A Wintry Visit to Steubenville

It’s easy to get the January blahs when the grey skies and cold, damp weather dominates. But a short drive to Steubenville may help break the gloomy spell. Situated in the Ohio River Valley, Steubenville has remnants of its industrial past, the natural beauty of the Appalachian hills, and a historic downtown with quirky shops, stunning churches, and a reconstructed 18th century frontier fort right in the downtown. Start at the Steubenville Visitor Center where you can obtain maps, dining/lodging recommendations, and a list of the many events and festivals through the year.

  1. City of Murals: Twenty-three larger than life works of art adorn many buildings in the city, depicting moments of local and national history including the first professional African American baseball player, Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War telegraph office, the main character of Ohio’s rock song (“Hold on Sloopy”), city native and crooner Dean Martin, and scenes of old Steubenville. Pick up a map and scavenger hunt at the Visitor Center to make it a fun experience for the whole family.
  2. Beatty Park: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this nature preserve abounds with 19th century stonework, walking and hiking trails, creeks, wildflowers, and towering trees. Put February 25th on your calendar for the Leap Year Winter Hike! This guided walk will loop up to the cemetery and back to the old stone lodge where there will be a fire and snacks.
  3. Downtown Fourth Street: With many of its buildings and shops currently undergoing revitalization, this block is filled with unique businesses that encourage browsing and shopping. Stock up on holiday décor and gifts in Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Shoppe; browse the art and books in BookMarx Bookstore; sip a latte in the DaVinci themed atmosphere of Leonardo’s Coffeehouse; choose one of many flavors at the Steubenville Popcorn Company; enjoy a taste of Greece in Yorgo’s or fire-baked pizza at Martoni’s – each locally owned and operated.
  4. Antique Warehouse: Get out of the cold and wander through three floors of antiques, memorabilia, bargains, and mementoes of yesteryear. It’s easy to spend an hour or two admiring beautiful crystal and well-crafted furniture, remembering old toys, and discovering records or books, easily accessible with an elevator for those who aren’t able to navigate the grand staircase.
  5. Historic Fort Steuben: Billed as the Gateway to the West, this reconstructed military fort depicts life on the Ohio frontier in 1786-87. Although the Fort is closed until late April, the Exhibit Hall in the Visitor Center offers historic displays, including a huge collection of Native American spear heads and artifacts – some thousands of years old. Both adults and children can appreciate an exhibit on the Lewis & Clark expedition and an affiliated Junior Ranger Program. Bring your NPS Passport book to get stamped! Include the Museum Shop to pick up some postcards, old fashioned toys, history books, and souvenirs.

Many lodging options are available, but for a family or small group experience the Bayberry House Bed & Breakfasts offer an elegant and private retreat with modern conveniences right in the downtown.