Wherever Reverend Brian May Roam – Athens
Truth be told, if you’re not associated with Ohio University in some way there is no earthly reason to be in Athens.
Athens is “college town” personified. I’m not sure what mental image pops up when you think “Ohio,” but Athens may as well be in West Virginia or Kentucky, so go with those stereotypes instead. If I’m being honest Athens sucks. Hard. It’s not bad to look at, but it’s Appalachian foothills, not the Rockies Missoulians are used to. However, should God punish you by sending you to Athens, you might occupy your time thusly:
1. Court Street. It’s adjacent to campus, and probably has more bars per-capita than anyplace else in the country. Ohio University is a constant presence among the nation’s top party schools.
2. WalMarts. We’re all aware of Walmart is home to the best people-watching ever. But WalMarts in and around Athens are more “special”…there’s just something Deliverance-ey about them. I went to a WalMart in northern Kentucky once, and some methed-out twig with two eyes (good) and three teeth (bad) in a wife-beater came storming out of the store screaming into his cell phone. Stay Classy…
3. Ghosts. Athens is allegedly one of the more haunted places in the US. There’s a former lunatic asylum in town that is the thing of legend (not quite American Horror Story: Asylum, as there are no whore-nuns possessed by the devil. There is a graveyard, and a dead-body stain in an upstairs room, though). Word round the campfire is that the town’s five graveyards form a pentagram with either Wilson Hall (haunted dorm) or the aforementioned lunatic asylum at the center. Go during Halloween, as the party downtown is insane.
4) Beer & Music. If you’re from Missoula, odds are you’ve got a pallet for craft beer. Athens has one outstanding brewery: Jackie O’s. They make their own, and also bring in ‘guest brews’ from around the country (got some good Big Sky stuff out there once…felt like home!). Across from the bar is Haffa’s Records. It’s a great music store…it smells funny, is really small, has more music than shelf space, and boasts one of the finer metal selections I’ve seen outside Budget.
So there ya be. Athens is a borderline miserable place to live, but it’s not a bad spot to kill a couple days (just don’t stay longer…you’ll want to kill someone else or yourself). I leave you with some video evidence (shot for a local weekly paper: the Athens News) of a spring festival from last year. Burning houses, cops on horses, and yes, a woman jumping into the side of a car….in other words: your tax dollars at work, Athens!