Support Hill Country!


“Valuing our Story” With The Unveiling of Historic Marker Celebrating African American Heritage in Rendville.

Support Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area.  Join with us and add your voice to the growing community of dedicated people who value the region’s distinct history, culture, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and unique sense of place.

Annual (and lifetime) support categories include:

In addition to your annual support please consider becoming a 2017 Tour Sponsor.  Your donation will allow us to offer tour participation to members of the community that  might not otherwise be able to participate.  We reach out to the youth of our region to help educate and inspire them to become active with their cultural heritage

Donation categories include:

Your support gift entitles you to:

  • Subscription to Ohio Hill Country Voice – Our attractive newsletter
  • Reduced rates on selected events & tours
  • Discounts on OHCHA Merchandise at The Winding Road MarketPlace
  • Access to many experts on the Ohio Hill Country region
  • A part in preserving our heritage and building a sustainable community!

As a non-profit, we are dependent on your support to survive and grow. As a volunteer-run organization, we need your support to continue our work. Please join today!

Getting Younger! OHCHA Adds 3 New Board Members

Until recently nearly half of the OHCHA Governing Board has been with the organization since its formative years, bringing veteran wisdom to the table, but a yearning for new ideas from the Millennial generation.  Worry, no longer!  Three new talented board members have joined the effort since December, growing our governing body to 10 members, its largest size in over a decade.


Diana Marvel

They are Diana Marvel, who is the Assistant Director of the Center for Campus and Community Engagement at Ohio University. Marvel came to the region from Seattle as a graduate student and fell in love with the landscape and culture here and is a now an active citizen, involved in a variety of community activities in the Athens area.


Alicia Caton

She is joined by Alicia Caton of Shawnee, who actually lives in an apartment above OHCHA headquarters in the Historic District.  Alicia is a native of Lancaster, served as an Americorps member with OHCHA during the 2015-16 term, an avid backpacker and is employed as an Events Planner with The Inn at Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills.


Evan Shaw

Meigs County native and film documentarian Evan Shaw rounds out the list of newcomers.  Shaw has created four documentaries on southeastern Ohio communities for WOUB Public Media at Ohio University and is an avid historian.  His filmmaking talents have also landed him with a steady second job with NFL Films, taking him around the country to professional football venues each weekend throughout the season!  We welcome these newcomers ranging in age from their late 20’s to late 30’s to our organization.  We fell younger already!

Winding Road Local Foods Sector Meetup!

Authentic local foods and spirits are a growing element of our region’s authentic culture.  The Local Foods Sector is one of six sectors* being promoted via OHCHA’s sector development work with the The Winding Road: Ohio’s Rising Appalachia Initiative which promotes experiential tourism development around unique assets in the Hocking and Muskingum River Valleys of southeastern Ohio.  Stakeholders in the Local Foods Sector will gather at Ohio Hill Country Headquarters in Shawnee on Thursday afternoon, March 7th from 3-5pm for a Sector Meetup! to discuss how they might collaborate with one another to create tourism products, build a supportive community and market their goods and experiences.  The conversational style gathering will provide opportunities for foodie folks from Athens to Zanesville and winding-road-logo-ohios-rising-appalachia-no-catalog-textbeyond to get know one another and make plans for the future.  Farmers and other food producers, restaurant owners, food entrepreneurs, policy makers and food vendors are encouraged to attend.  Persons wishing to attend the
Meetup! are asked to RSVP by dropping a line to or call us at 740-394-2852.  There is no charge for the event.  Locally produced snacks and legal beverages will be served.

*Heritage, Local Foods, Outdoor Recreation/Environmental Learning, The Arts, Education & Youth, Tourism Related Businesses.

Pictured Above: Local Food Producers Pork & Pickles at the Athens Farmers Market, Summe 2016

Inspiring Practices Recognized at Statehouse Luncheon

Over 100 citizens and Appalachian Ohio legislators gathered in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium in December for the 6th Annual Appalachian Heritage Luncheon sponsored by Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area and Heritage Ohio.  After being addressed by OHCHA President Tom O’Grady on the importance of protecting and developing the region’s authentic assets, OHCHA board member and Heritage Ohio Director Joyce Barrett conducted the awards ceremony.  Legislators introduced eleven “Appalachian Success Stories” from their district which were then shared by award recipients from businesses, organizations, historic and natural sites and local governments from around the region.  This event is a highlight of OHCHA’s year, and is consistent with our mission to “value the regions historical, natural, and cultural assets.”

This year’s recipients were:
National Museum of Cambridge Glass (Guernsey County)
Edge of Appalachia (Adams County)
Nelson T Gant House (Muskingum County)
Trumpet in the Land (Tuscarawas County)
Yearly Quaker Meeting House (Jefferson County)
McArthur Spring Literary Festival (Vinton County)
Historic Roscoe Village (Coshocton County)
Buckeye Trail Association
(Perry County Headquarters/Trail Passes through Multiple Counties)
Fly Ferry (Monroe County)
Village Bakery (Athens County)
Sewah Studios (Washington County)

Winding Road Meet Up January 18th

Join The Winding Road Initiative for a chance to make the region’s environment, economy and communities just a lil’ bit stronger, healthier, happier and more attractive at a Winding Road Outdoor Recreation/Environmental Learning Meet Up!   The Meet-Up will take place on Thursday afternoon, January 18th in Shawnee. We will gather from 3-5PM at the Winding Road MarketPlace/Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area headquarters at 117 West Main Street, just across the street from the Tecumseh Theater.   Locally sourced and complimentary snacks and microbrew will be available. Arrive early for a Pre-Meet Up Winter Hike on the Buckeye Trail departing at 1:30PM that afternoon from the Buckeye Trail Association headquarters at 127 West Main. Shawnee is located in the Wayne National Forest at the intersections of State Routes 93 & 155 in southern Perry County.   

Nonprofits such as Rural Action, Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, Buckeye Trail Association and others are actively organizing efforts and sourcing funds to improve our ecotourism/geotourism infrastructure.  We need your participation to create synergy, collaboration, cooperation and ultimately success.  At the Meet-Up we will use a fast-paced conversational/survey format to:

  • Review existing assets/stakeholders identified for the outdoor/environmental sector and identify additional assets/stakeholders and missing/needed outdoor recreation products;
  • Review and plan shared marketing (catalog, web site, social media) activities of the Winding Road to date and make plans for the future;
  • Hear about a recently approved seed grant that will help us collaboratively look at/create a Co-Op for Interpretive Guides in the Winding Road region;
  • Review shared Winding Road training, technical assistance activities (NAI Guide Training, Stakeholder Gatherings, Sector meetings, study trips) to date, and make plans the future;
  • Identify targeted funding needs for ecotourism ventures of stakeholders, as well as for collaborative ventures in the form of grants, loans, earned income and investments;
  • Identify infrastructure needs to support growth (site development, tour transportation, lodging, marketing, way-finding signage, technology, etc.)
  • Identify and attract people/businesses to develop outdoor rec products and attracting the human resources needed to assist emerging ventures.
  • Identify opportunities for students to engage, learn and become our next generation of outdoor economy leaders.

So, come on over, take a hike, share a beer (or wine or coffee), conversation and ideas, and let’s figure out how we are going to incubate a collaborative, stewarded, and economically sustainable Outdoor Economy here in our own backyard.

Please drop us a line to RSVP at

Appalachia Ohio Heritage Statehouse Luncheon


The time has come for the 6th annual Appalachia Heritage Luncheon in the Statehouse Atrium. Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area and Heritage Ohio are presenting this luncheon to honor heritage, history and success in Appalachian Ohio. Every year we honor successful businesses and organizations that represent the values we hold dear and are trying to boost the areas we hold close to our hearts. Come join us for this wonderful event and celebrate Appalachian success. The event is at the Statehouse Atrium on Wednesday December 14th from 12-1, show up early for historic tours at 11 led by Architect Bob Loversidge and Historian Nancy Recchie. The luncheon is only $35 to register, come join us on this wonderful day.

Click HERE to register.

Honored this year:

National Museum of Cambridge Glass (Guernsey County)

Edge of Appalachia (Adams County)

Nelson T Gant House (Muskingum County)

Trumpet in the Land (Tuscarawas County)

Yearly Quaker Meeting House (Jefferson County)

McArthur Spring Literary Festival (Vinton County)

Historic Roscoe Village (Coshocton County)

Buckeye Trail Association (Perry County-Headquarters)

Fly Ferry (Monroe County)

Village Bakery (Athens County)

Sewah Studies (Washington County)

Jeremy Maple – Ohio Stream Restore Corps 2016/2017 AmeriCorps Member


Hey everyone I’m Jeremy Maple and I am the new AmeriCorps member serving with the Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area. I’m a small town kid who grew up going hiking and in the wilderness all my life. Ever since I was a little kid, the world around me has always been my passion from the animals and plants in the forest to the history of where we all come from. This new position I have will let me learn more than I ever had thought was possible and I decided that if I’m going to be on this amazing journey that I wanted to share those experiences with everyone else to show that no matter where you’re from or where you’re going, that the history of our small towns and wildernesses are worth knowing and worth experiences for yourself. So as I continue with my service I am going to be documenting my experiences in a blog once a week to truly show how I’m just the same as everyone else and how amazing these experiences can be.

To get things started I’ll tell you a little more about myself. I’m 21 years old from a small little village in Tuscarawas County called Midvale. I grew up playing sports and hanging out with my friends just like any other kid. I graduated from Indian Valley High School and Buckeye Career Center in 2013, then went straight to college like so many others. I attended Hocking College from 2013-2016 and Graduated with a dual major of Wildlife Resources Management and Natural and Historical Interpretation. I love being outside and am always with some friends. My journey is not unlike many others, straight out of college into a new position trying to find my way in the world while still trying to enjoy life. This new journey will be a once in a lifetime experience and I hope you will join me and see how amazing the natural areas and history of this state can be.

Help Ohio Open Its Doors to Building & Landmark Treasures

Ohio Open Doors is a statewide effort where building and landmark sponsors open their doors to the public for special tours and programs. Join the Ohio History Connection in honoring the history, design and stories of your local buildings and landmarks by opening them to the public during the period September 9-18.  The purpose of the effort is to:

  • Stimulate citizens’ interest in landmarks’ history and architecture in your community
  • Create a time for members of your community to connect with you and each other
  • Promote, educate and inspire pride in Ohio’s amazing heritage

To learn how you can participate in this process and gain state wide publicity for your event visit:

Crossing The River: African Americans in Southeastern Ohio Tour

August 8-9, 2016

Crossing The River Logo


Provocative stories of courage, creativity & accomplishment!

Guides who are intimate with the past & current story!

Excellent food, entertainment and accommodations!

Hidden in the steep hills and narrow valleys of southeastern Ohio are remarkable stories of men and women who bravely broke the color barrier after they and their families crossed the Ohio River into Ohio’s Hill Country throughout the 19th and 20th Century. The region’s relatively homogeneous population does not lead one to expect stories of state and national significance involving African Americans. However, to the contrary, abundant examples exist that still impact the region today.   Join a spirited group of guides, ranging from community organizers and descendants of early trailblazers, to scholars and contemporary leaders as this landmark experience will give consideration to events and sites dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Learn about Quakers and the Underground Railroad at Chesterhill, Ohio’s first public university and a black only academy at Albany in Athens County, the African American experience in Ohio’s second state capital at Zanesville, and an accidental social experiment during the coal boom era at Rendville where African Americans became pioneers in the nation’s labor union movement.   This guided bus tour includes lodging at the scenic Burr Oak State Park Lodge, a taste of regional foods and performance, and visits to African American churches, cemeteries and to the region’s pride and joy, Ohio University, where many early African American milestones were set.

The Details:

Location: Tour begins and ends at Burr Oak State Park Lodge, 10660 Burr Oak Lodge Road • Glouster, Ohio 45732.

Time: 9AM Monday, August 8 to 6PM, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cost: $195 per person (includes 4 meals: lunch-dinner August 8, breakfast-lunch August 9 and transportation).  Register by phone or e-mail by contacting us (see contact) or on-line at Event Brite. Fees apply to on-line registering.  Registration does not include lodging.

Lodging: $95/105 per room (single/double occupancy) @ Burr Oak Lodge.  To receive this rate, you must register directly through Ohio Hill Country or on-line at Event Brite.  Lodging option is at bottom of Even Brite registration page.

Contact: Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area; P O. Box 114; Shawnee, Ohio 43782; or call 740-707-1775 or 740-394-2852.

Note: This tour involves significant van/bus travel on winding roads and requires moderate amounts of walking with some uneven surfaces.

Click here for full details including a tentative itinerary!

2016 Winding Road Experiences Catalog

2016 Winding Road Catalog Cover.jpg

 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.

To receive a copy of the 2016 Winding Road Experiences SourceBook please send an
email request to