Nelsonville is a short distance from Logan, Ohio. It is located on US Route 33 between Logan and Athens, Ohio. It has many interesting things to do. My personal favorite is a train ride.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
If you want a different way to look at the hills of Southeastern Ohio, then step on board a passenger train at the Nelsonville Depot of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Children and adults will enjoy a ride on this old fashioned mode of transportation. Step back in time and enjoy the Hocking Hills from the vantage point of a train on a track to Haydenville or Logan.
The Haydenville trip is 12 miles round trip and the Logan trip is 20 miles round trip.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway was voted one of the world’s top family-friendly train rides by the Travel Channel. I can attest to that when I rode on the sold out “Robbery Train“. I saw lots of children and families on that train.
Just about every holiday a train will be scheduled to run. During the last weekend in November and the first three weekends in December, young children will enjoy the Christmas train with a special visit from Santa during the
two hour non-stop ride.
The hours of operation are on Saturday and Sunday Memorial Day weekend through the first weekend in November. All trains depart from the depot located on US 33 in Nelsonville at 12:00 noon and 2:30 pm. Reservations are recommended. For information call 1-800-967-7834 for their voice mail. Phone on the weekends (740) 753-9531 or visit them on the internet at: www.hockingvalleytrain.org
Step back in time and visit restored pioneer log cabins featuring woodstove cooking, quilting and spinning at Robbins Crossing in Nelsonville, Ohio. Stop by the cooper and blacksmith shops and experience period music and games of days gone by.
They are open Saturdays and Sundays 11 am – 5 pm from Memorial Day weekend through October and weekdays by appointment. Robbins Crossing is located at Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway in Nelsonville, 45764. For more information call (740) 753-3591, ext. 2330. Visit them on the internet at : www.hocking.edu/attractions/robbinscrossing
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is a 21 mile long paved and handicap accessible bike path which follows the old Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad bed from Athens to Nelsonville. The surrounding beauty of the area can be enjoyed by bicycle, foot, inline skates, scooter, skateboard, wheelchair or cross country skis in the winter time. All-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and horseback riding are prohibited.
The Bikeway is named after the Native American name for the Hocking River which means bottleneck “or” twisted and after the Adena Indians who lived in the Hocking Valley over 2000 years ago. There are various points of interest along the path which include: Ohio University, an old fashioned coal company store and miner’s homes, parts of the Wayne National Forest, and the unique pioneer village of Robbins Crossing at Hocking College in Nelsonville.
You will also see some of the natural beauty of the region when you pass high cliffs and rock formations, wildflowers in spring, and a variety of birds and wildlife. Take a look at this website for more information and a map.
A Haunted Railroad Tunnel – The Moonville Tunnel
There is a haunted railroad tunnel in the eastern edge of eastern Vinton County that is frequented by the ghosts of two different people each killed there at two different times. Local historical accounts record the tragic and untimely deaths of two people matching the exact descriptions of the ghosts – one was a male and one a female.
And… the ghosts are also sighted at the same locations of their deaths wearing what they would have worn at the times of their deaths. Local accounts also report that when the trains actually ran on these tracks that they used to fly through the hills at top speeds.
Accidents do happen and I could see accidental deaths happening since locals used the tracks, narrow trestle and narrow tunnel as walking paths through the woods. The odds of two different accidents happening at the same tunnel are what make this story so unusual.
The Moonville tunnel which was built in 1856 is 100 yards long and was renovated in 1903. Railroad men called it the most isolated and desolate stretch of the B&O from St. Louis, Missouri to Parkersburg, West Virginia. It is no longer in operation but it is still in good shape. It is on private property but can be assessed during a daylight hike.
Directions: Turn onto Wheelabout Road across from the Lake Hope Dam; stay to the left at the fork. The road becomes Shea-Moonville Road. Moonville is about 2.5 miles from the dam. Cross the steel bridge and pull off where the berm widens just past the bridge. Walk the old railroad bed to the left, cross Racoon Creek and the tunnel will be straight ahead.
After you hike back from the tunnel, continue on driving on Shea-Moonville Road, cross another steel bridge and drive up the hill to Lookout Rock. This sandstone outcrop provides a wonderful view of Racoon Valley below. www.moonvilletunnel.net
The Moonville Rail-Trail is a sixteen-mile rail-trail in southeast Ohio, located in Vinton and Athens Counties. It is largely embedded in the Zaleski State Forest and passes close to Lake Hope State Park. www.moonvillerailtrail.com
Stuart’s Opera House
Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville opened in 1869 and was built from hand-made clay bricks. It stayed open only until 1924 and remained empty for fifty years. The building was transformed into a theatre and cultural arts center by the Hocking Valley Museum of Theatrical History in 1976. In 1980 tragedy struck and a fire destroyed nearly everything. An extensive renovation project began and it was opened again in 1997.
Stuart’s Opera House is located at 34 Public Square, Nelsonville, Ohio. I have personally enjoyed both a play and musical performance at this quaint location and enjoyed both performances. The tickets are reasonably priced as well. They are located at 34 Public Square. Call them at 740-753-1924 or visit them on the web at www.stuartsoperahouse.org for their current schedule.
Historic Square Arts District
Nelsonville has numerous shops and unique art galleries in the Historic Square where you can find a little bit of everything. Read more here.
Rocky Outdoor Gear Store
If you need boots and gear for hiking, hunting, work and casual wear it is worth a short drive to The Rocky Boots Factory Outdoor Gear Store. While you’re there you can have lunch at the Boot Grill and sink your teeth into their famous Bison Burger. They are located on Route 33 in Nelsonville and open 7 days a week. Monday-Saturday 9-8 and Sunday 10-5. They are located at 45 East Canal Street in Nelsonville, Ohio 45764. Call them at 740-753-3130 or visit their website.
See a Movie while you are in Nelsonville
Located 7 minutes North of Athens and just outside of Nelsonville on US Route 33 is a movie theatre called Nelsonville Movies 10 and the cost for all tickets during any showing is only $4.00. They also have a Fun Barn with arcade games and food.
Nelsonville Movie 10 – Call them at 740-753-3400, They are located at 14333 US-33, Nelsonville, OH 45764
They grow grapes and make a wine for every taste. They are located at 401 Gilkey Ridge in Shade Ohio in Athens county. They are open 4 pm – 8 pm on Thursday and 1 pm -8 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the months of March through December. Phone them at 740-696-1323. Visit them on the internet at: www.shadewinery.com.
This was excerpted from, “Hocking Hills Highlights” for those who don’t have access to the Kindle format.
Copyright Terri Baker 2015