Plan now for a future trip to Belmont County
Some of my favorite things to do and places to go in Belmont County may off limits right now, but sharing past photos and experiences and looking forward to visiting some of my favorite attractions and events helps me keep my spirits up. What are some Belmont County attractions or events that you are looking forward to visiting in the future?
Dickinson Cattle Ranch - 35000 Muskrat Rd., Barnesville.
I have been to Dickinson Cattle Ranch many times since they opened. Once of my favorite memories is taking a tour with my family when my daughters were young. When the touring season opens at this truly unique Belmont County experience, I’ll be in line to get on the big blue bus, take a bumpy ride out into the field and happily let a giant Texas Longhorn cow eat “cow candy” out of my hand! The 75-minute interpretive tour also includes up close viewing of BueLingo and African Watusi cattle. After the tour, I will peruse the unusual items in the Longhorn Heads to Tail store. (You can shop their website now at head2tail.com).
Barnesville Pumpkin Festival- Sept. 24-27 in Barnesville.
Having grown up in Circleville, Ohio (home of the Circleville Pumpkin Show) but living near Barnesville for over 20 years now, I can honestly say that I prefer Barnesville’s festival. My favorite part is the Wednesday-night weigh-off. Although it takes places prior to the official kick-off of the festival, the excitement of watching the giant pumpkins being weighed never disappoints, even if the “King” isn’t home grown.
Multiple times over the years, I have marched in the parade, participated in the 5K race, entered a dog in the pet contest, grown produce for the agricultural and horticultural contest, decorated a pumpkin, volunteered in a food booth, and even judged the hog calling contest. This annual event draws over 100,000 people to the village of Barnesville for food, contests, car show, parade, entertainment, and much more. Visit barnesvillepumpkinfestival.com for more information.
Great Western Schoolhouse - 45101 National Rd., St. Clairsville.
This preserved one-room schoolhouse is truly a working museum. The first time I was invited to the schoolhouse was to take a picture of Barnesville Elementary School students who annually attend a day at the school, complete with period-style clothing. I have had two other occasions since then to experience the history of the schoolhouse (sitting at a desk and eating lunch from a basket) and its fantastic “schoolmarm” Ann Rattine. Yearly, dozens of elementary-age school groups experience a day of what school was like for those who attended this school.
Located just west of St. Clairsville on the campus of Ohio University Eastern, the school was built in 1870 by the Clark Construction Company and will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this October. The bricks used to build the school were hand-kilned from clay taken from the farm pond located at the bottom of the hill from school. It is the only one-room schoolhouse in Belmont County that remains and is not being used as a residence.
Visitors will find wooden desks, recitation benches, a slate board, a schoolmaster’s desk, a pot belly stove and McGuffey Readers in the building. The iron bell, cast by the J.B. Foote Company in Fredericktown, Ohio is still rung when visiting groups arrive. Two ‘outhouses’ can be found behind the school.
Barkcamp State Park - 65330 Barkcamp Rd., Belmont.
The outdoor recreational facilities at this 1,232-acre park, including a bridle trail, hiking trails, mature woodlands, open meadows, scenic lake and abundant wildlife, are open to the public at this time. I am looking forward to swimming in the lake, visiting the camp store, waving to people in the campgrounds, and sitting around a fire pit with my family.
Raven Rocks Raven Rocks - 54167 Crum Rd., Beallsville.
Originally known as the First Ravine of the Raven Rocks by early pioneers, it was named after the many ravens that nested in the overhanging ledges of the unusual and astonishing rock formation.
I first visited Raven Rocks while I was editor of the Barnesville Enterprise newspaper. I have been back several times since, and this area continues to be one of Belmont County’s “hidden gems”. It is located at the border of Belmont and Monroe counties and is well worth the drive. For more information about the Raven Rocks community visit www.raven-rocks.org.
Stratton Flour Mill – 110 Mill Rd., Flushing.
Construction began on the Stratton Flour Mill in 1877. It served the Ohio Valley for over 85 years, producing bread and pastry flours and one of the first self-rising pancake flours, for which the mill became famous. You can purchase the pancake mix (the recipe for which was discovered in the mill in 1996) by visiting www.strattonhouse.com. Today, the mill is being restored to its appearance in 1902.
During the 2019 Belmont County Rubberneck Tour, I had the opportunity to see the mill and the restoration efforts of Stratton family descendants. It was one of the most popular stops on the tour.
I look forward to attending a future pancake breakfast that the Stratton Mill Foundation hosts periodically to raise funds for the restoration of the mill.
You can find out more about these places, events and much more here on this website.
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