The county roads of Preble County, Ohio take us back to a time once forgotten as they cross over antique covered bridges, through nostalgic Main Streets, and to a historic fort. Located in the southwestern portion of Ohio, Preble County is roughly an hour north from Cincinnati. Discover why historic Preble County will entice you to come to visit, learn and play. This post is sponsored by TourismOhio. All opinions and recommendations are my own.
Explore The Covered Bridges Of Preble County
A well-kept secret of Preble County has been their preservation of eight historic covered bridges. Many of which are still in use today. Each of the covered bridges has a story to tell or should I say each person in Preble County has a story to tell about a covered bridge. Many of the bridges have overcome fires, tornados and oversized trucks but it is the more romantic side of the covered bridges that captures the attention of visitors. The family photos on an autumn afternoon, a surprise engagement or just simply joy-riding over each bridge on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Covered bridges played a vital role in transportation over the years, as a many horse and buggies have traveled through these bridges. The bridges were covered as a means to keep the road preserved. It was more affordable to replace the sideboards of the bridge then long supporting beams that ran the length of the bridge. As automobiles become prevalent the need for a covered bridge decreased. However, with proper maintenance covered bridges can last hundreds of years. There are a few covered bridges in China that are over 1500 years old!
The oldest covered bridge in Ohio happens to be found in Preble County. The Roberts Bridge dates back from 1829 and is the last double-barreled bridge in the state. With only six double-barreled covered bridges remaining in the United States, the Roberts Bridge is the oldest. The Roberts Bridge has seen its fair share of vandalism over the years. The tiny window in the middle of the bridge was placed there after locals kept kicking the sideboards out to fish. It wasn’t until the bridge was heavily damaged by fire in 1986 which prompted citizens to restored and relocated the bridge to its current location. Currently, the Roberts Bridge sits peacefully over Seven Mile Creek inviting visitors to take a stroll back through time.
Hueston Woods State Park Covered Bridge
The newest of the covered bridges to Preble County is the one located inside Hueston Woods State Park and sits over Four Mile Creek. This bridge is significant because it is the first covered bridge to be built in the county in over 100 years. Built-in 2012 the Hueston Woods covered bridge has two walkways on either side of the bridge for pedestrians. Picnic areas overlook the bridge and is oftentimes a popular spot among tourists and locals.
Spend an afternoon discovering the enchanting covered bridges of Preble County. The other six covered bridges that can found in Preble County are the Brubaker Covered Bridge, Harshman Covered Bridge, Christman Covered Bridge, Dixon’s Branch Covered Bridge, Geeting Covered Bridge, and Warnke Covered Bridge. The Preble County Historical Society located near the Brubaker Covered Bridge contains great information regarding the covered bridges and other great historic finds.
Historic Fort St. Clair
Preble County boasts more history than its covered bridges, it is also the site of Fort St. Clair. While the fort itself is no longer the history that took place on the grounds is quite significant. Fort St. Clair was established in 1792 to protect the area’s early pioneers from Indian attacks and provide a place in between Fort Jefferson and Fort Hamilton for troops to rest and gather supplies.
Chief Little Turtle had successfully defeated Governor Anthony St. Clair in 1791, pushing US troops to Fort Jefferson, Fort Hamilton, and Fort Washington. On a mission to attack the US Troops at Fort Hamilton, two soldiers were kidnapped and told about troops at Fort St. Clair. Little Turtle attacked Fort St. Clair early in the morning in a battle that left six soldiers dead. The graves of the six soldiers are located near where the old fort stood in the shadow of the Whispering Oak Tree. Legend has it that you can hear it whisper during the right conditions.
The site of Fort St. Clair has now been turned into a park with plaques detailing the history that happened here. Picnic shelters, walking trails, and a playground are a few of the amenities available. During the wintertime, the park transforms into Santa Land, a magical drive in the lights display.
Stroll Through Downtown Lewisburg
The charming main street of down Lewisburg is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat at a local bistro, find that cherished antique or simply do a little window shopping. Start with a coffee or lunch at the Brick Rhod Bistro then explore the shops that makeup downtown Lewisburg. Shops like the Yankee Clover Mercantile are just begging for you to come in. The town hosts a few festivals a year, one being devoted to the Soap Box Derby.
The inventor of the Soap Box Derby, Myron Scott was born in Camden, OH. Preble County embraces this historic find by hosting an annual Derby Days Festivals that includes a classic Soap Box Derby. On the day of the race, a grand parade makes its way through historic downtown Lewisburg. Shortly after the children and their homemade derby cars start to line up for the big race. As a first-timer to a Soap Box Derby, this was quite an impressive event.
Take a moment to admire all the hard work that each racer has put into their car. Each one has the driver’s personality shining through it. As you wait for the race to begin the Mainstreet transforms into a festival midway, complete with food, rides, and games. Grab an elephant ear before securing your spot along the big hill to cheer each contestant on. They race two cars at a time after manually loading them on the ramp. Speeds are clocked at the bottom of the hill and the winner progresses through the brackets to take home the first-place trophy.
The Best Place To Stay In Preble County, OH
A highlight of our visit to Preble County was staying at the Hueston Woods Lodge located inside the Hueston Woods State Park. The lodge is a wonderful family-friendly location that overlooks the gorgeous lake. An indoor and outdoor pool are available for guest use, however, the gated toddler splash pool won us over. The lodge has many open spaces and sitting areas that are great for large groups or families. A restaurant and bar are located onsite as well. Rooms are modest and have a much-cherished balcony. Take time to enjoy the park during your visit as there are many hiking trails and outdoor activities.
Local Eateries To Visit In Preble County, OH
A gorgeous patio and delicious entrees await you at Buckeye Jakes. Serving up American-Pub fare it is easy to find something everyone in your party will enjoy. I highly recommend the Reuben sandwich and their burgers.
Bison and Boar
The Bison and Boar is truly a gem to Preble County. This steak house serves bison, boar, and other fresh farm-to-table options. The owners take great pride in their restaurant and strive to maintain a high quality, upscale dining experience. It is hard to recommend one dish here, as everything we got and saw coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled amazing. The local catch of the day was one of the best pieces of fish I had in a long time. Pair that with a homemade dessert for one of the best meals you will eat in Preble County.
This classic diner is the go-to place for locals, especially for a good country breakfast. Grab a booth or a stool at the counter and the friendly waitstaff with handle the rest. From pancakes to omelets there is the perfect breakfast waiting for you here. If anything should attest to the quality, there was a line to get in the door by the time we left.
Eaton’s Early Bird Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday from early May to the end of September is the Eaton Early Bird Farmer’s Market. The market is full of great local produce, goodies and more. It goes from 8 am to 1 pm and many of the favorites such as sweet corn run out early. Come out and meet the local farmers and craftsman and take home a few tasty souvenirs.