Annual Fall Foliage Tour
Driving tour, community festival this weekend
It might be difficult to tell with the continued warm and dry temperatures, but fall is officially here and the fall color countdown has begun.
“Fall color will be late this year, I don’t expect it to peak down in that area until late October,” said Fall Color Forester Casey Burdick with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The maples and oak trees in the area will have a nice array of red colors, according to Burdick, and some plants, such as poison ivy, sumac and dogwood, are already beginning to show some color.
“What needs to happen is for it to cool off, especially at night, and some more days of rain,” Burdick said.
Despite a lackluster show from Mother Nature, this weekend will mark the 27th annual Fall Foliage Tour, hosted by the Little Muskingum Watershed Association. The idea behind the event is to bring attention to the eastern part of Washington County and the community that has been established along the edge of the Wayne National Forest.
“The colors are really secondary and we do invite people to come back during the peak time to drive the route,” said Watershed Association member Jenny Bruce. “But the festival is about the heritage of this community and it keeps growing every year with more stops and more to do.”
There are 12 stops this year, including three historic covered bridges and the 150-year-old Biehl store. Information, including a map, can be picked up at the Washington County Home on County House Lane.
“This time of year is all about the leisurely driving tours, visiting the covered bridges — we’ve actually gotten a steady stream of phone calls over the past two weeks about the foliage tour,” said Jeri Knowlton, director of the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is a really big deal for us. A lot of people on the local level think the (tourism) season is over with the sternwheel festival but it really carries over into December with Hometown Holidays.”
Bruce said the event is only possible through the help of many volunteers and planning for next year’s event will begin at the end of this weekend. They are hoping to top last year’s attendance of roughly 1,000 people.
“When we bring tourism into any part of the county, we are bringing those tourism dollars into the entire community,” she said.
At the Watershed site, there will be garden tractor pulls, local craft vendors, food, hay rides, live entertainment and much more. A country store and raffle will also be held with proceeds going to next year’s event. Most of the events, including children’s activities, are free. The event is open to everyone. For information, call 740-865-3350 or visit Little Muskingum Watershed on Facebook.
If you go
What: 27th annual Fall Foliage Tour.
When: Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Various stops on Ohio 26 North; events at Mile Marker 22.
Details: Tractor pulls, apple butter stir, games, hay rides, food and craft vendors.
Contact: Find Little Musingum Watershed on Facebook or call 740-865-3350.
1. Washington County Home
2. Hidden Hills Orchard
3. Hills United Methodist Church
4. Old Sitka Church and Cemetery
5. Bohlen’s Dairy Farm
6. Moss Run Church
7. Old Biehl Store and Mailpouch Tobacco Barn
8. Dads Place Outdoors
9. Dean Booth Log Cabin
10. Hune Covered Bridge
11. Rinard Covered Bridge
12. Little Muskingum Watershed site