MARIETTA - Labor Day weekend signals the unofficial end of the summer season, but there's still time left to buy some locally grown produce or another ice cream cone or two before the seasonal businesses close.
Bobbi Pritchett, manager at The Jug along Ohio 7 in Newport, said the sandwich and ice cream shop will be open for another month.
"September 29 is our last day. It's usually crowded that day, and we won't open again until March," she said. "But we've had a very good summer. The first Saturday of every month we've had a cruise-in that draws a lot of people who love to see the old cars. And our last cruise-in will be this Saturday."
Janelle Martin stocks up the Witten Farms produce stand on Pike Street. Witten also maintains produce carts in the Barlow and Caldwell areas as well as in Vienna and Parkersburg. The stands will close in mid- to late October. (Photo by Sam Shawver)
Pritchett said The Jug stays open all summer from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
"And we make the best hot dogs, sundaes and shakes around," she said.
In Marietta, another popular hot dog stand, Work's Place on the Ohio River levee, will also be closing for the season in the coming weeks.
"We typically close the last day of September, but had a late start in July this year, so we're debating whether to stay open a couple more weeks into October," said Melissa Work, co-owner of the eatery with husband, Adam.
She noted the passenger sternwheeler Queen of the Mississippi is scheduled to make a couple of stops in Marietta during October, which would mean some extra business if the stand stays open during the early part of the month.
"So we may extend the closing for about two more weeks," Work said. "The American Queen brought us a lot of business in July."
Next door on the levee, Kreamy Kreations, operated by the Marietta High School football boosters, will be serving up ice cream and treats through the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival weekend that ends Sept. 9.
"Sternwheel's our last weekend for the summer, and we could use a good weekend. So we hope everyone will come out and support football," said Matt Frum, Kreamy Kreations manager.
The Marietta Harbor at the western end of Butler Street also sells sandwiches and ice cream, as well as rents out pontoon boats and bicycles and leases dock space on the Muskingum River throughout the summer.
Manager Ron King said the city-owned facility normally closes in mid-October, depending on weather conditions. But the harbor may stay open another week or two this year as replicas of the Nina and Pinta, sailed by Christopher Columbus in 1492, will be moored at the harbor docks during October.
One hot dog and ice cream eatery that will stay open all winter long, for the second winter in a row, is Cone 'N Shake on Pike Street in Marietta.
"We did very well last winter, and this year we're installing a closed-in pavilion with heat where customers can enjoy a meal," said owner Jeff Neader.
There are still several weeks left to buy fresh locally-grown produce from the familiar Witten Farm carts in Marietta, Barlow, Caldwell, and Vienna and Parkersburg, W.Va.
"We'll be closed for the season by mid-October, but we'll be selling melons, pumpkins, apples, squash, con and cornstalks over the next few weeks," said Janelle Martin, who was working the produce cart on Pike Street in Marietta.
She said the tomato season is almost over now, but there will still be plenty of other produce available into October.
Huck's Farm Market on Muskingum Drive and Hensler's Market on Pike Street will both remain open at least through Christmas this year.
For camping enthusiasts, the Wayne National Forest's Leith Run Campground on Ohio 7, south of New Matamoras, will be open through the end of October, according to Marcia Newell with the Wayne National Forest office in Marietta.
"But we're already booked up for the Labor Day weekend," she said. "There may be some primitive camping sites available nearby. Those sites are open year-round."
Forest trails are also open all year. Newell said maps of the forest and other information can be picked up at the local office across from the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Marietta Post facility along Ohio 7 in Reno.
Ryan Smith, owner of the Marietta Adventure Company on Second Street, said his business will continue to provide shuttle service to trail heads in the Wayne throughout the fall and winter months.
"But our kayaking service will probably end in late October when the water is becoming too cold," he said.
Harley Noland, owner of the local Trolley Tours business, said the summer tour schedule will end at the end of October, although charter tours will be available year round.
Museum services coordinator Christina Graham with the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums said while Campus Martius will continue to be open during regular business hours all year, the Ohio River Museum will only be open weekends after Labor Day, and will close for the season at the end of October.
"But there will be a new exhibit at the Ohio River Museum beginning Sept. 15, titled, 'The Ritts W.P. Snyder, Jr. Legacy,'" she said.
"The river museum will close in October and reopen in March next year."
Jason Sands, owner of the Valley Gem Sternwheeler, said no date has yet been determined for the closing of the river excursion business this year.