I’ve just returned from Marietta, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it’s one of the most charming towns I’ve seen. I didn’t say city, for this is clearly no cosmopolitan place. It is a town, a truly all-American small town.  And as such, it’s just, plain, lovely.

And what may be most charming about it is that I don’t think Marietta realizes how charming and extraordinary it really is. That’s partly because it’s seen a population growth of nearly 0% over the past 20 years. Coming from a place that’s experienced nearly 100% growth over the same period, that sounds delightful!

But it’s not just this quiet consistency that makes Marietta so inviting. It’s the downtown, full of stunning architecture, which boasts a thriving Front Street, facing on the Ohio River.

We go to visit friends, who we helped move from Maryland to Ohio nearly 25 years ago. As we’ve returned to visit them, we’ve watched the town evolve as their family grew. We’ve become charmed by it and return home each time contemplating how pleasant it would be to live there.

After Mass on Sunday, I strolled back to my car and just had to snap these pictures to share with you the loveliness of it all. (Please excuse the quality of the photos, as I only had my iPhone with me.)

I had parked my car right in front of this porch and it’s garden.

Here’s the whole house. Note the amazing curved front.

A couple doors down was this lavender charmer.

The attention to details is part of what sets this town apart.

And this is the delightful front porch (which people actually use in this town!). Isn’t it decorated with such flair?  The leaded glass filling in the end of the porch, the mirror hung by the door, the inviting furniture arrangement all draw you to it. I would have loved to drop in and share a glass of lemonade with this creative decorator!

The view of the dome of St. Mary’s, across the street from these houses

Another view of the curved-front house. This image shows the extraordinary architecture more clearly.

St Mary’s front entrance. Not at all what you’d expect from a quiet little town in Ohio. And the interior is even better!

What’s tempting is that many of these houses have For Sale signs out front. This 1903 Cape Cod boasts twin french doors leading onto the porch, and a front garden just perfect for hydrangeas. (Yes, I’ve thought about it…)

Detail of the french doors.

Want something a little larger? This 1919 beauty is also for sale, and has a pretty, bricked patio and finished basement (for $269,000!)

And they all have such lovely yards.

But this butter-yellow brick beauty is really my favorite. (and it already has hydrangeas!)

This is it’s front. Don’t you just want to move in?!  If this one were for sale, I’d probably have Chip packing us up already.


And just look down the street!

It was 4th of July weekend, and all the flags were flying.

I think I need this wrought iron fence and gate.

And if you like something more formal…

And, oh, the porches! This one is on an early 19thC white brick home. These porches gaze off into the ethereal town cemetery. Sounds creepy, but it’s absolutely lovely in a Midnight-in-the-Garden-of-Good-and-Evil kinda way.

The House of Seven Porches. Though only these four are apparent from the street, it does make one anxious to see the rest.

And did I mention that Marietta is a college town? To top it all off, Marietta has the vibrancy and engaging activities that come with having a thriving college located in the middle of town.

Bottom line – if you’re ever in Ohio (a haven for great vintage finds), drop in on Marietta. Take a stroll down front street, breath in the beauty of the scenic river view, and enjoy the shaded streets with their exceptional collection of fine architecture.

Fun side note?  Completely by coincidence, the twin vintage silos on our very own dairy barn, here at Chartreuse, were made in sleepy little Marietta, Ohio! So you can visit a little piece of this charming haven any time you drop by Chartreuse & co. 

Do you know of an exceptionally charming, yet little-known town?  I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading,