Heritage Day has largely been a staple in Morgan County for the past couple of years and brings not only the local community out and about, but also visitors from surrounding counties. Each year has included a festival held on Main Street in McConnelsville, but due to COVID-19 rules and regulations, those planning the event were forced to make major changes to allow the day loved by many to still take place in some form.

This year, the Morgan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau took an online approach to help continue the tradition of celebrating the heritage of Morgan County. With the use of the hashtag #experiencemoco locals and out-of-towners were encouraged to go explore the county and upload photos of their day on their personal social media accounts. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram on October 17, it would feel like one was taking a virtual tour of Morgan County. Throughout many physical storefront locations, large black and white images could be seen that showed Morgan County from years past, an addition that the Visitors Center felt was essential in capturing the history of the area. The main goal for this year was to get everyone out and about to explore the things that may normally be taken for granted.

A view down Main Street McConnelsville (Owen Morrow)

Alongside this online approach to Heritage Day, the Visitors Bureau also published the “20 Things to See and Do in Morgan County on Heritage Day” list online that gave those looking for what to do that day some inspiration. A popular item from that list was the Covered Bridge Trail that mapped out where to find these bridges. Across the area, five covered bridges can be found, all with their own unique character and stories. This list was just a start for what could be seen and done throughout the county.

Heritage Day is a day to appreciate not only the places, but also the people.

One attraction that drew many people in was the historical tours being given at The Inns at 8th & Main in McConnelsville. These tours showcased the newly renovated spaces while also serving as a fundraiser for the local Twin City Opera House. Prior to Heritage Day, individuals and small groups from the same household were able to reserve a time to admire the hard work that innkeepers Dan and Amy Smith have put into the highly recognized home that is situated right on Main Street. To add to the historical charm, the tour guides were dressed in period clothing. This wonderful showcase was spoken of days after Heritage Day and still has some visitors longing to return for an overnight getaway in this renewed piece of history.

The Inns at 8th & Main in McConnelsville (Owen Morrow)

Town Square Collectibles, a store that features many local artisans and crafters, was another box to check off of many individuals’ Heritage Day lists. Jamie McNabb, the owner of the beautifully curated store, was so overjoyed to still be able to enjoy some type of Heritage Day even though it wouldn’t include the festivities which are usually held right outside her front door. McNabb felt such a sense of pride in the community, exemplifying the fact that although life has been all but normal this year, people were able to get out and appreciate all the area has to offer.

When asked what Heritage Day meant to her, McNabb explained that “This is my home, this is where my family is. I love it here and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Heritage Day is a day to appreciate not only the places, but also the people. As a business owner, as a person, and as a mother, I would never even think twice about being anywhere but here. ”

The Twin City Opera House in McConnelsville (Owen Morrow)

Of course storefronts and restaurants were highly popular, but some folks wanted to get out and capture the beauty of Morgan County. Jana Pryor, an outstanding local photographer, was able to spend her day capturing beautiful images of the simple things in life. Pryor’s images mainly focused on the area of Chesterhill, which is even more beautiful with the fall foliage. Images like a view of Main Street to the ever-loved Chesterhill Steak Sandwiches being made by the local volunteer fire department were some of the amazing images captured throughout the day. Jana truly captured a side of Morgan County that seems to sometimes go unnoticed but truly has so much to offer to locals and out-of-towners alike.

It is the one day a year that as a community, we truly focus on what our small town is made of while also sharing it with others.

One final destination on the list of things to check out was a pop-up shop hosted by misDIY Collective at Old Bridge Brewing Company. With a range of home decor, lifestyle goods, and some other interesting items, Misty Bragg, owner of misDIY Collective, was eager to show visitors what she had to offer. Combining the atmosphere of the Old Bridge Brewing Co. with the good from misDIY, guests were treated to an experience that was pleasing to the eyes and the taste buds.

Chesterhill Volunteer Fire Dept. cooking Steak Sandwiches (Morgan County Visitors Bureau)

Between shoppers, Bragg shared her thoughts on Heritage Day. “To me, it is the one day a year that as a community, we truly focus on what our small town is made of while also sharing it with others. We seem to be more intentional about enjoying the beauty and how the community has shaped each of us.”

Overall, even though COVI-19 has thrown its curveball, Morgan County was still able to make the 2020 Heritage Day a day to remember. Truly filled with pride, the quaint area was more than excited to be able to show each and every person what Morgan County has to offer and how anyone can #experiencemoco.