When we first purchased our Pontoon Boat we were free birds so to speak. We would trailer our pontoon everywhere visiting new bodies of water and places most every weekend. And it's always refreshing to have so many bodies of new experiences on which to launch our boat. Sometimes we still get that itch and hook up and go someplace new for a refreshing change of pace. But mostly we've settled down to a specific body of water we now call home. It's called the Muskingum River and it's in central Ohio. It's mostly a slow meandering river with historical locks and dams on more or less 10 mile intervals. Though at one time was heavily used for commercial boat traffic, that’s no longer the case and its maintained now exclusively for the use of recreational boaters such as us. And it's like having a several lakes back to back, each with its own unique shoreline character of camps, forests , pastures and homes to observe as we slowly travel its course.
Though our boat is capable of moving right along when we really desire it to. You'll most often find us just slowly progressing along the banks of the river observing the landscapes and views along the way and exchanging curtsies with others near the river's shore. Our pontoon is capable of moving along so silently you can hear the wind whispering through the leaves and the birds singing in the shoreline trees. There is real abundance of wildlife that also frequents its banks often seemingly unafraid as we peacefully pass them by. There are always numerous cranes and several species of ducks and geese and even a few swans that have been released that call this river their home. You'll also see and hear the fish jumping after insects and even occasionally observe bald eagles on shoreline snags carefully observing for their next meal to swim by.
But maybe what is most refreshing is the other people and boaters we've met and shared experiences with on the Mighty Muskingum River. It's as if you'd stepped back in a distant time long ago where people actually cared about one another, and stepped into the stage set of "Cheers" in more ways than one. Our shared stories, tales, pork chops and good times would fill a large volume of a book should anyone choose or care to write about it. But out of respect for our friends there "what happens in Vegas is staying in Vegas" so to speak. There are so many interesting people from different trades, backgrounds, and financial means meet and have such a high ho good time without any social status arrogance involved. And it's such a refreshing and enjoyable experience to have so many new and interesting topics and ideas being discussed and hashed around.
There are boats of every description that can be seen and used on our river but by far the most common seems to be the pontoon boat. Sometimes there are forty to fifty pontoons with a mixture of cabin cruisers pulled up into the sandbar on weekends with nice weather. It is the public social gathering and staging area on our river and often our destination point on any sunny Saturday afternoon. It's an exclusive boater's sandbar, for there's not any public road access point for non-boater's to get there. From early spring and throughout the summer you'll also find a volleyball net, and it seems as if there always a game being played. Sometimes we'll end up spending the entire afternoon on the sandbar with our river friends swapping stories, jokes and tall tales and sharing whatever resources we may have brought along for the day. Then as the evening wanes we'll often leave in groups of boats for a nice pleasurable but slow trip back to the marina.
The Lorena Sternwheeler, Zanes Landing, 1+ 740-455-8883. Public excursions on the Muskingum River
Prospect Place, 12140-12150 Main St. A station on the Underground Railroad to help runaway slaves in the 1860's.
The Schultz Mansion, 441 Putnam Ave., 1+ 740-454-6851. Built in 1900, 26 rooms, 5 baths, 8 fireplaces.
Y-Bridge Overlook, Putnam Hill Park
Zanesville Art Center, 620 Military Rd. 1+ 740-452-0741
Zanes Landing Park, Market St.
Muuskingum College, 1+ 740-826-8211
Pottery and china have been manufactured here since pioneeer times. There are numerous outlets for these products.
Bakers Motel, 8855 East Pike, I-70 exit 160, 1+ 740-872-3232
Econolodge, 135 N. 7th St., I-70 exit 155, 1+740-452-4511
Super 8, 2440 National Rd., I-70 exit 152. 1+ 740-455-3124
Blue Rock State Park, 15 miles south.
Dillon State Park, 12 miles northwest.
Muskingum River State Park, Muskingum County, near Zanesville, at Ellis Campground, 1390 Ellis Dam Road. At Lock 11, there are 20 campsites off State Route 60 and County Road 49, water, picnic tables, fire rings, pet camping, there are eight boaters-only, primitive campsites at Lock #5. Boats with unlimited horsepower motors, house boats, pontoon boats, canoes and rowboats travel the river. Public launch ramps, at Locks 4, 5, 6 and 11, private ramps located near Locks 2, 7 and 10. Picnic tables, grills, latrines, drinking water and ten locks on the river.
Deer Creek Resort and Conference Center, 20635 Waterloo Road, Mt. Sterling (West of Zanesville). 3,100 acre retreat with lodge, rooms, cottages or historic Harding Cabin. Dining in a lakeview restaurant, marina, lake and golf course. Muskingum County west of Zanesville.