The Great Ohio Roundabout

Traylor, Jeff and Nadine Disabato.  The Great Ohio Roundabout: A Circle Tour of Ohio Towns and Country Along Scenic and Historic Highways.  Monroeville, Ohio: King of the Road Press, 1998.

Here is a slightly older travel guide of Ohio that outlines a suggested motoring trip around Ohio.  The authors break their trip around Ohio into three sections: the 3-C Highway (SR 3), the Anthony Wayne Parkway (US 127 and SRs 119, 66, 424, and 24), and the North Coast Highway (SRs 2 and 163 and US 6).  Keen observers will note that this route does not cover all of Ohio (what about the southeast).  That said, if this book had covered all of Ohio it would no longer be a motoring tour, but just another travel guide.

If you follow this route you will start and end in Cleveland, but as the Traylors point out, you can easily start your journey from any point on the tour.  Total trip: 748 miles (with a few optional side trips detailed).

Though the Interstate Highways (71, 75, 80/90) that cross through this route are well traveled, the trip outlined here is truly off the beaten path.  Interstate 71 from Cleveland to Cincinnati will take you about 5 hours, but I will guess that you will not see any of the towns outlined in The Great Ohio Roundabout.  As one who travels 71 frequently, I was surprised at how little I knew of the towns along the way.  In the preface, the authors indicate their interest in small towns/Main Streets and this what you will find detailed throughout the text.

What I found quite unique about this book is what the authors call the Anthony Wayne Parkway, which covers the far west side of the state from Cincinnati to Toledo.  From my readings, as a whole, northwest Ohio is usually marginally covered (at best).  The Great Ohio Roundabout gives pages (74) to small towns such as New Brenan, Minster, Delphos, and Waterville.  The Toledo coverage would give other traditional guides a run for their money.
If you do find yourself on this tour, be sure to check out the ‘Bloody Bridge’ in St. Marys, whose historic marker is supposedly so graphic that the authors left few details.  (And of course, let me know what it says).

If you do not have time to relive the late 1990s and make the whole trip around Ohio, The Great Ohio Roundabout has enough uncommon information to take a quick read.  Throughout the text, it is obvious that the authors, who have published several other travel related books on Ohio, enjoy the subject and pack as much detail in the space provided for each town.

2 Responses

  1. We’ve taken US42 down to Columbus before, or at least the part of it south of US224, and I forget what the town is there. It’s kind of cool, but it takes a LOT longer, even though you’re not really sitting in traffic anywhere but Mansfield. Speaking of Mansfield, it’s fastest to take US30 through Mansfield, and then wiggle your way back down to US42 on the west side of Mansfield. Mt. Gilead is a nice little town.

    Also, did the book cover Cridersville? This is a teeny burg just north of Wapokeneta (sp?), which isn’t all that big itself. Cridersville contains a surprisingly entertaining historical museum, although I don’t think it’s open on any particular schedule. We called the phone # associated with it, and a guy who lived next door came over and opened it up and talked to us about the town and the museum.

    Well, I thought it was entertaining. I like little local historical museums, and you can take my word that this is better than most.

    • I don’t want to give away the whole book, but there is no Cridersville. The Great Ohio Roundabout briefly goes through Auglaize County (county seat: Wapakoneta) passing through Saint Marys and Minster, missing the central eastern parts of the county (not even a side trip to the Neil Armstrong Museum). There is just too much to do in this state.

      Thanks for the heads-up about the Cridersville Museum. Looking at the village’s calendar or events, it looks like the museum is open the first and third Sunday of each month. But apparently this is flexible.

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