America’s history comes alive at Blennerhassett Island

Come to the Ohio River’s most famous island and step back in time!

Located in the middle of the Ohio River, Blennerhassett Island is a magical place where history comes to life. Here, you can walk through palatial mansion halls that rival George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and spend a day in the life of Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett as if you were part of the story. Once you step foot on the island, you’ll be transported back to the 18th century and you won’t want to come back!

Blennerhassett Island is a great place for a family trip where you and the kids can explore and learn about our state and country’s history. If you’ve never been before or want to learn more, here’s everything you need to know to plan one of the best family day trips in West Virginia!

“The most beautiful home in the west”

Blennerhassett Island’s gorgeous Palladian mansion and museum is visited by 40,000 people each year, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in West Virginia. But getting to the island is only half the fun. Hop aboard the Island Belle Sternwheeler, which departs Point Park in Parkersburg on the top of every hour, and enjoy a leisurely ride back in time on the charming, steam-driven paddle boat. Travel pro tip: Purchase a package ticket, which includes the boat ride, museum and mansion tour and a horse-drawn wagon ride around the island. Make sure to check the sternwheeler schedule.

Once you’re on the island, take time to explore the park grounds and enjoy the beautiful Blennerhassett Mansion. This replica of the original mansion is a living relic from America’s past and will have you in wonder for hours. Considered the most beautiful home in the west when the Blennerhassett’s occupied it in the 18th century, we still think it’s deserving of that title.

Learn about history by experiencing it

Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett were wealthy Irish aristocrats who knew how to throw a party. Their beautiful mansion made Blennerhassett Island the Ohio River’s most popular destination. But the island was more than a place to mingle. The mansion was also headquarters for Aaron Burr’s alleged treasonous plot to create a new country independent of the United States.

The original mansion burned down but a reconstructed replica was built on the original foundation. The island’s history is preserved and you’ll see it all come to life on the living tours you and your family can enjoy at the park. Plan a trip and learn more about the island’s fascinating history.

“Everyone needs to see this little-known chapter of American history. Most of your friends will nod when you mention Aaron Burr and his role in America’s past. But ask them about Harmon Blennerhassett and watch the puzzled look on their faces. This island recreates a portion of the incredible story of these two men. Touring the rebuilt mansion alone is worth the price of admission.”

— bimmer1, TripAdvisor reviewer

Blennerhassett Island is a great place for a day trip

Spend the day at Blennerhassett Island or make this park a stop on your spring or summer tour of West Virginia’s beautiful mid-Ohio valley. If you need a place to stay the night, check out the lodge at nearby North Bend State Park. This park also has several campsites and cozy cabins and is known for its outdoor recreation and access to the North Bend Rail Trail.

While you’re in town, use your package ticket to visit the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History in Parkersburg. This museum has three floors of historic artifacts and memorabilia, including prehistoric weapons, jewelry and odd items such as a “burning glass.” While you’re there, visit the gift shop for fine art and West Virginia crafts.

For a special night out, plan on attending a dinner cruise around Blennerhassett Island on the Island Belle Sternwheeler. Scheduled on June 7, July 5, August 2 and September 6, these cruises include a country-style dinner and cost $27 for adults and $21 for kids. Once you finish dinner, you’ll be returned to Point Park for a free concert.

Big and small, high and low, West Virginia State Parks are home to your fondest memories and experiences yet to come. Visit Blennerhassett Island and you’ll find a new reason to love Almost Heaven. Plan your trip today!

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