Get off of Court Street and explore Historic Nelsonville

Hayley Dashiell | Court Street Stories

Oho University students can get stuck in the bubble of campus life, house parties and the bar scene. It is easy to forget about the wealth of interesting activities in the surrounding areas. Nelsonville, OH is only a 20 minute drive from uptown Athens and offers a different view of southeastern Ohio. Take a look at four of the cutest, quaintest and most historic things to do in Nelsonville and Hocking Hills.

  1. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway – Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers regularly scheduled train rides through the Hocking River valley, in between Nelsonville and Logan OH. While the HVSR began as an attraction in 1972, they have diesels dating back to the 1950s and coaches dating back to 1917! The railway even offers specially themed Christmas and Easter rides. Imagine riding through the snow-covered valley on a Santa themed train. What is more picturesque than that? The answer is nothing.

    Families enjoy a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
  2. Stuart’s Opera House – Located in Nelsonville’s historic Public Square, Stuart’s Opera House was built in 1879, and is still in use. According to their website the opera house “…is dedicated to its role as a regional leader in the arts community, a center for public expression, and an economic development partner for Southeastern Ohio.” They have concerts and shows on the daily, so buy some tickets, enjoy some music and take some pictures for Instagram because people love super old opera houses.
  3. Rocky Outdoor Gear – Rocky Outdoor Gear is a major outdoor footwear manufacturer and distributor. That might not sound very historic, but the company and retail store are based in the original factory building that was built in in 1932! Super old and historic! Stop by and buy a pair of locally sourced and manufactured hiking boots from one of the oldest shoe companies in Ohio. Learn more about their history here.
  4. Nelsonville Historic Public Square – The Square was once the main hub of activity in Nelsonville. Now it has been re-envisioned as Nelsonville’s artsy shopping district. Check out the Nelsonville Emporium to buy paintings, pottery and other products made by local artisans. Supporting local artisans is really hip these days, so get on it! Plus the Square is only a short walk from Rocky Outdoor Gear, Stuart’s Opera House, and the Railway stop.
    Nelsonville Historic Public Square