemade raspberry preserves, bacon, and peanut butter. I know, I couldn’t believe this would be so amazing together, but it is!
Smash’s Chef is a second-generation restaurateur, who is bringing his love of the Tuscarawas area to his Smash menu. I recommend you dive in and indulge here!
Welcome to the gateway to Amish Country- Sugarcreek! Before you arrive downtown on Route 39, you will see a large campus dedicated to Amish foods, gifts, and more, known as Dutch Valley. There is a large restaurant, bakery, bulk food store/market, gift shop, beautiful hotel (the Carlisle Inn), and even a theater (The Ohio Star) right on site! Even though Sugarcreek is a small town, the Ohio Star Theater has shows scheduled through the week, making this a great way to get your arts and culture in, while also relaxing in a small town setting.
This unique campus for travelers is a great place to start your exploring in Sugarcreek, or a great place to stay while visiting Tuscarawas County. If you have never had Amish cooking, now is a good time to start. I have never had an Amish meal I didn’t like, and Dutch Valley is no different. Pictured: home-cooked, buffet style meats, veggies, noodles, and breads. Hungry yet?
What a fun find in downtown Dover! This specialty bakery is selling out of its baked goods daily, why? Because it’s that good. Featuring: specialty donuts, pecan sticky buns, and so much more.
Having a good bakery in a downtown is great for sustainability, by bringing customers in daily. Plus, Sugarfuse is going a step further by offering baking classes and specialty cakes.
Unique, Interesting, Yours of Tuscarawas County
What is it about a town that makes it special? A local attraction, a family-owned business that has been there forever? A piece of history you cannot find anywhere else, or a bookstore with just the right vibe? Here are a few of the Unique, Interesting, Yours of Tuscarawas County.
Did you know that you can taste olive oils and balsamic vinegars like wine? This was such a unique and eye-opening experience for My Town, trying flavored vinegars and olive oils on tap. Personally, I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a lot of my cooking, but I honestly had no idea the depth of flavors and quality that existed. Plus, I certainly was not expecting such a unique store in small town New Philadelphia. My favorite part of this experience was Kimberley (pictured). She has such a passion for helping you find the very best olive oils and vinegars for your needs. I took home the garlic-infused Olive Oil and the Neapolitan Herb Balsamic Vinegar, if you want to know my favorites.
This is such a great option for health and wellness. With so many choices of flavors and high-end quality you cannot find in a grocery store, you really feel you found something special.
What a unique place to visit this Halloween Season! This museum is adjoining a funeral home. It may sound a little strange, but it is actually very cool! Interestingly, because of the owner’s (John Herzig) interest in what happens after death, he started collecting memorabilia from famous individuals funerals.
Over time, the museum has begun to evolve. Now John is being contacted by famous individuals to attend their funerals and bring back memorabilia for the museum! This is such a crazy interesting find, and the stories and artifacts here are one of a kind. A fun way to spend time this Fall.
Tip: plan your museum time in Dover, and make a day of it by spending time in downtown Dover.
The world’s largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek OH? Yep, it was commissioned in 1963, restored in 2007, was donated to the village of Sugarcreek, and eventually made its way to downtown.
Now it’s a site to behold, playing its song and entertaining you with all its animated glory on the hour! Right next door you find the super cool pop culture and general store, the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m telling you; this store will bring you back to when you were a kid. Check out video here.
Have you wondered why downtown Sugarcreek looks like Switzerland? Its roots really are Swiss, and you can learn all about the settling of this area, and see great artifacts of local history, to original Swiss Alp Horns at the Alpine Hills Museum. Also, this location serves as the Visitor’s Center for Sugarcreek, so make this your first stop!
One of the really cool things about Small Town New Philadelphia, is that for its size it also has a full-fledged Performing Arts Center with over 1,000 seats! This is kind of a massive win for a small town, and it all goes back to city planning.
The Performing Arts Center is located on the Kent State Tuscarawas campus, but the land is not actually owned by the University. Over time this Performing Arts Center evolved into a community resource, being utilized for live performances. Additionally, the venue is used for educational purposes on the elementary level, serving over 7,000 students a year.
What a joy to see New Philadelphia leaders and Kent State University working together for good. They are bringing opportunities in the arts to this community.
Walk the Charming Downtown Areas of New Philadelphia, Dover, and Sugarcreek
Arts and Culture are growing and thriving in New Philadelphia! Beautiful murals, artisan shops, a local theater, Edison lighted alleys, and even painted trash cans are what you will find when you visit. Additionally, The growth of the arts in this small town has had a positive impact on their economic development, even during the pandemic.
The same charm and attention to detail can be said for Dover and Sugarcreek. Adorable, charming downtowns that make you reminiscent of a holiday movie. Did you know that Dover has its original street names posted? Or that Sugarcreek looks like a town in the Swiss Alps? Take some time and see what you can discover walking these adorable downtowns.
MTT Antique and Market Finds
Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This includes Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and the like! In Tuscarawas County, there are great Boutique and Market finds everywhere you look. Below are some of My Town‘s Favorite Finds.
Alley Cats Marketplace- SoBoho– Daily Grind Cafe – The Gift Market – Antique Barnwood Creations – Crete Clothing Fashion for Men– Mindy’s Dover Station – Eiler Candy Shop –Miller’s Creamery – Mission’s Cafe –Pangrazio’s Pizza – Esther’s Bakery – Secret Garden – Village Antiques and Collectibles – Bags Sports Pub – Amish Country Donuts and Café
My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on visiting a town and finding out what town the majority of its residents recommend My Town should visit next.
The referral for this entry is: Zoar, OH. Stay tuned for My Town to pop up there soon.
A Note From My Town
We hope you enjoyed this article on The Top 11 Small Towns to Visit in 2021! My Town visits are based on exploring and discovery as a first-time visitor, and promoting the unique assets small towns have to offer.
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