Just 13 miles down the Hocking River from Uptown Athens, the small town of Nelsonville is rich in history and beauty. Nelsonville is the Star of the Hocking Hills Region and is a truly unique community, with a historic downtown and a vibrant local arts and music scene.
Nelsonville is home to Hocking College, a technical college known for its natural resources and culinary programs and the Nelsonville Music Festival, named “one of the best kept secrets of the U.S. festival circuit” by Billboard Magazine.
Here are four unique things that you have to see and do when in Nelsonville:
Historic Public Square. One of Nelsonville’s most interesting and unique features is the Public Square, which surrounds a beautiful fountain, built in 1904. The Public Square has a collection of thriving shops, galleries and restaurants. Order a specialty espresso drink and a delicious treat at the FullBrooks Café, and then head over to the Nelsonville Emporium to gaze upon pottery and artwork from local artists.
Stuart’s Opera House. One of Ohio’s last remaining and fully-operational opera houses is in Nelsonville. Stuart’s Opera House was built in 1879 and has welcomed stars including Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, The Avett Brothers, Ralph Stanley and Gilliam Welch. There are more than 75 live music events annually at Stuart’s Opera House. Don’t miss the Ohio State Fiddling Contest on Friday, Aug. 21, which is part of the annual Parade of the Hills Festival.
Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Like much of Southeastern Ohio, Nelsonville is located in the gorgeous foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. What better way to catch the views than by an excursion aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway? The train goes through the Hocking Hills from Nelsonville to Logan and makes a special stop at the Hocking College Robbins Crossing, a restored pioneer village. The cars run on the same tracks that were used in the late 1800s and early 1900s to transport coal from central Ohio to Lake Erie. Don’t miss the Fall Foliage trips this fall, or the Santa trains during the holidays!
Rocky Outdoor Gear Store. A trip to Nelsonville wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Rocky Outdoor Gear Store, a world leader in outdoor footwear. The former boot factory, founded in 1932, now has three floors of footwear, apparel and accessories. Fuel up with a famous Bison Burger at the Boot Grill!
Your visit to Nelsonville doesn’t have to end in one day. There are several quaint places to stay while in Nelsonville, such as the Primrose Bed & Breakfast, The Little B Inn, The Hyde House, camping in Wayne National Forest and cabins throughout the valley.
Be sure to engross yourself in Nelsonville’s history when you visit the charming town soon – you won’t be disappointed!