Group Travel: A Step Back In Time
Travel to the city where the sternwheeler once reigned as queen of the mighty Ohio River—Parkersburg, West Virginia. Today, Parkersburg has returned to its roots as a riverboat town and the sternwheelers reign once again.
Begin by exploring the Blennerhassett Museum for the history of this area dating from a 12th century Native American Village, before boarding a sternwheeler for a leisurely cruise to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. The Island, located in a bend of the Ohio River, was once home to Harman Blennerhassett and the base of his planned new county with Aaron Burr in 1806. The focal point is the reconstructed 1798 mansion where Blennerhassett and Burr planned their treason. The interior is furnished with period pieces and open to the public.
Fort Boreman Historical Park is the site of a Civil War fort on a hilltop overlooking the scenic valley formed by the confluence of the Little Kanawha and Ohio Rivers at Parkersburg. Built by Union troops to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad terminal and the key commercial river facilities in the valley, Fort Boreman was named for West Virginia’s first governor, Parkersburg citizen Arthur I. Boreman.
For a tour of the Julia-Ann Square Historic District, it’s time to discover another side of Parkersburg, the haunted side. Visitors are often surprised that the upper historical district of Parkersburg has some of the most elegant homes in West Virginia, including a variation of styles reminiscent of both New England and the southern United States. The earlier houses date from the early 1800s, through Federal, Colonial and Victorian styles. With such mysterious allure, many of the houses are said to be haunted with a host of ghosts and other bizarre unfolding’s of the supernatural. Naturally, this section of Parkersburg is richest in ghostly lore. Inside many of the palatial homes are actual visitations from the spirit realm that continue to reach out to the living to express their unrest. The houses visited are private homes and are not open to the public.
Examine history today at the Oil and Gas Museum with artifacts including tools, engines and equipment used during the oil boom of 1860 – 1930. The oil and gas industries were one of the state’s most important and early industries.
Henderson Hall, a pre-Civil War mansion, is the best-preserved and most significant example of Italianate Villa style surviving in the state and contains the original furnishings.
Finish the evening with a tour and reception at the Parkersburg Arts Center. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied at Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier, where there is something for everyone. As a West Virginia Farm Winery, Wine Tree Vineyards operates a Vineyard in addition to the Winery and grow grapes on the farm. In fact, all of the production, bottling, and processing is done on the farm. You will experience the uniqueness of WineTree. We have a fine wine for everyone’s taste. After dinner, the Smoot Theatre, built in 1926, will provide a “dessert tour” and the evening’s entertainment.
After breakfast, depart for home with memories of the “Country Roads” of West Virginia.