Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce
Parkersburg, WV -(Ammoland.com)- What was it like to live on an island without electricity? Visitors will have the opportunity to find out during the annual Mansion by Candlelight Tour at Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10 and 11.
The Mansion by Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Friends of Blennerhassett, began in 1996 and has since become the island’s most popular annual event. Reservations are required for this lavish evening party and time trip to 1805. Attendees for this special evening event will board the sternwheeler Island Belle at Civitan Park in Belpre, Ohio, to begin the journey to the enchanted island.
According to park activities director Pam Salisbury, Blennerhassett Island takes on a new persona as the sun goes down, the electricity is all but banished and the candlelight from the hundreds of lantern boxes begin to illuminate the graveled paths, directing visitors from the sternwheeler landing to the candlelit mansion, the servant’s party, harvest supper, gift shop and other activities. There is a lot of entertainment planned on the island for everyone to enjoy.
Harman Blennerhassett, a wealthy Irish aristocrat, settled on the wilderness island in 1798 with his lovely wife, Margaret, and completed construction of their magnificent mansion in 1800. The Candlelight tours give visitors an opportunity to visit Blennerhassett Island’s recreated mansion and exciting social life of 200 years ago.
The autumn night creates a magic and the flickering candlelight cast a spell as you see costumed re-enactors, hear sounds of delightful music played by the Valley Renaissance Consort recorders, the hammered dulcimer by Scott Cain, chamber music by Melissa Hercig and ensemble, songs by the tavern tarts and salty dogs, and watch dancing and a very lively game of cards.
“The activities and entertainment recalls a bygone era that our ancestors might have experienced,” said Blennerhassett Island Supt. Matt Baker.
A picnic-style harvest supper at the island shelter of tavern ham, potatoes, green beans, dessert and a beverage is planned. The harvest supper tickets are limited and are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis and reservations for the supper are required. The concession stand will also be open each evening and offers a variety of foods and drinks.
Other activities include a horse-drawn wagon ride around the upper half of the island, gift shopping and an inviting bonfire where another spirited party is going on.
“The fortuneteller’s tent is a fun stop and where Madame Olga and Natasha may have a glimpse into the future,” said Salisbury.
The servants’ party is complete with toe-tapping music by the Buck McCumbers Band along with the West Virginia Mountain Rhythm dancers performing lively dances around the bonfire. Galen Smith, a local actor, will be telling spine-tingling ghost stories of local folklore, and the Stillwell 4-H will be making homemade apple butter.
Departure times for the island are at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. for both evenings. Mansion by Candlelight tickets and information is available by calling 304-420-4800 or stopping by the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, located on the corner of 2nd and Juliana streets in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Learn more about this historic setting at Blennerhassett Island State Park.
About the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR)
It is the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia.