The Simpler Life
by Ken McEntee
Randy L. McKee photo
Before railroads revolutionized American transportation during the Civil War era, canals like the Ohio and Erie were vitally important in moving goods from isolated regions to large markets. Connecting the Ohio River with Lake Erie, the Ohio and Erie Canal brought life to towns like Roscoe, which was a sleepy community until the canal created prosperity during the 1830s until the 1860s.
At Historic Roscoe Village, in Coshocton, today’s visitors can take a step back in time to experience what life was like during a simpler time that seemed so futuristic almost two centuries ago. One of Ohio’s popular tourist destinations, Roscoe has been restored to its charming mid-1800s appearance, and offers intriguing living history tours and exhibits along with beautiful gardens, fine restaurants and, of course, canal rides on a replica canal boat, Monticello III.
Roscoe may be the most popular draw for Coshocton County tourists, but it is far from the only reason to visit the region, said Mindy Brems, director of the Coshocton Visitor’s Bureau.
“There are plenty of springtime activities to explore in Coshocton County,” Brems said. “We have some family fun, romantic getaways, festivals and events, wineries and some of the best hunting and fishing in the state.”
Historic Roscoe Village activities hit full stride during the Memorial Day weekend, but there are some fun opportunities before that time, emphasizes Marketing Manager Lynda Daniel.
Daily guided Living History Tours of the restored village buildings will be offered seven days a week in April and May, and daily self-guided tours will re-start during Memorial Day weekend. The tours offer a glimpse of everyday life along the canal in early Roscoe, along with interesting exhibits and an educational movie in the visitor’s center.
Memorial Day weekend also marks the opening of the Monticello III canal boat, the horse-drawn boat — a replica of the vessels that once navigated the canal — offers a serene 45-minute ride into Ohio history.
In June, Roscoe will host the annual Corvette Car Show and Coshocton Dulcimer Days Festival — the longest running heritage music festival in Ohio and the second oldest event of its kind in the United States.
The natural beauty of the area, Brems said, is enough to draw visitors in for a relaxing weekend, or longer.
“Springtime is beautiful here,” she said. “Everything is turning green, from the farms to the rolling hills. The dogwood will be in bloom, which is beautiful along the banks of the rivers.”
The Historic Roscoe Village Foundation is located at 600 North Whitewoman Street, in Coshocton. The phone number is 800-877-1830 or call the Coshocton Visitors Bureau at 800-338-4724. Find Historic Roscoe Village on Facebook or visit RoscoeVillage.com and VisitCoshocton.com for hours, updates on tours, festivals and special events, and a list of shops and restaurants.