Three-County Tour Explores Arts, Food, History Of Southeast Ohio

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Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area is continuing its mission of highlighting the assets of the region through an upcoming "Finely Crafted in Ohio’s Hill Country Fall Tour" on Sept. 21 and 22. 

This two-day tour offers a highly-curated authentic heritage experience that will weave through three southeastern Ohio counties.

Regional craftsmanship and industry has its roots embedded in the landscape that has transformed and been transformed by the minerals and natural resources of this area. The region has been shaped by the people who migrated here to share in its abundance, create products, structures and art forms. 

This tour will give the traveler a true sense of how the earth has shaped communities over time and is reflected in the arts, foods and architecture of today. 

Established in 2000, Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area is a volunteer organization that connects the heritage, cultural and natural assets of 31 counties of the unglaciated region of Ohio. The organization’s "Roamin’ the Hills" strategy works to bring attention to the protection, preservation, understanding and development of cultural, heritage and natural assets for residents and visitors.

"We value the local flavors of the region that have evolved over the years that embody the hard work and tenacity of some of our earliest residents and today’s entrepreneurs who are shaping a future for the region around its many assets, including the arts and locally produced foods and spirits," said John Winnenberg, tour organizer and OHCHA board member. "This is the first in a series of regional tours being developed through collaborative efforts of entrepreneurs working to promote guided tourism in Southeastern Ohio by getting visitors to off-the-beaten path destinations. We have a unique and varied story to share for those desiring authentic experiences." 

Travel trends across the U.S. are leaning toward authentic place-based experiences that allow visitors to engage with local people and landscape. Local food movements are raising the bar of travel-dining, adding another layer of local connection. 

The Southeast region of Ohio holds a wealth of these jewels that includes Ohio’s only National Forest, along with state forests and parks, scenic byways, local food purveyors and many small towns and villages with unique caches of local spice. This tour will provide hands-on opportunities, allowing visitors to gain a sensory understanding of their surroundings. 

OHCHA’s Finely Crafted Fall Tour begins and ends at the historic Fairfield County Fairgrounds in Lancaster and will journey through Fairfield, Athens and Perry Counties, with an overnight stay in Morgan County at the newly renovated Burr Oak State Park Lodge. 

Diverse experiences range from a visit to a microbrewery and a restored mill, witnessing the production of clay roof tile in a beautiful 100 year-old facility, to making art with local artisans on the Square in Nelsonville. Artisans, historians, purveyors of local foods and engaging activities await the visitor at each stop.

For tour specifics and to register, visit www.ohiohillcountry.org, email ohiohillcountryheritagearea@gmail.com or contact Michelle Robinson, tour coordinator, at 614-348-7909 or mrobinson1200@att.net.