My daughters and I went on a road trip to explore the local and historic charms of Marietta, Ohio, one late summer weekend. About a 90 minute drive from Charleston, West Virginia, on Interstate 77, you will find this a very affordable trip perfect for a weekend getaway. Marietta is a lovely river city waiting for your visit.
We stayed at the Lafayette Hotel, which is a historic landmark on the Ohio River waterfront at 101 Front Street. Open since 1912, the hotel has a triangular shape to capture perfect river views, a great downtown location, an on-site restaurant, and rooms filled with antiques and old-time charm. Our room had a king sized canopy bed and a huge sitting area with a pull-out couch, perfect for the three of us.
The main street in Marietta is called “Front Street”, and it is adorned with one-of-a-kind shops that include antiques, gourmet foods and wines, collectibles, eateries, and more. Our favorite store was the “Twisted Sisters Boutique” with its unique gifts, jewelry, funky purses, pictures frames, greeting cards, and clothing. Visit “My Favorite Things” for any collectible you can imagine plus homemade fudge. Take home famous gourmet “Rossi” pasta and sauces for dinner. My favorites are the artichoke linguini and Fire! (the devils angel hair), which are also available in gift baskets, and many of the stores items are gluten free. “Barking Dog Used Rare Books and Art” is definitely worth checking out.
My recommendation for the best meal in Marietta is “The Boathouse BBQ”, which has won 9 first place awards for their finger-licking good ribs and other cuisine. Keep in mind this is the only place in Marietta where you can sit outside by the Ohio River and enjoy dinner, drinks, and occasional entertainment, or arrive by boat! My friend Steve owns this restaurant and he runs a fantastic business. Steve also has the more health-minded “Mustard Seed Cafe”, which features many great choices of crisp salads and all natural meats (no additives), all gluten free, and decadent baked goods. Mustard Seed offers catering as well. We also enjoyed spicy Thai pasta at “Austyn’s Restaurant” on Front Street for lunch, and Chicken Fajita Nachos at “Tampico Mexican Restaurant” on Second Street for dinner. The “Gun Room Restaurant” in the LaFayette is most interesting, as it has a huge collection of long rifles on display, but the service is iffy and the menu just average.
Marietta has a castle, called “The Castle”, located at 418 Fourth Street. The gothic-revival style architecture, with octagonal tower, is filled with lovely antiques from the Victorian Era and the savvy tour guides give a witty, yet informative, overview of its history. Admission is $7 for adults, and they offer discounts for seniors and students. The Castle has many music and art events, plus educational programs, ghost tours, and teas, throughout the year. Other things to do in Marietta include a sternwheeler cruise on the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, or a visit to the Fenton Art Glass Co. in Wiliamstown, WV.
If you love history, visit Muskingum River State Park to see the memorial to the Start Westward sculpture. This artwork consists of three men standing atop a rock, landing on the Muskingum River. Start Westward represents the first landing of the pioneers and start of westward territory expansion.
If you would like to visit Ohio, check out my other posts: