National Association for Interpretation – Certified Interpreters Guide Training

National Association for Interpretation – Certified Interpretive Guide Training to take place in March 18, 19 and 20, 2016

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Tuition available!

Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area will host it’s second National Association for Interpretation certification course taught by Ken Bowald. Participants will earn certification as an interpretive guide.

Engaging story telling is one way share our interesting history and heritage. This group will learn how to develop guided tour opportunities that embody the art of interpretation and will offer visitors a unique and memorable experience to some of Ohio’s Appalachian Winding Road treasurers.

Contact Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area at or 740-394-2852 for more information and to sign-up.  Click Here to go to NAI Site for more information.

Hey, Neighbor!

“People coming together as a community can make things happen.”

– Jacob Rees Mogg

These words couldn’t be more true….. And our recent trip to Southwest Virginia to learn about their community development showed us the truth of Jacob Rees Mogg’s words.


Cleveland, VA council members share the past and future of their town with OHCHA members 


Ohio’s Rising Appalachia packed up and hit the road to visit 7 prominent communities in Southwest Virginia whose revitalization efforts proved that a community’s vision and efforts do make a difference and do pay off.


Viriginia Tourism Director, Todd Christensen, provides tour of Heartwood Artisan Gateway in Abingdon, VA

Cleveland, VA – a town who once thrived as a coal, livestock, and lumber community – now with a population of 190  was where we began our journey. The passion and determination this town has to revitalize their town and create more resources and opportunities was inspiring to anyone who hears their voice. This is one community whose hospitality was enough to make me want to stay. The Cleveland locals have taken action into their own hands- installing their own walking trails and cleaning debris from the river that passes through the old coal town. The drive for a better and more sustainable community was obvious. But the open arms they welcomed us with was the most significant part of the town. The election of a new mayor and new council has provided a whole new perspective for growth within the community instead of consistent road blocks the town has run into previously.

Other communities such as St. Paul, whose greatest regional asset is the Clinch River – one of the most bio-diverse rivers in North America, has drawn in recreational tourism opportunities because of  the work of revitalization programs and directors who have pinpointed the region’s opportunities for a sustainable economy. A new vision of the community has inspired other entrepreneurs to create new business opportunities thus creating more jobs and tourism outlets. This community focused on watershed levels with local partnerships and collaborative efforts that connects downtown revitalization, outdoor recreation, water quality, entrepreneurship, and environmental education.


Main Street programs in towns such as Marion and Gaylax have granted entrepreneurial opportunities to locals by assisting them with business plans – which is what many new entrepreneurs fear the most. Free business workshops are provided to anyone who is interested in starting their own business. Grant funding helps with some of the initial start up costs and the community’s support is what plants the seed for the success of these businesses.


Beautiful Damascus, VA – an eclectic and friendly town along the Appalachia Trail, was a great learning experience for our group. Current projects are helping to boost sustainable tourism by identifying the town as an outdoor recreation mecca due to immediate access to the Appalachian Trail, Virginia Creeper Bike Path, some of the best fishing sites, camping, and more.  Prominent local spark plugs are leveraging property acquisitions to help develop an outdoor community amphitheater and expand lodging which in time will link main street corridor to river access just two blocks away.

Although we visited several vibrant places, there were a few commonalities that these communities shared – a common goal of creating a better place for the people who live there and having strong relationship on the local, state, and federal level for collaborative efforts. Each community also had a spark-plug…. a person or two who were engaged in making a change at the local level for the communities in which they live.

This trip was a wonderful way for The Winding Road to further expand on our branding effort to help develop and promote regional tours, events, sites, and products utilizing existing and newly identified assets. We were also able to gain a new perspective in order to provide opportunities for enhanced learning around entrepreneurial needs.

Many thanks to the wonderful people who opened their arms to our group and showed us the power of passion and love for your community. We all took something away from our trip and are eager to stir things up in Ohio’s Rising Appalachia!



Join ACEnet on Monday, November 23rd @11am at the Tecumseh Commons in Shawnee. This interactive learning discussion will introduce  participants to Social Media platforms and identify issues for new users.

Key components of this class will address:

-Why Social Media is important for your business
– Friend page vs. Business Page

– Important information to have on your page (hours, price, location, description)

– Preview of accounts with good info vs. not enough info

– How to Set Up Account

-Step by Step process on how to create a page for your business (platform we interactively go through will be determined by participants attending workshop)

Materials will be provided for multiple platforms and will include step by step process of how to set up and navigate platforms, keywords and definitions.

Somerset Cemetery Tour Nov. 21st



A great opportunity for a wonderful historical tour of Somerset’s iconic cemeteries. Learn about the fascinating stories these cemeteries hold. Rich with heritage, take a step back in time to learn about the unique individuals who now rest within these grounds. You may even find your own ancestors who had such an impact on Perry County! Lunch is included at the wonderful and historical Clay Haus restaurant in the heart of Somerset followed by an Intrepretive tour of the restored 1828 Randolph Mitchell House. Next visit the New Reading, Otterbein, and Somerset Old Luther cemeteries.

Contact Perry SWCD @ (740)743-1325 to register!

Winding Road Artists Foot by Foot Gathering a Success!

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Imagine 100 artists from four Appalachian Ohio counties delivering their original works on 12” by 12” gesso boards early on an October Saturday morning.  The artists, from Athens to Zanesville, brought their works to a Zanesville location where they were hung on the walls and placed on pedestals. All works were unsigned.

At noon, the doors of Michael Seilers’ Studio opened to the public for the show and sale “Foot by Foot” along the Winding Road from A to Z (Athens to Zanesville).  By 6:00, when the show closed, 67 works were sold at $100 each. The artists all donated their pieces and named arts organizations that would receive $50 from the sale of each work.  The remaining $50 went to the Artist Colony of Zanesville to cover expenses and as their annual ArtCoz fundraiser.

Twenty-two visual and performing arts organizations from Morgan, Athens, Perry and Muskingum counties benefitted from the generosity of the artists.

The incentive for participation by the artists was not only philanthropic: there were prizes awarded. The judge of the show was Julie Abijanac from the Columbus College of Art and Design’s faculty.  When the winners were announced at 3:30, Sandy Booth of Nashport won first prize of $500, Howard Peller of Roseville won second prize of $250, Yan Sun of Muskingum University won third prize of $150, and Rob Cook of the John McIntire Library won honorable mention of $50. The selection of the winners was difficult for the judge who selected two paintings, a basket mounted on one of the gesso boards provided to each artist and a piece featuring wood shapes applied to the gesso board.

To attract a crowd, the promoters of the event secured the performances of a dozen acoustic artists from the Appalachian Ohio territory.  Local food and beverage from The Tree House, Mt. Airy Beef and Dairy and Weasel Boy Brewery also helped to keep the crowd.  Volunteers from the Artist Colony and Tami Swope’s friends made the first Foot by Foot event run smoothly.  The artists from Athens, Nelsonville, Crooksville, Roseville, Zanesville,  Somerset, Chauncey, New Marshfield, Duncan Falls, Morgan High School and more  locations submitted work. With artists from all over, it was difficult for the audience to identify who the artists of the unsigned works were, but Andrew Williams of The Tree House, himself an artist, correctly identified the most artists for a $50 prize.

The event was an opportunity for artists and collectors to meet like –minded people many feet from their place on The Winding Road and to begin the building an art place through sharing their love of art in the Appalachian hills of Ohio.


Winding Road Meeting at the Howard Chandler Christy Barracks a Success

Barracks Meeting Photo

Todd Christensen of The Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail gives inspirational and informative talk on similar communities and projects.

Project leadership group reconvenes and expands. Clarifies the “whys” and purpose of the project. Guiding principals established during the initial year are tweaked and expanded upon.   Quality standards are identified and folks recruited to work on catalog application/jury standards.

Elected Officials/Fundraising Learning Community meets and begins to strategize next steps for funding.

Letter of Intent/Application Form for submissions to 2016 Catalog….Letter of intent due in November, Final Application by December. Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area sends out requests for LOI’s by early October.

National Association of Interpreters Certified Interpretive Guide training offered in September. Contact Michelle Robinson at OHCHA to register.

Arts Learning Community will reconvene to organize arts/bicycle event.

Arts Learning Community and entire Winding Road community gathers in Zanesville on October 10th for Winding Road Foot by Foot celebration (afternoon)….possible morning tour of Zanesville by hosts??

Technology & Marketing Learning Community expands and continues meeting (most likely at Tecumseh Commons in Shawnee). Emphasis on Yelp, Social Media, WordPress web sites to begin. Yelp used to cross promote events, network events.

Business consultants look at logistics training package for entrepreneurs (pricing tours, using Pay Pal and Sqaure Reader, etc.)

November Winding Road Stakeholder gathering to be set and planned.

Jurying standards are set for products in catalog. A transparent rubric of qualities are established to guide the types of products in catalog. Volunteers are needed to work on this.

Each sector learning community needs a “dialogue spark” person identified. This person(s) assures that dialogue continues and meeting/discussion formats are announced and participation follows. OHCHA Americorps Alicia Palone will promote this activity.

Roamin’ The Hills visitation among group members are organized. One will be on October 10 in Zanesville. Mimi Morrison has agreed to host one in the Athens area as well.   These events are hopefully overnight. Project funds will be looked into to help offset lodging costs.

Plans will be made for a study trip to The Crooked Road in Virginia.

Project staff identifies clear month-to-month outcomes for the coming year, beginning with September 2015 through August 2016. Outcomes need to meet grant outcomes, but more importantly the stakeholder learning community needs to seize control of the important outcomes that will assure momentum and success.

Feature articles for 2016 catalogue should set the tone for the type of Winding Road region we envision and are working toward building where 25-40 year olds want to live and work here. Examples a story of an entrepreneurial local foods purveyor, or someone living in the hills but telecommuting to a professional job….etc. Submission solicitation will be made this fall.

2016 SourceBook and MarketPlace are taking strides along the Winding Road

Winding Road Road - Ohio's Rising Appalachia (no catalog text)


 The Winding Road

Ohio’s Rising Appalachia

The Winding Road is an emerging brand that represents a collaboration of social and business entrepreneurs who seek to develop a regional economy based on authentic assets surrounding the natural, cultural, historical, arts, local foods, well-being, education and geotourism business landscapes (sectors) in the Hocking and Muskingum Valleys of Ohio’s Hill Country in southeastern Ohio.

The brand aims to contribute to a quality of life that attracts and sustains creative young people as stewards of the economy and environment while respecting and building upon the region’s rich tradition of unique contributions to the greater culture.

In its initial stages, The Winding Road is represented by a SourceBook of guided experiences that share these assets with fellow citizens and geotourists, establishing commerce around this effort and stimulating entrepreneurial initiatives to build a critical mass of activity that sustains this collaboration and its desired outcomes.

The catalog takes the form of a periodic print publication, as well as a dynamic web site that offers a booking/purchasing feature for events, tours, experiences and products.   The catalog is a product of Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, a non-profit organization based in Shawnee, Ohio.

Emerging Key Concepts That Guide The Winding Road SourceBook

The Winding Road SourceBook is committed about promoting experiences and products that are…

educational and interpretive.

—presented by knowledgeable, trained guides and local experts.

—highlighting regional assets & a “Rising Appalachia”.

—integrated with stewardship of the environment, civic life, historic treasures

   and local economic systems

—inclusive of the arts, theater, music.

—engaged with locally sourced foods and products.

—supportive of “humanities consideration” of our provocative story and its

   impact on contemporary life.

—inclusive of youth, local schools and regional colleges.

—interwoven with local entrepreneurs & young professionals.

—generally small in scale, authentic and owned locally.


Answering Frequently Asked Questions Might Help Us Get Started

 What Type of Products Are You Looking To List in the SourceBook?

Our initial list of targeted “products” include:

  • Guided tours and experiences that fit under our areas of interest
  • Hikes, Runs, Bike Rides and other outdoor adventures
  • Ticketed events that fit under our areas of interest
  • Interpretive and Educational Programs and Workshops
  • High quality unique and authentic regional products (art, souvenirs, etc.)

What Else Will Be Included?

As we create a sense of place around The Winding Road, we are looking for short articles with high quality photographs and or art work to highlight places, peoples and stories of the region that relate to our key sectors of interest.

Who Is The Audience/Customers?

The Winding Road initiative is much more than just attracting business and making sales. It’s about carefully sharing and caring for our authentic and unique assets in southeastern Ohio and reinforcing a building a sense of place where history, arts, the environment, outdoor activity, local foods, youth, education, civic activity and entrepreneurship are valued. Thus our audience is consumers of the above products, but it’s also everyone who has an interest in this region—local residents, civic leaders, and yes, of course, geotourists.

What Do You Mean by Geotourists?

Geotourists are tourists who have a keen interest in the assets, challenges, customs and civic life of a “place”. They are committed to leaving the place as they found it, or better than they found it. They tend to be curious, socially concerned individuals who show a high degree of respect for local citizens. They aren’t looking to just be entertained, but seek authentic stories, people and experiences that help them understand, connect and contribute to the place they are visiting. Often they become part of the place or a particular effort by staying involved.

What Areas in Appalachian Ohio Are Considerer Part of The Winding Road?

We are focused on the Hocking and Muskingum River Valleys of southeastern Ohio.   Our initial effort started as Morgan, Athens and Perry Counties, but we are not limited to these counties. We welcome activities from A to Z (Athens to Zanesville) and beyond. Once successful, Ohio Hill Country will assist with the replication of this effort in other sub-regions.

What About Folks Who Can’t Afford to Purchase Our Experiences

We live and work in a part of the world that is not known for high household incomes. We don’t want to exclusively be catering to monied people, although we recognize a need to transfer wealth to our region by selling products that don’t compromise our landscapes, but enhance our local economy. Thus, we will work to include scholarships and discount pricing for customers upon request, and our on-line catalog will link local residents and visitors to free and low cost attractions that might not be included in the print catalog.

Will This be Only a Printed SourceBook?

First, (a) printed version(s) of the catalog will be created for 2016. But, it doesn’t stop there. It includes a web version, social media posting and shared advertising of the catalog/brand via other media such as public radio, the Columbus Dispatch, Hocking Hills Tourism Association, etc.

Submitting Listings for Inclusion in

The Winding Road SourceBook

Letter of Interest

Persons, businesses and organizations interested in having an event, tour, program or experience listed in the print version of 2016 Winding Road SourceBook should submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) no later than

November 15, 2015 to

The Winding Road

Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area

P.O. Box 114

Shawnee, Ohio 43782


Or via E-Mail to

Subject: Letter of Interest/Winding Road


Please include the following information for your letter:


  1. Proposed Title of Your Event, Tour, Program, Experience
  2. List which Winding Road sectors or experience types this listing includes (history-culture, art (performing or visual), local foods, outdoor recreation-environment, youth/education, tourism business).
  3. A one-paragraph description (elevator speech) describing what you are proposing including target audience.
  4. Proposed date(s) and also answer whether you are willing to be flexible on date(s) based on registration.
  5. Cost of participating in this event.
  6. Three key experiences the customer will gain from this event.
  7. Who will be guiding/interpreting/hosting the event, and what qualifications/experience do they offer to insure the customer has a high-quality experience.
  8. Do you need booking services?.
  9. Contact information for questions etc.

You will be contacted no later than December 1, 2015 to discuss possibilities of inclusion of your listing.

Proposed Timeline of Activity for 2016


  • Sept.-Nov. 2015:                    Letters of Interest recruited for   2016 SourceBook and website
  • October-December 2015:    National Association of Interpreters Training Offered
  • October-December 2015:                        Topics for features in 2016 SourceBook identified, writers recruited
  • October – December 2015:                        Arts & souvenir products identified, vendors recruited
  • December 2015:              Deadline for submitting Letters of Interest  
  • December 30, 2015          LOI’s reviewed, invitations for full proposals
  • November 15-On-Going       LOI’s and invited full proposals for digital SourceBook accepted.
  • Dec. 1-January 15, 2016       TWR staff work with stakeholders to develop full proposals
  • January 15, 2016                   Full proposals final deadline including all details such as photographs, web links etc., and inclusion agreements signed.
  • January 1-Feb. 1, 2016         Layout, design and printing of 2016 print SourceBook, and website
  • February 1-15, 2016              SourceBooks available for distribution
  • Feb-Dec 2016                         Advertising & Social Media Campaign promoting SourceBook and website

Hocking College to Hold Appalachian Outdoor Adventure Oct 9th-11th


Join Ohio’s Hill Country this weekend at the Appalachian Outdoor Adventure at Hocking College! Stop by and say ‘hello!’ and we’ll say ‘hi!’ back!


NELSONVILLE — Hocking College will host a two-day event called Appalachian Outdoor Adventure, set to take place Oct. 9-10, the college’s spokesman Mike Brown said.

The college once hosted the Paul Bunyan Festival, and the Appalachian Outdoor Adventure is intended to replace it Brown said to The Messenger.

“The college was looking for a similar event that would touch on natural resources and be an event people from Ohio and all over could come to,” he said. “We think this is it.”

The college also hosted Hocktoberfest, which started in 2013 and replaced the Paul Bunyan Festival.

When asked if the Appalachian Outdoor Adventure would replace Hocktoberfest, Jestinah McDonald, development coordinator for the Hocking College Foundation told The Messenger the Appalachian Outdoor Adventure will replace Hocktoberfest, meaning the two will not be separate events.

The event is set to take place the same weekend as Ohio University’s homecoming, but according to Brown, there will be plenty of entertainment offered at Hocking College’s festival over the two-day span, and is “not a conflict with OU.”

McDonald said Appalachian Outdoor Adventure would provide the area with additional choices of entertainment that weekend.

“We were hoping with the extra traffic, that it might entice more folks,” she said.68527a

The campus will also host alumni weekend, homecoming, and family weekend during the festival, she said.

“This is an attempt on a large scale to bring people back in to the outdoors,” he said. “There ’s many people in our area who participate in the outdoors, but Columbus and elsewhere, there’s a lot of people who don’t know anything about the outdoors.”

The event is set to feature the Stihl Timberworks Lumberjack Show; Shane Rickly, a professional bull rider, and the inaugural Appalachian triathlon/duathlon and half marathon, which is presented by OhioHealth.

Brown expects a crowd of 3,000-5,000 to turn out for the event, he said.



We’re on Meetup!

Do you like to do stuff? Do you like people? How about learning interesting things?

If you answered yes to any of these questions (or if you didn’t answer yes) then should join our Meetup group! We’re excited to announce that we have just launched our partner organization, The Winding Road, on Meetup.


By joining (which is free) you become a ‘Winding Roamer’ and get to stay up to date on tours and events in Ohio’s Rising Appalachia. We’ll see you on the trail Roamers!

Oktoberfest in Somerset: A German-American Experience with Plenty of Local History


BY DEB HUTMIRE Tribune editor Perry County Tribune

Local art, local food, local music and local history will all be featured at the annual Oktoberfest set Saturday, Oct. 6 from noon until 8 p.m. on Pigfoot Square in Somerset.

This event is once again being sponsored by the Historical society of Perry County and the Ohio Arts Council.

All local artists and farm market vendors are invited to set up a display and sell their artwork, crafts and farm goods at the hand-hewn log tavern built in 1808 by Somerset’s town founder, German emigrant, Jacob Miller.


On the adjacent four corners of Pigfoot Square, which Miller laid out and created as a public square in 1810.

Examples of local artistic talent will be on display by nearly 40 Perry County artists and vendors.

Authentic German-American food, bratwurst, roast pork and kraut and German potato salad will be served under a tent next to the tavern. Also, the sounds of local musicians will be set up.

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the areas pioneer past by talking with experts who will be demonstrating soap making, woodworking, and spinning.

Visitors will also have a chance to view artifacts discovered at the Babb House museum during this summer’s archaeology project and take a tour of the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, and learn about gravestone conservation efforts that are going on there.

The group announced the second annual 5K race will be held and will begin at 3:15 p.m. with the staring point at the Somerset Elementary School.

Those who would like to take part may contact Principal Ed Wolfel at 743-1454.


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