Explore this historic island mansion, lit only by candles

Off the banks of the Ohio River in Parkersburg, a majestic neoclassical mansion raises from the river, surrounded by flowers and lush greenery.

The story of Blennerhassett Island, nicknamed “Eden” by its original owners, is an intriguing tale, set in young America, of lavish parties, secret plots, luxurious mansions— and some light treason.

The Blennerhassett Island mansion was completed in 1800 after Harman Blennerhassett settled the wilderness near what later became Parkersburg. The mansion was recreated in the 1970s and houses period and original pieces. You can take daylight tours of the mansion and surrounding island grounds during the summer, but during the annual “Mansion by Candlelight” in October, you can catch a glimpse of the restored mansion after dark.Colonial actress at Blennerhassett Island State Park, WV

Ride the sternwheel ferry across the Ohio River and journey back to the year 1805 to join the crowd of guests at the home of wealthy socialites Margaret and Harman Blennerhassett. The magnificent mansion is lit only by candles; modern electricity has been banished for the evening.

The mansion guides, dressed in period costumes, welcome you to explore the house. Enjoy period dances, card games and a stop by the fortune teller tent. Live music fills the halls with the classical sounds of recorders, a hammered dulcimer and chamber music.

What would a fine party be without a fine feast? The harvest dinner showcases the fresh flavors of the season with a hearty country touch and all the dressings (separate tickets required). After your meal, relax with some some fresh air across the manicured grounds on a horse-drawn wagon tour.

Once you’ve indulged in all the upscale entertainment of the main mansion, join the separate servants’ party for a bonfire, dancing, bluegrass music, apple butter making and blacksmithing demonstrations. Gather ‘round the fire for spooky tales and folklore about the island.

Turn your mansion escape into a weekend with overnight packages at The Blennerhassett Hotel in mainland Parkersburg. You’ll get accommodations in the stunning hotel, tickets to the mansion (including your boat ride and a carriage ride) and credit at any of the dining and retail areas of the hotel.

If the candle tour leaves you anxious for more after-hour adventures, check out the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours!

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This post was last updated on March 16, 2022