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 Saturday and Sunday.
Space is limited. Reservations are required by calling (304) 420-4800 or visiting the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History at Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg. Tickets for the boat ride and special mansion tour are $20 for adults and $12 for children ages 3 to 12.
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.
Wagon rides will be available, weather permitting. Advance tickets for the wagon rides are $4, while wagon rides without advance reservation will be $5. Tickets for the harvest supper, which will be served on Blennerhassett Island, are separate from the boat ride and mansion tour and are $13 a person, with reservations required by Tuesday.
The concession stand will also be open each evening and offers a variety of foods and drink to satisfy your appetite.
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, 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 Tuesday. The island gift shop will also be open and will offer its regular items.
Boats will depart to Blennerhassett Island at 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. and will return to Belpre at 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 p.m.