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Logan is a peaceful, unassuming city of 7,000 on the banks of Ohio’s Hocking River, about 50 miles southeast of Columbus. It’s the chief city of the Hocking Hills region (and, in fact, the only city in the county). It presides over an area of hardwood forests, rolling hills, and several forested parks. The town was established in 1816, and downtown reflects a late-19th-century commercial prosperity, with a mix of two- and three-story brick buildings of varied architectural styles; just beyond are leafy residential neighborhoods with an assortment of stately white clapboard homes. Among the city’s claims to fame: It’s home to the last manufacturer of washboards in the country, and you can snap a selfie in front of the world’s largest washboard, attached to the wall of the factory building.
Greyhound offers bus service four times daily between Logan and the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), which is roughly an hour away. Rideshare services and taxis will get you around Logan once you’ve arrived. To explore the parks and rolling hills farther afield, a car is essential. Rentals are widely available at the Columbus airport; limited rentals may be found in Logan.
The sultry months of summer are the most popular time to visit Logan and the surrounding area. In June, July, and August, temperatures can often hover in the 80s Fahrenheit during the day, cooling into the 60s many evenings. The clement weather coincides with festival season, which includes the annual Washboard Fest on Father’s Day weekend, celebrating the nation’s last washboard manufacturer with food, fun events, and a surfeit of clackety music. In the fall, cool, pleasant weather prevails, and Logan tends to be quieter — although notably less quiet on the first weekend in October, when the annual festival of marching bands is held at Logan High School. Come winter, expect occasional snowfall and chilly days, with temperatures often hovering around the freezing mark.
Just west of town is Lake Logan State Park, built around a 400-acre reservoir created when a dam was built in 1955. The hardwood forest hosts a range of trails for hiking; check out the Pine Vista Trail, which is just over a mile but offers a loop around the top of a nearby hill that is popular with sledders in winter. Across from the trailhead on the lake’s north shore is a 500-foot swimming beach equipped with restrooms, changing rooms, and drinking water.
A dozen miles southeast of Logan is Nelsonville, an historic town of 5,000 with a compact arts district that edges the central square. Spend part of a day walking around the town, then head to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway for a short and nostalgic train ride. Bring a bike and you can explore along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, which runs for 21 miles through scenic terrain.
This extremely focused museum is essentially a shed next to the Hocking Hills visitor’s center. Within it, you’ll find, well, pencil sharpeners — about 3,400 of them. It’s the sort of roadside attraction that dotted the state highways around the nation once upon a time, but have since folded and faded. The odds are you’ll spend only a few minutes here. The odds are also good you’ll spend a lifetime telling friends you once visited a museum of pencil sharpeners in Ohio.