This summer we're following the Ohio River, from Pittsburgh to Paducah (that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?). We'll be covering 800 miles in 10 days and passing through five states along the way, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, West Virgina, and Kentucky.
The Ohio River isn't an especially sexy option. It doesn't star in any blockbuster films or bestselling options. It's not something you see advertised as a major tourist attraction in glossy magazines. There are no glamorous cities or big-name national parks along this route. I couldn't find a single guidebook covering the drive.
But as I dig deeper and deeper, I've come across more and more information about the river and area around it. I read about the stretch that passes through rural northeastern Kentucky in a 1986 NY Times article.
Mary Augusta Rodgers writes:
Augusta, Maysville and Washington are three small pioneer towns in northeast Kentucky - a gentle and pastoral land with a savage history, where old buildings are left to tell some of the story. And the Ohio River keeps rolling on.Sounds lovely, doesn't it?
Soon after leaving Cincinnati and crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky, you suddenly enter the rural South. Accents are soft and life seems to move at a slower pace.
I also read about Paducah, KY., our final destination on the river, in the Times.
Evan McGlinn writes:
Paducah isn’t Podunk these days. Thanks to its Artist Relocation Program, artists and gallery owners, and people who like artists and galleries, are coming to this town of 27,000 at the intersection of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers.The more I dig and read the more I'm drawn to the rural countryside of Kentucky and the Industrial cities: Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. And I've always wanted to see Louisville.
Have you driven along the Ohio River? Do you have any suggestions for places to stop along the way?