As the weather grows steadily warmer, the thoughts of going on weekend adventures and spending time outdoors begin to sneak into everyone’s minds. The thought of the warm sunshine on your face, the soft breeze flowing through the trees and laughter of good friends and close family becomes very tempting indeed.

ohio-169465_1280So many of us travel to various places far and wide searching for that warm weather fun — a place where we can enjoy the scenery, our family and friends or perhaps just a little time alone. Many people search for a more natural setting, a place where the geography, people, waterways and culture can come together to create an experience like nothing else. What many people don’t realize, perhaps, is that oftentimes everything they’re looking for can be found in one of the most vibrant and unique ecosystems found on the planet — that of Appalachian Ohio.

Appalachian Ohio — Diversity, Unique Geography and Culture So Close to Home

Appalachian Ohio is defined as a bio-region and cultural region consisting of 32 counties that border the length of the Ohio River. Locally, the counties of southeast Ohio form the Central Region and Eastern Region of this area, and Marietta and Athens Ohio is right smack in the middle of it.

So what is so special about this area? Well, besides the rolling hills, friendly people, lush forests and countless small communities that dot the landscape, the area of Appalachian Ohio is one of the unique areas, geologically and geographically speaking. In fact, if you wanted to find the same mixture of plants, hills and topography, you might have to travel all the way to central China! This area is one of the most diverse biological areas in the United States.

How is this area so different from the other areas of the state? Well, essentially, this area of Ohio wasn’t covered with ice! Millions of years ago, glaciers covered most of Ohio, acting like a heavy bulldozer — weighing down the land underneath and piling the land up in front of it. However, for some reason, the glaciers stopped their advance just before this region, leaving it mostly untouched, or at least unglaciated, save for the creation of hills, valleys, waterways and amazing scenic views that were created by being on the front lines of the ancient glaciers’ onslaught.

file0001232628889But the scenery isn’t the only unique thing about this region. In fact, the people and the culture of this area is by far the most welcoming and engaging part of the area. Based on a combination of a dynamic history, resourcefulness and ingenuity, the culture of this area is filled with examples of innovation, changes and products including pottery, woven baskets and hundreds of specialty food products that simply can’t be found anywhere else.

So go ahead, grab the kids, get in the car and go out for a drive and explore the local area. Who knows what you’ll find?