Road Trip Route: Philly to Iowa (Part 1)
We enjoyed our first epic road trip of the year so much, that we decided to plan another one! And not just another one, but a longer one at that! Yes, I said it. Even though we planned a new road trip, with new stops and new destinations, this trip started the same as most of them do – with a Friday night jaunt through Western PA and into the West Virginia/Ohio area.
Day 1 – Philadelphia, PA to St. Clairsville, OH
Get your playlists and podcast queued up, because here is your crazy Friday night plans, which are really just five hours of driving. Get ready to drive all the way across Pennsylvania and find yourself right over the line into Ohio. It may not be the most exciting prospect, but you’ll thank us for it. At least, I think you will.
Day 2 – St. Clairsville, OH to Cincinnati, OH
You did a lot of driving yesterday, so feel free to take it a little easy this morning. But not too much, because there are plenty of stops built into today’s itinerary!
St. Clairsville, OH to Point Pleasant, OH
This roughly three and a half hour trek is the longest chunk of driving that you’ll do all day – so rejoice! Once you make it to the tiny hamlet of Point Pleasant, the rest of the hours in the car will be broken up by exciting stops.
While, Grant’s Birthplace is a really just a small cottage (although not as plain at the cabin where Grant colleague and friend Abraham Lincoln was born) I consider this site something of a hidden treasure. (Not that me considering something a ‘hidden treasure’ is rare…) With some actual Grant family pieces and artifacts, this cabin was deconstructed and toured around the country until it finally returned back where it belongs. The fact that the first we met at the park was a neighbor from up the street who just likes the chat with tourists should tell you everything you need to know about Point Pleasant.
Grant Boyhood Home and Schoolhouse
Not on our original itinerary, the folks at the Grant Birthplace convinced us to add it to our itinerary at the last minute. About forty-five minutes to an hour away from Point Pleasant, if you’re interested in seeing the complete list of Grant spots, then these really can’t be missed. According to the Boyhood Home website, Georgetown is the place where Grant lived the longest and they are correct that the house tells the story of a formative time in his life. His Schoolhouse is located about four blocks or so away from the Home and operates on a different schedule than the Boyhood Home, so be warned if you definitely want to see both. The Schoolhouse was closed when we went, so we drove by and read the outdoor signage.
*If you’re going to drive from the Grant Birthplace to the Boyhood Home and need a bite to eat - we heartily recommend the Feedmill in Felicity, which is about halfway. The Feedmill is a true small-town watering hole and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Georgetown, OH to North Bend, OH
If you’ve ever wondered if there is a place that is proud of its connection to President William Henry Harrison and his grandson, President Benjamin Harrison, then North Bend, Ohio is the place for you. With both men’s faces on lamppost signs across the town, this place is heavy for the Harrisons.
William Henry Harrison Tomb
The only thing you may know about WHH is that he was president for less than a month. However, you wouldn’t know that by looking at his tomb. A giant obelisk lists the rest of his accomplishments (before his literally fatal time in the White House) and a walkway underneath allows you to gaze on the ornate gold burial area for Harrison and his family.
*Benjamin Harrison was born and grew up in North Bend, although neither building still stands. Signs mark both spots and are shown below for your potential future reference.
North Bend, OH to Cincinnati, OH
If there is anything we have learned over these past two road trips, it is that we have not spent nearly enough time in Cincinnati. Seriously. Maybe next year will be the year that we finally give Cincy its due, but this is just another trip where we spent roughly twelve hours in the city and then moved on.
Taft Ale House
Before heading to bed, go to the Taft Ale House for dinner. Yes, it is themed around William Howard Taft. Yes, I made the joke ‘William H. Draft’. And yes, the beer is awesome – probably better than the food, but it’s still worth it. Be warned that there are very limited parking options, so either go on the off time or be ready to walk.
Day 3 - Cincinnati, OH to Indianapolis, IN
Wake up and start your morning in Cincy by meeting up with our friend from last night - William H. Taft!
Taft Historical Site
Taft’s home is now a National Park Site and is ready for you to visit! Enjoy the opulence and interesting décor of the Taft House while learning about one of our more obscure presidents. Replace your stereotypical thoughts about his weight with far more interesting thoughts about his epic mustache.
Cincinnati, OH to Indianapolis, IN
Only two hours of driving from Cincy to Indy – yay! Hop on the highway and enjoy one of the shortest days in terms of distance covered.
*Lunch at The Rathkeller – I am not a fan of German food, so this lunch spot in Indianapolis is a tangible example of relationship compromise. Alex was into the food, the beer options, and the weird underground location/décor. Look at the menu and make a decision based on the preferences of those in your party.
Benjamin Harrison House
Since you saw his birthplace (well, a sign marking his birthplace) yesterday, now is the time to see where he actually lived. This museum is one of the more expensive ones on the list, so be warned. However, the house is big and is full of Harrison family artifacts. Maybe neither of things convince you. If nothing else, I always want to encourage trips to learn about the more obscure presidents – you never know when you’ll find your new favorite historical figure!
*Benjamin Harrison is also buried at the Crown Hill Cemetery, so feel free to go and pay your respects. (John Dillinger is also there, if that’s your sort of thing.)
This place is about forty-five minutes outside of Indianapolis, and, if you think we’re crazy for driving that far for dinner and beer, feel free to judge. But, I’m here to tell you, Taxman Brewing is awesome and we unequivocally agreed it was worth the drive. We were in Indy on a Sunday, which is apparently a popular day for the most lauded and unique restaurants to be closed, so our choice to drive so far out was not so much a preference as it was necessity and frustration. However, this was truly a happy accident and is one of our favorite breweries of all time. Yes. All time.
Stay over in Indy and rest up because tomorrow is going to be a huge day of driving!!