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2016 Gardeners’ Day Out – Blennerhassett Island, WV

Blennerhassett Mansion at Blennerhassett Island State Park in Parkersburg, WV.
Blennerhassett Mansion at Blennerhassett Island State Park in Parkersburg, WV. (photo courtesy of Blennerhassett)

Cruising down the river, time-traveling, in “Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” that will be Gardeners’ Day Out 2016 on Saturday, July 9! Join us as we cross the Ohio River to scenic Parkersburg, West Virginia, for a day of timeless beauty with a turbulent past.

Blennerhassett Island spans back 13,000 years ago when Ice Age Native American hunting tribes lived there. White settlers began to flock to the valley in the 1780s and Irish aristocrats Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett built a magnificent estate. Harman’s entanglement in a mysterious enterprise with Aaron Burr resulted in President Jefferson accusing both of treason. You can be part of the island’s guest list, which has included George Rogers Clark, Johnny Appleseed, Henry Clay, Walt Whitman and Gore Vidal. We will view the famous Stahl prehistoric Indian and archeological artifacts at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History before boarding the Island Belle sternwheeler for a scenic cruise to the estate.

stern

Embarking there, we will be treated to brunch with the lady of the mansion, “Margaret Blennerhassett”, who will regale us with tales of the glory and tragedy experienced by the family. Her friends will continue the story on your guided tour of the restored mansion. A narrated horse-drawn wagon ride around the island offers views of the lush hardwood groves and fields providing habitats of white-tail deer, waterfowl and songbirds. The 1802 Putnam-Houser home, Maple Grove, which was brought across the river by barge in 1986, is part of our tour.

Extras available on the island include bicycle rentals, self-guided hikes, a refreshment stand and gift shop with local pottery, arts, books and garden items. Following a half-hour cruise to the mainland, those who wish may make a ten-minute drive to Wine Tree Vineyards, where award-winning vintners grow, ferment and bottle varieties you can try free samples. Their Wine Selection Guide and staff offer suggestions through a sometimes confusing process. Restaurants, shopping and hotels are available in Parkersburg and nearby Marietta, Ohio. Cost for the day is $50. Registration deadline is June 30. NOTE: This event is not a bus trip. Those attending will provide their own transportation to the site in Parkersburg. Registrants will receive an email confirmation, agenda and any other details.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Please complete a form for each person. Deadline: June 30.

Name: ________________________________
Address:______________________________
City/State:____________________________
Zip:________ Phone:____________________
Email:__________________________________
Garden Club:__________________________
Club Code:________ Region:____________

$50 fee includes museum, mansion and home admission, boat and wagon rides, brunch,
parking, and winery tour.

Make checks payable to OAGC:  Total Due: $_______
Mail check and registration forms to:

Suzy Parker, Gardeners’ Day Out Chair
Box 802, Syracuse, OH 45779
Email: sparker@oagc.org
Phone: 740-992-5555 or (mobile): 740-508-2494

Looking for more to do in the Parkersburg, West Virginia area?

Point Place Marketplace:  113 Ann Street, Parkersburg.  Downtown farmers’ market, live entertainment some Fridays 5-7;  open 10-6 Thursday-Saturday.

Fort Boorman:  Overlooking the city and offering panoramic views of the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers, great for photography, picnics, short hikes.

Julianna Historic District:  self-guided walking tour of five blocks of Victorian homes and gardens, circa 1800-1900s, guidebook available at local motels and the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 350 Seventh St.

Mulberry Lane Country Store:  eclectic shopping with Americana and country décor, crafts.
Pat Catan’s:  Supplies for floral and decorative arts; Park Shopping Center.

Blennerhassett Hotel:  On the Historic Register, with quaint décor, offers lodging, restaurant and bar, outdoor plaza.

Oil and Gas Museum:

Holl’s  Chocolatier:  Watch handmade chocolates, covered strawberries being crafted in the store.

Bob’s Market:  across the Ohio River in Belpre, Ohio.  Homegrown annuals, trees, shrubs, perennials, candy, produce, gardening accessories.
Middleton Doll Company, once in Belpre is no longer in business.

Berdines’ 5 and Dime: oldest dime store still in operation, incredible variety of old-time goods; about 30 minutes east of Parkersburg, in Harrisville.

North Bend State Park:  offers a lodge, camping, hiking, nature programs, activities; about 20 minutes east of Parkersburg.

Henderson Hall:  historic plantation home, open to tour; north between Parkersburg and Williamstown/Marietta.

Fenton Art Glass Factory in Williamstown is no longer in business

Marietta, about 20 minutes north, has interesting shops with antiques and collectibles.  Also,
Rossi Pasta:  watch varieties of homemade noodles being made; pasta and  sauces, gift baskets for purchase.  “The Castle” historic home open for tours.
Campus Martius Museum displays artifacts and a log cabin from the settling of Ohio’s first city.
Ohio River Museum displays boats and artifacts detailing the importance of the river.
Lafayette Hotel:  Historic riverfront hotel, offers lodging and restaurant.
River City Farmers’ Market:  open at 8:00 am Saturdays.