Town guide: Parkersburg
Right where the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers converge is a town surrounded by colorful restaurants, breweries and historic attractions.
Swanky, upscale, relaxing. That’s Spats Restaurant & Lounge, a Parkersburg favorite that combines fine dining with warm hospitality. Step inside the Blennerhassett Hotel and browse the tempting menu, which features innovative takes on American and Continental classics. You can also sit at Spat’s outdoor patio with a beer. Splurge on Layered Guinness Chocolate Cake, signature burgers and European pasta.
If you crave authentic Middle Eastern food, check out Cham’s. This Lebanese family restaurant has authentic shawarma, chicken kebabs and possibly the best hummus around.
Der Dog Haus is unpretentious and casual— just what you expect from a basic diner. Parkersburg locals rave about their West Virginia-style dawgs. Try one! These hot dogs come with “sauce” (chili-style meat) and plenty of slaw.
One of the biggest gastronomic events in town is Taste of Parkersburg. Every spring, chefs, brewers and musicians gather at this evening festival. Reserve a table and buy tasting tickets! Some of the best wine, desserts, craft beer and cuisine will be there.
North End Tavern & Brewery is a Parkersburg stronghold. No one’s made beer as long as the NET in West Virginia, and it shows. Each month, they have 3-6 specialty brews. But don’t leave without a glass of Roedy’s Red, their multiple award-winning amber ale.
During summer, the Point Park Music Series unfolds on the first Friday of the month. All sorts of singers and musicians take the stage at this free event. Sit by the water, listen to catchy tunes and watch as evening settles over downtown Parkersburg. Make your evening even more special with a river cruise. Board the Island Belle sternwheeler, dine on country cuisine and arrive on time for music!
Tour 6 galleries at Parkersburg Art Center, the oldest of its kind in West Virginia. There’s even a section with nothing but children’s art. You can also buy local jewelry, textiles, and more in the gift shop.
J & M’s Used Bookstore showcases a wide selection of novels, literature and sci-fi classics. They have a decent selection of board games, too.
One of Parkersburg’s most attractive destinations is Blennerhassett Island, a place that’s witnessed plenty of drama. Visit Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park and learn all about the mysterious Aaron Burr conspiracy. You can also spend the night at a primitive campsite. Call and make a group reservation first, though.
Join your friends for a weekend of brain teasers and excitement. The Escape Room WV puts you in a “locked” house riddled with clues and codes. Can you solve the mystery before time’s up?
Take a walk through Julia-Ann Square, a delightful member of the National Register of Historic Places. Keep a lookout for frilly gingerbread trim, graceful columns and adorable gardens— Victorian and Edwardian homes come by the dozen here.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park has considerable 18th and 19th-century lore. Vice President Aaron Burr once stayed here while allegedly conspiring against the United States. You can tour a Palladian mansion that’s modeled after the one he used as his headquarters. Other island attractions include a sternwheeler boat, horse-drawn wagons and scenic hiking paths.
Explore Parkersburg’s past at Artcraft Studio. Mr. Borelli, the curator, has hundreds of vintage photos for you to examine. He knows his old town like no one else! Ask him about Amelia Earhart, JFK and other famous figures.
Where to stay
The Blennerhassett Hotel is your passport to a luxurious stay at Parkersburg. No room is exactly the same at this historic place, which boasts Old World elegance and atmosphere. Amenities include the Starbucks coffee bar, atrium, library and sophisticated restaurant. Bring Fido, too; the “Blenny” is dog friendly.
Parkersburg also has a range of hotel chains.