Scenic & Interesting: Clermont County Cemeteries Are Delightful Places to Walk

Cemeteries may not be parks, but they can be beautiful places to walk for a change, especially the cemeteries in Clermont County, Ohio.  Clermont County is made up of small towns, villages, rural areas, and townships, some that haven’t changed much since they were settled in the early 1800’s.  This makes the cemeteries interesting with many old monuments and headstones mixed with newer markers and recent burials, all providing a rich history of the area.  The setting of many of the cemeteries has stayed the same over the years too, surrounded by wooded areas and farmland, making them unusually beautiful.

picture of cemetery

We walked in the Williamsburg Township Cemetery, located on Gay St. in Williamsburg, Ohio, on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, with a temperature of 55 degrees, under sunny conditions.  After entering one of several gates, you park on the asphalt road that runs through the cemetery, turning into gravel at some places.  The cemetery is large, and extends over rolling hills, with trees and farmland surrounding it, along with a row of houses, and the back side of a large business building.

We parked near an entrance gate, and walked the paths, easily walking a mile without repeating any paths.  It was a beautiful Fall day with colorful old trees, a gorgeous blue sky, rolling green hills, and lovely stone monuments, and we had it all to ourselves!

picture of cemetery

Restrooms:  There were no restrooms of any kind.

Traffic Noise:  There was no traffic noise.

Historic Points of Interest: There were veteran graves marked from every war the U.S. has been in, including eleven from the Revolutionary War, and 189 soldiers from the Civil War. In the early 1900’s a large statue of a soldier was erected to commemorate their service. There is also a marker near this soldier that recognizes Williamsburg’s bicentennial in 1996.

picture of monument
Civil War Monument

Overall Rating:  We thoroughly enjoyed it, and will return to do it again some time.  Many of the Clermont County cemeteries are great walking places as long as you observe the rules of the cemetery.  Some have rules posted on signs, and cemeteries like Greenlawn Cemetery in Milford have a written list of rules you can get at the office at the cemetery.  These rules include no dog walking, and hours it is open being sunrise to sunset.  The Village of Batavia has a map of walking paths on their website, and these paths include a loop in the Batavia Union Cemetery.  The Milford Urban Trail System includes a stretch on Cemetery Road along Greenlawn Cemetery, making it easy to take a stroll in the cemetery as well.  Beautiful and fascinating, Williamsburg Township Cemetery was a peaceful delight for the senses.

picture of cemetery

Fun But Challenging Walk On Valley View Nature Trails In Milford, OH

Valley View Nature Trails in Milford offer a full natural experience, ready or not.  Located at 790 Garfield Ave., Milford, Ohio, it is conveniently located behind Patterson Elementary School, but easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for.  There’s no parking lot to identify the entrance of the trails, you simply park in the grass off the gravel road that runs past the school.  The gravel road goes on into the trail area, but is blocked by the closed gate of a wooden fence, and you actually enter the trail by stepping in a gap in the fence.  There’s a trail guidepost with color-coded arrows pointing in the direction of each trail, a sign under a roofed display with information, and some bird watching platforms at the beginning of the trails.  We took the path to the right, following the Prairie Trail.

Valley View trail
Beginning of the trail…

We walked on Sunday, August 19, 2018, at noon, with a temperature of 81 degrees, and sunny conditions.  The trail was a wide path of mowed grass along the edge of a meadow area, with woods on the other side.  We were surprised to see some of the trails were completely waterlogged, and impassable, as it hadn’t rained that much for a while.  The condition of the trail changed as we walked from low grass to high grass, and some narrow muddy parts.  We wore tennis shoes, and wished we had worn our muck boots, as at one point the mud was so slippery Greg lost his footing and fell.

picture of Valley View trail
Water standing on some trails…

Several narrow trails veered off the Prairie Trail, and we followed some that led to a lovely stretch along the East Fork of the Little Miami River.  These trails didn’t have guideposts, and weren’t shown on our map we printed off the web site, causing us to become lost, and having to back track to find our way.  We came across a picnic table and some wooden benches, but the grass was over-grown around them, and they were unusable.  When we finally finished the trail, looping back to the beginning, we had walked two miles.

picture of Valley View trail
There are benches in there, somewhere

Restrooms:  There were no restrooms of any kind there.

Traffic Noise:  There was no traffic noise, just lovely sound of song birds.

Historic Points of Interest: The Valley View Foundation’s trails sit on land that was farmed by the Gatch Family since the early 1800’s. Their farming activities and other farmers in the area dug up lots of Native American artifacts from thousands of years ago. The Gatch farm was known as “The Arrowhead Farm”. When Phillip Gatch moved there in 1799, there were still remains of ancient Native American walls, also called earthworks, on top of the hill above Valley View that ran to and beyond Greenlawn Cemetery. The purpose of the earthworks are unknown, but suggests a large Native American presence. Phillip Gatch is reported in The Valley of the Mound Builders blog as saying that he found the earthworks enclosing about 50 acres, and that the Native Americans of his time had no idea who built them.

This diagram of Native American Earthworks in Milford was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute in the early 1800’s


Overall Rating:  We really enjoyed the authentic natural experience on this trail, complete with scrapes, scratches, mud, high grass, river view, getting lost, and sharing the trail with a couple frogs.  It made us feel like kids again at some points, at others we imagined the Native Americans who lived on this very land as they wrestled with the elements every day.  We had the park to ourselves except for one person walking a dog, allowing us to lose ourselves in the natural world, connect with our spirits, and take pleasure in the joy of a simple summer day.

picture of Valley View trail
The East Fork of the Little Miami River

South 80 Trails Are A Walk Into Another World

The South 80 Gardens and Walking Trails Park in Mariemont, Ohio, offer an amazing journey into a secluded natural area just minutes away from town.  We walked on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., with a temperature of 80 degrees, and a cloudy sky.  We made our way off Wooster Pike through the residential streets of Mariemont toward the community pool at 329 Algonquin Way, where we parked in the paved parking lot also used for the pool.

picture of trail..
Tunnel entrance to the trails…

The trail begins as a road that goes down a sharp hill toward a stone tunnel, wide enough for one car only.  The trail then circles a large flat field lined with trees.  There’s a small sign in wood box that shows a map of the trails, but it was dirty and not easy to read.  We walked to the left on the wide trail, a mix of dirt, stones, and crumbled asphalt.  Even though it had rained a lot recently, there were only a few areas of puddles and mud.

picture of trail

We walked briskly, enjoying the abundant greenery, including soy planted in the field, and grass areas to do exercises as indicated by instructional signs.  There were also dirt trails that veered off the main trail leading into the wooded area.  These were lovely trails leading to Whiskey Creek and the Little Miami River that run along side the park with vegetation that seemed perfectly arranged to make the experience simply stunning.  One trail even lead to an area that was roped off for an archeological dig at being conducted by the University of Cincinnati.  According to archeologist Kenneth Tankersley, the site is an ancient Native American home.


picture of trail

We walked full circle back to the beginning where you come to the area that residents have set up vegetable gardens.  There was a picnic table and trash cans near this area as well.  By walking just the main trail around the open area, we walked 1.75 miles.

picture of community garden
Mariemont’s Community Garden

Restrooms:  There was one port-a-potty in the parking lot.

Traffic Noise:  There is no traffic noise, or sounds or sights of civilization at all.

Historic Points of Interest:  An archeological dig called the Madisonville Site, located next to Mariemont Swimming Pool, was conducted from the 1800’s to the 1970’s.  They found remains of Fort Ancient Indians that occupied the area for hundreds of years during the 1400 to 1600 time period. A serpent mound also extends along the bluffs above the South 80 Trail, and alongside the trail itself.  Mariemont is soon to open an addition to its Village Hall to showcase local artifacts found in the various digs in the area.

Overall Rating:  This was one of our favorite walking places.  The wide open space, unusual tunnel, magical trails into the woods, and charming gardens, made the experience delightful.  The area was well cared for without a speck of litter or anything in disrepair.  As we walked along, soaking up the beautiful greenery, hearing nothing but birds chirping and the wind in the treetops, we found ourselves escorted by variety of stunning butterflies sharing in the beauty and joy of the day.

Withrow Nature Preserve Is Small Wooded Bliss

For a small natural area, the Withrow Nature Preserve packs a punch of wooded bliss.  Located at 7075 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45230, it’s part of Hamilton County Parks but close enough to Clermont County to make for an easy afternoon walk.  Because it is a Hamilton County Park there is fee for a parking sticker, however, which is placed on your windshield, and is good at all Hamilton County Parks for one year, $14.00 for non-resident, and can be purchased at

picture of the trail
Trout Lily Trail

We walked on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, beginning at 11:30 a.m., it was 66 degrees with cloudy skies, and had recently rained a lot.  The entrance of the park is down a tree-lined winding road that takes you to a paved parking lot near the Highwood Lodge.  The lodge is a grand old house that can be rented for weddings and other events.

picture of lodge
Highwood Lodge

The Trout Lily Trail veered off of the parking lot in front of the lodge, and immersed us in the woods immediately as we walked the wide dirt trail that meandered along the edge of a steep ravine.  The trail went up and down hills, was muddy in spots, went along the edge of a meadow, and even took us to a beautiful overlook of the Ohio River, complete with two benches that were in excellent condition.

picture of park overlook
Ohio River Overlook

Restrooms:  There was one port-a-potty at the parking lot.

Traffic Noise:  We could hear traffic on nearby highway 275 in the parking lot, but as we walked deeper into the woods, the traffic noise disappeared.  We also heard a nearby train passing for a bit.

Historic Points Of Interest:  Former owners of the land were Mr. and Mrs. Andrew H. Withrow, who wished that someday it would become a nature preserve.  In 1980 the land was transferred to The Nature Conservancy, the leading conservation organization protecting ecologically important lands and waters in the world.  By 2011, the land was owned by the Hamilton County Park District.

picture of trail

The park is known for its wildflowers, some which are native to the area such as the trout lily, for which the trail is named. There are informative signs telling about the vegetation throughout the trail, including a sign saying that many non-native species of wildflowers were planted by Mrs. Withrow, and have spread throughout the woods.

Overall Rating: This little trail, 1.6 miles, was really a treat.  It was kept up nicely, no litter anywhere, the trail was marked well with directional signs, and the overlook was a sweet surprise.  Even though we were there on a holiday, and a warm day on top of that, we were one of only a few couples walking the trail that day.  The views along the trail were amazing as we looked down the majestic hillside to a creek below, and soaked up the magic of the natural beauty of the bare bark and branches of the trees in all their amazing configurations.  The peace, quiet, and joy of the woods were just what we needed to recharge our batteries in the middle of a cold and wet February in southern Ohio.

picture of trail

Robert W. Groh Park Is Perfect Place For Quick Winter Walk

It may be cold outside, but don’t let it get you down. Small community parks like the Robert W. Groh Park in Amelia, Ohio, are just the place to get your body moving, and raise your spirits.  Located at the entrance of the Woodside Park subdivision on Huntsman Trace, it is easy to find, easy to use, and a fun way to have a brisk winter walk even in snow and ice.

picture of park sign

We walked on Sunday, January 14, 2018, with a temperature of 19 degrees, sunny conditions with snow and ice on the ground and trail.  The trail is an asphalt paved trail that goes in two loops on opposite sides of the parking area.  There is playground equipment, a shelter with picnic tables, a basketball court, and a skateboard ramp at the parking area.  The trail goes toward the houses in the subdivision around an area with trees in the center, and circles back to the parking area. The trail then goes around an open field on the opposite side of the parking area through the woods that surround it.  We walked both trails, walking through the woods twice to make a one-mile walk.  The trail was not cleared of ice or snow, so we had to be careful as we walked.

picture of trail
Snow covered trails

Restrooms:  There were no restrooms of any kind.

Traffic Noise:  Even though the park was right on the road, and next to a subdivision, there was very little traffic at the time.

Historic Points of Interest:   Amelia is Clermont County’s only incorporated village that was never formally laid out, which is why it doesn’t resemble the other villages in the area. This is because the area slowly filled up during immigration from New England States, among others, until it reached a point that triggered incorporation around 1900.

It was originally called Milton, but when a post office arrived and the town had to have an official name, they found the name Milton had already been taken, so it was decided that it would be called Amelia, after Amelia Bowdoin, a popular tollgate operator on the Ohio Pike. Her tollhouse (and personal residence) still exists at 94 W. Main St.

Robert W. Groh, a mayor of Amelia for 18 years, has several commendations for his accomplishments and dedication to the people of Amelia and his achievements, including recognition from the Ohio State Representatives.

picture of dedication marker
Dedication for Robert Groh’s service

Overall Rating:  Robert W. Groh Park may be small, but it is the perfect place to walk on a bitter cold day.  We felt like kids again as we stomped through the snow, making snowballs, and breathing the clean cold air.  Wearing the right clothes and shoes can make a huge difference in being comfortable outdoors in the cold.  Through trial and error I found wearing insulated hiking boots are the best for keeping your feet dry and warm, and they provide good traction on ice. Insulated mittens (not gloves) are the best for keeping fingers warm.  Columbia brand makes some outdoor water repellent pants that are lightweight and roomy, great with long underwear underneath.  Parkas made with down are the best for keeping your body warm, as again, they are lightweight and roomy for wearing layers underneath.

picture of trail
Dress properly…

Another thing to keep in mind is how you move your body.  We naturally cave inward when we are cold, wrapping our arms around our chest.  This actually constricts the blood flow to the arms, and makes them colder.  Try walking with your arms down and slightly behind you, chest leading as you walk.  You’ll be amazed at how much warmer you become.  Don’t forget a good hat too, and then go outside and have some fun!