PARKERSBURG - Blennerhassett 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. 12-13. 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 Oct. 9 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.
Shannon Miller, right, plays the ghost of Margaret Blennerhassett while standing with Margaret’s daughter, played by Laci Lane, left, behind the island mansion during last year’s Mansion by Candlelight event.
Instead of the normal docking point at Point Park in Parkersburg, visitors will board the Island Bell 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. The island gift shop will be open and offering its regular items. The concession stand will also be open each evening and offers a variety of foods and drink.
In addition, a harvest supper will be held both nights. Tickets for the harvest supper are separate from the boat ride and mansion tour and are $15 a person, with reservations required by Oct. 9. The harvest supper will be offered at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. both evenings.
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.
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, bluegrass music, apple butter making by Stillwell 4-H Club and ghost stories by Galen Smith.
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.