Nelsonville – October 2015 – Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad

Another coolish October Saturday found us headed to the Hocking Hills. Our first stop was Ash Cave for an hour long hike up and down the cliffs and gorges. Having stretched our legs we headed to Nelsonville for the main event, a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad.

This restored railroad starts out in Nelsonville, a quirky run down town that attracts a number of tourists for the railroad, and a Rocky’s Boot Company store (think lots of camo). The area has it’s fair share of trailers and rusty cars in yards, and an acquaintance had said why would I want to go ride a train that goes past yards with junk and laundry hanging in yards. Set with those low expectations we boarded the train.

We sat in an open air car despite the temperature being in the 50s. Leaving northbound the train slowely made it’s way up the valley, past the aforementioned houses, but also through woods, past some industrial ruins, across the Hocking River and eventually past a wood mill with a huge pile of timber. The conductor gave some interesting facts along the way.

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The return trip went faster as we passed the station and continued south until we arrived at Robbins Crossing at Hocking College, containing a number of restored buildings. Most of the buildings had people providing demonstrations, including cooking, a loom, and a couple of young guys from the college with some local snakes. Also here was a nice small statue dedicated to the Star Brick Company.

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After a brief return trip to Nelsonville we debarked the train with a positive experience. Later we walked across to the middle of town where there was supposed to be a rib burn off, but it apparently was closing down so we scrambled to find some leftovers from the one booth still open.

Still hungry, and looking to hit one of the Roadside America sights, we made the 15 mile drive into Athens and stopped at O’Betty’s, a very small restaurant in a college town that specializes in hot dogs, and has a ‘hot dog’ collection on the walls. The collection was cool, the dog’s were hot, and good, and we headed home happy with our day.

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