No visit to Parkersburg, W. Va. is complete without an island adventure. And although many islands dot the Ohio River, the most interesting one may be Blennerhassett Island, the home of Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.
Blennerhassett is a verdant spot in the middle of the Ohio River with an imposing mansion carved out of the wilderness. Named for an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, Harman Blennerhassett, who settled there with his wife Margaret in 1798, the couple built a Palladian-style mansion in the midst of landscaped grounds. The estate included a two-acre flower garden and was the most beautiful home west of the Alleghenies. The mansion and its grounds have been lovingly reproduced, complete with period décor. It’s open to the public from May through October.
Learning the story of Harman’s relationship with the charismatic rogue Aaron Burr starts with the pleasant 20-minute ride on the Island Belle sternwheeler from Point Park. After Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, he befriended the Blennerhassetts. In 1806 Harman became entangled in a military scheme based on the island where, historians believe, Burr was attempting to raise an army to invade northern Mexico (present-day Texas.)
President Jefferson accused Burr and Harmon of treason and ordered them arrested. Harman fled the island but was captured and thrown into the penitentiary. Although Burr was tried and acquitted and Harman was eventually released, both men were ruined. The mansion burned down in 1811.
Today’s visitors enjoy tours of the mansion and a restored 1802 home, Maple Shade; horse-drawn wagon rides; a concession stand, gift shop, picnic shelters and bicycle rentals.
Article by: Sarah Jaquay
Blennerhassett Island is open:
Tuesday-Sunday May 1 through Sept. 2, 2018
Thursday-Sunday Sept. 3-Oct. 28, 2018
3:00 p.m. Arrive in town – first stop Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier for a few sweet treats
4:30 p.m. Check-in to hotel
6: 00 p.m. Dinner (local favorites include Chams Lebanese or Colombo’s’ Italian Restaurant)
9:30 a.m. Explore Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History and pickup island tickets
11:00 a.m. Catch the first sternwheeler ride to Blennerhassett Island at Point Park
12:00 p.m. Grab lunch at the snack stand and walk the grounds or rent a bicycle
1:00 p.m. Tour the mansion
2:00 p.m. Enjoy a wagon ride
3:30 p.m. Catch the sternwheeler back to Parkersburg
6:00 p.m. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant (Parkersburg Brewing Company or Spats)
10:00 a.m. Shop till you drop! Explore unique boutique and locally owned shops such as Mulberry
Lane Country Story, Scots Marketplace, Point Park Marketplace, The Cook’s Shop, Rossi
Pasta, and more!
12:30 p.m. Grab a bite to eat at Third Street Deli or The Coffee Bar in downtown Parkersburg before
heading for home
Interested in building a weekend around a special event? Check out what’s coming up in the area! https://www.greaterparkersburg.com/events-calendar/