It’s been an interesting week out here on the road. The weather has been clear and sunny, and very cool for Georgia. I started the week in Athens, made my way through Atlanta for Thanksgiving and then headed towards the southwest of the state. Columbus was a wonderful surprise, and I found some great places to take photos along the back roads as well. The holiday threw a loop into my work schedule, but it was nice to take a bit of a breather for a change as well. I’ve booked a flight home for Christmas from Orlando, so I’m on more of a schedule than I normally am, but I’m making good progress to and through Georgia and enjoying every mile of it.
After I left you last week, I went for a burger at Georgia’s iconic Varsity and then headed out in downtown Athens for a few drinks. Athens definitely has some cool bars to explore, and it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to go out there. I really liked the dark, cool vibe of the Manhattan Cafe where I could sip on a bourbon and sit on the couch and just relax for a minute. They had a great selection of drinks with some special winter favorites like hot buttered rum, and a very chill atmosphere. I also liked the funky, arty, unorthodox Sister Louisa’s Church, which reminded me of some of my favorite weird bars at home and in New Orleans…
I've been very lucky to have spent the last week and a half in Athens County as I start my journey around Ohio. I had the opportunity to visit my friend, Will, and do some work for the local Visitor's Bureau while enjoying many of the events put on by Ohio Brew Week. I'm not used to spending this much time in one location, but I'm sure glad I did. While the city of Athens is a modern college town, the surrounding area has deep roots in an industrial past. First salt, then coal, brick and lumber have all played their role in the history of Athens County. While it's definitely time for me to be moving on with my exploration of Ohio, I didn't want to leave without taking you on a photographic journey through the county and the things I found out here. Enjoy!
While I have been based out of Athens, Ohio for the last week and a half and have slept in the same campsite the whole time, I have been out and about exploring Athens County which has been really awesome. While it is time for me to get moving again as I want to see the rest of Ohio and Michigan before summer turns to fall, it has been nice to spend some time here and get caught up a little bit before pressing on. While I am leap-frogging over Kentucky to get here, I hope to return there in the fall when the leaves are changing and I can have a really good look around.
Coming into Athens County, with its rolling hills and coal mining history, it is definitely good to be back in Appalachia. I've spent a lot of time in Appalachia over the last few months, so this makes for a nice transition into the Midwest. Having seen dramatic differences between the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee and the Mississippi River floodplains in West Tennessee and between coastal South Carolina and the Upcountry, I am prepared for the differences I expect to see between this Ohio and the Ohio on Lake Erie. And I'm looking forward to it.
I first met Will Drury at the corner of a bar in the middle of a parking lot on the edge of an island in the middle of the Caribbean. The bar was Duffy's, an institution in Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Will had arrived that day to take over management of Duffy's and I was a regular there. Duffy's was right down the hill from my apartment and I didn't even have to cross the street to get there. I liked Duffy's because the clientele was a good balance of locals and tourists. While most people who lived on the island tried their hardest to avoid the tourists during their down-time, I loved interacting with them. It was great to welcome them to our little island and help them with their plans, and I never tired of their enthusiasm…
The southeastern corner of Athens County, Ohio sits right across the Ohio River from West Virginia, making it a perfect transition as I begin my month-long exploration of the Buckeye State. While the city of Athens is home to Ohio University and exhibits all of the best qualities of a quintessential college town, you don’t have to drive far before it becomes clear you are definitely still in Appalachia. As I drove the back roads and explored the history and culture of the area, I found it both new and familiar at the same time. The history of Athens County is fascinating, and in this post I’d like to tell you all about it through six stops I made as I visited the region.