Leiann Stewart, a long-time resident of Troy and Miami County, recently took over the executive director spot for the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau and says she loves telling people about the place she calls home.

“I love Miami County,” Stewart says. “I have worked here for 20 years and it’s just wonderful to see the collective efforts of all our communities and organizations working to share our story and why we love it so much here.”

The 410-square-mile area just north of Dayton and Montgomery County includes the cities of Covington, Piqua, Tipp City, West Milton and the county seat of Troy. Smaller communities in Miami County include Bethel, Bradford and Laura. With slightly more than 100,000 people living in the county, most people think of the area as a collection of small, sleepy towns. But Stewart says there is much more to see and do than people realize.

“We have some great communities that have charming downtown historic areas,” Stewart says. “And we have some fantastic local dining and wonderful shops and boutiques that feature clothing, food and gifts for everyone.”

Miami County has a rich history. The WACO Air Museum and Learning Center in Troy is housed in the former WACO Aircraft Co. building. In the late 1920s, WACO was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country.

“We are excited to be part of the aviation heritage and history in this area,” Stewart says.

History buffs will love visiting the Johnston Farm and Indian Agency in Piqua, which features a living history Indian farm and a re-created mule driven boat that carries passengers back in time. Stewart also says nature lovers will find many opportunities for outdoor fun in the county.

“We have many hiking trails and a fantastic park district,” Stewart says. “Our parks are familiar to everyone—Charleston Falls and Stillwater Reserve are so beautiful and we are lucky to have two rivers here.”

Besides kayaking and canoeing, in the summer months visitors can also sleep in a floating tent on the Great Miami River. SmithFly, located in Troy, created the world’s first ever floating tent. Known as “shoal tents,” the experience is a unique “bucket list item” for any adventurer.

Activities abound year-round but the summer season kicks off in earnest annually with the Troy Strawberry Festival, always the first full weekend in June. Known for the famous strawberry doughnuts, the festival annually attracts around 200,000 people to Miami County.

“It’s our largest festival by far,” says Stewart.

In 2020, the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure will be returning to Miami County and kicking off in Sidney. Troy will host the estimated cyclists June 24-26 and Stewart says the planning is underway.

“So many people take for granted what they have in their own backyards,” Stewart says. “It’s our job to share what we have here with everyone and help them realize that was we have is fantastic. There is a lot to see and do in these wonderful places.”

For more information about Miami County visit homegrowngreat.com