Blennerhassett Island opens May 1
PARKERSBURG — Beginning May 1, the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park will open for the 2019 season as visitors begin taking sternwheeler rides to visit the restored mansion and tour the historic island.
Park officials said the new season will see the continuance of several popular program, including specialty cruises, nature hikes and other activities on the island.
Returning for another year is a program for children called the Hands-On History day camp program during the final weekend in July. The program will feature classes and activities for third through sixth-graders at the museum and on the island.
With the opening of the island on May 1, visitors can board the Island Belle Sternwheeler at Point Park in downtown Parkersburg for the trips to and from Blennerhassett Island.
Boat ride tickets will be sold at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History at Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg, two blocks from the docking area at the city floodwall.
The rates are: museum admission $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 3-12; boat ride, $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-12; mansion tour, $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-12; and wagon ride, $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for children.
A couple of discounts will be available to visitors. Sundays are Senior Sundays with seniors age 60 and above getting $1 off boat tickets and $2 off museum admission. A military discount will give $1 off boat tickets every day for active military members, as well as $2 off museum admission.
Beginning May 1 and running through early September, the island will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The hours will change at various times throughout the season. The island is usually closed on Mondays, but will be open on Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays. The museum will be open on Mondays by appointment only.
For information or directions, call 304-420-4800 or online.
The main feature of Blennerhassett Island is the reconstructed Blennerhassett Mansion, which is furnished with many artifacts owned by Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett or coming from that period.
Other artifacts and items can be seen on display at the Blennerhassett Museum, which features three stories of exhibits, a video display telling the story of the Blennerhassetts and a gift shop.
Visits to the island provide visitors with the opportunity to take mansion tours guided by docents in period clothing and take narrated wagon rides.
There are also bicycle rentals, a gift shop and a concession stand. A volunteer-operated golf cart is also available for those with mobility issues.
The Hardly Able Carriage Co., owned by John Smith of Ellenboro, W.Va., will return for another year of offering the wagon rides on the island.
The Island Belle is also available for charters when not involved in transporting visitors between Parkersburg and the island.
Beginning in May, Blennerhassett Island will also bring back some popular programs, including Birds of Prey programs, various dinner and specialty cruises and other activities. In July, the park will be bringing back its Friday Night Island Frolic on July 19.
The first special event of the 2019 season will be the annual Rendezvous on the River from May 8-11. Pioneer re-enactors will set up camp on the island and show how early settlers and pioneers lived with authentic camps, demonstrations and period dress.
Like the mansion, the historic Putnam-Houser House, which was transported to the island from Belpre, is open for tours Fridays through Sundays this summer. Tours are free and will be guided by docents. A donation box is available with proceeds going to help maintain the historic home.
More volunteers are always needed on the island and in the museum. Volunteers can work in the gift shops in both places or learn to be docents and give tours of the mansion. For mansion docents, training and period clothing is provided.
For more information about Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park or the Blennerhassett Museum, call 304-420-4800.