PARKERSBURG - Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park will offer a chance to step back in time to experience an autumn celebration as it might once have been done in the first years of the 19th century.
Tickets are now available for the annual "Blennerhassett Island by Night - The Mansion by Candlelight" on Oct. 7 and 8. Tickets for the boat ride, wagon ride and special mansion tour are $25 for adults and $17 for children ages 3-12.
Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 304-420-4800 or visiting the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History at Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg. Information is also available online at www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com.
Visitors will board the Island Belle at Civitan Park in Belpre. The event will be held rain or shine and tickets are non-refundable.
Any unsold boat and mansion tickets will be available each evening at the Blennerhassett Museum, said special events coordinator Pam Salisbury.
Wagon rides will be available, weather permitting. Tickets for the harvest supper which will be served on Blennerhassett Island are separate from the boat ride and mansion tour and are $15 a person, with reservations required by Oct. 5.
Brunch on the Island
The final "Brunch with Margaret Blennerhassett" will be Sept. 22 on Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.
It features a 10 a.m. sternwheeler ride to Blennerhassett Island where visitors are met by Margaret Blennerhassett, portrayed by living history re-enactor Debra Conner who greets and invites them for brunch just as she might have done in 1798.
The event provides a glimpse into the 18th-century frontier life she and Harman experienced while living on the island.
The visit also includes a tour of the Blennerhassett Museum, Blennerhassett Mansion and a narrated wagon ride.
The cost is $39.95 per person and reservations are required.
For more information, contact 304-420-4800 or go online to www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com.
The concession stand will also be open each evening and offers a variety of foods and drink.
The Mansion by Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Friends of Blennerhassett, began in 1996 and has become an annual event. As visitors board the sternwheeler at Civitan Park, they begin their journey back to the year 1805 and become cast in the role of guest at Margaret and Harman Blennerhassett's island home and estate.
Harman Blennerhassett was a wealthy Irish aristocrat who settled on the wilderness island near what later became Parkersburg in 1789 with his wife, Margaret. The original mansion was completed in 1800. The current mansion is a replica built in the 1970s, but includes many period and original pieces.
While daylight tours of the Blennerhassett Mansion are available throughout the summer, only a few glimpses are offered of the restored mansion after dark each year. It will be lit by candlelight and decorated in neoclassical style with flowers and greenery.
"The island is absolutely beautiful and individuals attending Mansion by Candlelight will feel like they have stepped back 200 years in time," said Salisbury. "This evening is guaranteed to be the most fun you will have had in a long time."
Docents in period dress will welcome visitors, who will be able to watch dances and gentlemen playing cards. There will also be a servants' party with a bonfire, dancing with the West Virginia Pride Dancers, music by bluegrass band The Richards Brothers, apple butter making by Stillwell 4-H Club and ghost stories by Galen Smith.
The harvest supper will be offered at 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. both evenings with advance reservations, which are required by Oct. 5. The island gift shop will also be open and will offer its regular items.
Boats will depart to Blennerhassett Island at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. and will return to Belpre at 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 p.m.