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Discovering all that the Mid-Ohio Valley has to offer

As a reporter in the Mid-Ohio Valley for nearly a decade before I took a (mostly) desk job as an editor in 2011, I’d been to most festivals, fairs and attractions many times over, and some more than I can count. But I was reminded recently that even in your own backyard, there are always new things to see.

My mom and her husband moved to West Virginia from Maryland two years ago, and in their retirement, have started exploring all the regions of their new home state. On my mom’s list of must-see spots was Blennerhassett Island. Surprisingly, after spending about 20 years in nearby Marietta, I had never been.

I will admit, when it comes to sightseeing destinations, I tend to gravitate toward Atlas Obscura spots more than the most popular sites, but I was more than willing to go to the island with my mom when she visited recently. Blennerhassett was hosting its Mansion by Candlelight event and we were treated to the full island lit only by flickering flames on a beautiful fall night. The volunteers dressed in period garb were enthusiastic and we enjoyed ghost stories by a bonfire, had our palms read and roamed around the island. Without a little push, it’s not how I would have spent my Friday night but I’m glad I tried something new.

I would bet I could find events or attractions that I haven’t experienced even closer than home, right here in Marietta, and so could you, even if you grew up here.

After all, it’s less about new sites opening or new festivals launching than opening our minds to trying something different.

Marietta is a small city, but we have so many options here, on and off the beaten path. If you’re a history buff, you may have been to the local museums for each exhibit but have you been to some of the historic cemeteries (sometimes only a single grave) that The Marietta Times featured in its longtime “Grave Matters” series?

We have three great theater programs in Marietta–Mid-Ohio Valley Players, Marietta College and Peoples Bank Theatre, which has concerts, stage productions and shows movies. Have you tried all three?

What about a Cash Mob, organized regularly downtown by Marietta Main Street? It may bring you into a new store you never knew was there. Or you could take part in some things that residents may not do as often as visitors, like a trolley tour.

There’s something to be discovered for those who love art, music, food… and if you’re going to an event you’ve been to a dozen times before, invite someone new. They may get you to try a different aspect of a tried-and-true valley staple.

A goal of mine is to visit the Makerspace on Marietta’s west side. They have space for you to work on your own projects and have classes ranging from intro to stained glass, to jewelry making and sewing to 3D printing.

So, even if you’ve lived here a long time — or maybe especially if you’ve lived here a long time — open your eyes to what might still be here to discover. Say yes when someone asks you to try something outside of your normal interests. Exploring the interests of others and heading to places you’ve never visited can take you to new places without ever leaving your own community.

Kate York is the news editor of The Marietta Times. She can be contacted at

kyork@mariettatimes.com

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