For groups seeking a historical tour with incredible views and outdoor activities, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park in Parkersburg, West Virginia, is a great spot to explore.
There, groups can take horse-drawn wagon rides, rent bicycles, visit the gift shop and tour the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, the Blennerhassett Mansion and the Putnam-Houser House.
To get over to the island, visitors get to ride a sternwheeler across the Ohio River.
“Groups seem to enjoy doing both the wagon and mansion tours,” said Miles Evenson, superintendent. “Both provide history about the island and the Blennerhassetts. Groups also seem to enjoy eating lunch on the island because they can get a great view of the river while potentially watching barges go by.”
Museum tours are self-guided; however, mansion tours are guided and with docents dressed in period clothing.
When constructed by Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett in 1800, the Blennerhassett Mansion was known as the Ohio Valley’s most beautiful private residence. The mansion boasted 7,000 square feet of living space, making it one of the United States’ largest homes.
Unfortunately, the mansion was lost in a fire in 1811. Reconstructed from 1984-1991 by the state of West Virginia, the mansion became the centerpiece of the new Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. Today, over 50,000 visitors tour the recreated mansion to learn its history and story.
At the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, groups will discover three floors of historical relics and objects from the Ohio Valley’s past. Exhibits include prehistoric Indian tools, jewelry, weapons, household items, oil paintings and military paraphernalia.
“We hope that groups have an enjoyable time and also get a better sense for the history of the island and the Blennerhassetts,” Evenson said.
Groups of 10 or more receive group rates if reserving tours more than 72 hours in advance. Motorcoach parking is available behind the museum.
For more information, call 304-420-4800 or visit blennerhassettislandstatepark.com.