From the some 200 miles of shoreline along Lake Erie to the over 400 mile stretch of the Ohio River, Ohio is a patchwork of small towns, villages, and communities that make up the bulk of the state. We all know about the major metropolitan communities like Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. But fewer people know about New Concord, Coshocton, Defiance, Bucyrus or Lake Side to name just a few.
Ohio is blessed with an interstate system that can take us from one corner of the state to the other in a matter of hours, but these large concrete paths don't allow anyone to sample the adventures lying just over the next rise unless they get off the great interstate and sample the backroads of Ohio.
It is on these backroads that we can find some places where time seems to have stopped and a way of life stood still. To find villages as quaint as any New England village you can imagine. Rural Ohio makes up a large percentage of the state, yet within each of these rolling farm fields and forests are communities that have remained strong and vibrant as the centers for many Ohioans. It is here on these backroads where we can truly find the heart of Ohio.
The National Road begins in Maryland, but crosses into Ohio at Wheeling. It was begun in 1811 with the idea of connecting old Indian routes along with existing roads and stagecoach lines to make it easier for settlers to migrate from the east to west.
Today the road is mostly gone but there are segments here and there and make for an interesting backroad adventure trying to find the old "S" bridges, the "Y" bridge, narrow brick roads, and of course the famoussandstone mile markers.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) created a program designating Ohio's Scenic Byways. By definition these are specific corridors along specific areas within the state that provide outstanding scenic, natural, historic, archaeological, cultural or have special recreational qualities.