Celebrate National Motorcycle Day in Belmont County
National Motorcycle Day is July 9. What better way to celebrate than a trip to Belmont County, Ohio where our winding country roads offer an exhilarating ride and gorgeous country views? Belmont County has three Scenic Byways and State Route 26 which is known for great motorcycle riding. These routes intersect with each other, offering many choices in the length and sites of your ride. Make it a weekend trip and enjoy a stay in one of our many great lodging facilities. Grab a bite to eat at one of our fantastic restaurants and don’t forget a souvenir from one of our locally-owned shops. Watch this video to experience the fun of a motorcycle ride in Belmont County!
State Route 26 that runs through Belmont County was ranked No. 4 of the Top 100 Best Motorcycle Routes in Ohio by Motorcycleroads.com and is consistently named as a favorite ride for motorcycle enthusiasts. It begins at the Monroe County border and takes riders near Bethesda and Belmont and into historic Morristown.
Belmont County is also the only county in Ohio that has three scenic byways – Drover’s Trail along SR 147 and 800, The Ohio River along Route 7, and the historic National Road (Route 40).
By traveling the 39-mile Drover’s Trail through the county, you will see recreational, cultural, archaeological, and natural sites along the way and travel over much of the old route the drovers did when livestock was droved from the frontier to Baltimore, Maryland a century and a half ago.
The byway begins in Bellaire at the corner of 23rd and Belmont streets. In Bellaire you can visit the National Imperial Glass Museum (3200 Belmont St.) and the 150-year-old Great Stone Viaduct. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Imperial Glass Corp., paying tribute to its employees, educating the public, and providing research opportunities. The Great Stone Viaduct, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed in 1871 and stands as a symbol of the heyday of railroads in the valley. This viaduct made it possible for trains to to cross the Ohio River. Going south on Belmont St., you can drive under this historic structure which is being preserved by the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society.
The Drover’s Trail Scenic Byway continues into Belmont where you can visit the largest portion of old growth forest in the state at Dysart Woods. Located off SR 147 (61961 Dysart Woods Rd., Belmont), Dysart Woods is 455 acres in total and includes a central tract of 50 acres of old-growth white oak-beech-tulip tree forest surrounded by a mixture of second-growth forest, old-fields, and pastures. The oldest trees exceed four feet in diameter and have been dated to well over 400 years old. Two trails are available for walking.
In Bethesda you will pass the Bethesda Clock Tower and Memorial Plaza, 112 S. Main St., and historic Epworth Park. Established in 1870, the park contains 61 quaint Victorian summer cottages nestled among a grove of majestic oak trees. This weekend the park will celebrate its 150th Anniversary and hold the 31st Annual Epworth Park Chautauqua Days & Bethesda Festival July 10 and 11. Events will include a parade, youth fishing tournament, car and motorcycle show, live musical entertainment, concessions, crafters, and antique vendors.
Following the Drovers’ Trail Scenic Byway into Barnesville, you pass the historic Plummer House that was once a drover’s station. By turning off 147 onto Sandy Ridge Road, you can find the Stillwater Meetinghouse built in 1878 and the campus of Olney Friends Boarding School founded in 1837. The college preparatory high school with students from around the world, also has a working organic farm.
At the corner of East Church and Mulberry streets you will find the historic B & O Depot built in 1916. Nearby is the Watt Center for History and the Arts, a former office building of the Watt Car & Wheel Company that now serves as a museum of Barnesville’s agricultural, retail and industrial history. Throughout downtown Barnesville you will also see black and white painted murals depicting the village’s history.
The historic Bradfield building is located on the corner of Main and Church streets, and you will see the First Presbyterian Church on Chestnut Street. The church was built in 1902 in the “Chinese Gothic” style using native red sandstone bricks. It also contains magnificent stained glass windows imported from Belgium. Located across the street from the church is the Barnesville Antique Mall, offering three stories of antiques and collectibles.
Built by the Bradfield family in the late 1800’s, the magnificent, 26-room Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum is also located on Chestnut Street. Visit https://belmontcountymuseum.com for more info and to schedule a visit.
Located on SR 800 just outside of Barnesville is Dickinson Cattle Company. The working ranch is open to tours in the summer and fall where you can get up close views of Texas Longhorn, BueLingo, and Watusi cattle and purchase meat and other products in the Longhorn Head to Tail Store. The north end of the Drovers’ Trail Scenic Byway ends on the historic National Road at Hendrysburg. This small village was the birthplace of actor William Boyd who played cowboy hero “Hopalong Cassidy” in the serial movies which he had syndicated for television.
Historic National Road has been designated an All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration, which administers the National Scenic Byways Program. The National Road holds a special place in Belmont County Ohio’s history as well as the nation. The groundbreaking for the National Road in Ohio took place in St. Clairsville on July 4, 1825. The National Road was the first federally planned and funded interstate highway and 220 miles of it runs through Ohio. Historic sites along the National Road in Belmont County include the 1828 Blaine S Bridge, the St. Clairsville Historic District, The Belmont County Heritage Museum, Schaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge, the Great Western Schoolhouse, and the Morristown Historic District.
This weekend in St. Clairsville enjoy the Chamber of Commerce’s Second Saturday event from 11am-3pm with live music, food truck, sidewalk sales, crafters and more. The Heritage Museum, 101 E. Main St., will host its Second Saturday Speaker Series at 1 pm featuring Laura Bates who will talk about Hendrysburg native William Boyd. Boyd gained world-wide fame as cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy.
Also in St. Clairsville that weekend on Saturday, July 10 from 11am-6pm will be Woofstock (102 Fair St.). This family-friendly event will include a vendor fair and live music! Visit with animals up for adoption at local shelters/rescues and grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks. Leashed pets welcome (must be up to date on vaccinations – proof may be required). Proceeds benefit abused and neglected animals in Belmont County, Ohio.
The Ohio River Scenic Byway follows Route 7 through Belmont County. On this byway you can visit the Sedgwick House Museum and the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Martins Ferry and the National Imperial Glass Museum and Great Stone Viaduct in Bellaire.
The Sedgwick House Museum (627 Hanover St.) was established in 1970 by the Martins Ferry Area Historical Society to house historical artifacts pertaining to Martins Ferry which dates back to 1787 when Captain Absalom Martin received land for his service in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the surveyors of the Seven Ranges of the Northwest Territory and began operating a ferry in 1789, thus the name Martins Ferry. His son, Ebenezer platted and laid out the town in 1835.
Historic Walnut Grove Cemetery (N. Fourth St.) is the resting place of the Martin and Zane families. The cemetery, dating from1795, is Martins Ferry’s oldest pioneer landmark. It contains the graves of Revolutionary War veterans, as well as one from the Mexican War. The stature of Betty Zane at the entrance of the cemetery honors the heroine of Fort Henry who volunteered to run through a battle to retrieve gun powder.
Whatever route you choose in Belmont County, you’ll find breath-taking scenery and plenty to do for a day or weekend trip. For more trip ideas, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.