Group tours visiting Greater Parkersburg, West Virginia, will find no shortage of itinerary activities. Located in the Mid-Ohio Valley region of the state, with the majestic Ohio River as a backdrop, Parkersburg offers visitors history and heritage attractions in a beautiful setting.
“The Greater Parkersburg area offers unique and engaging destinations including West Virginia’s most unique state park, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park; Henderson Hall, one of America’s finest and most complete historic homes; Julia-Ann Square, the state’s largest residential historic district; and the state Oil and Gas Museum, which highlights the rise of the energy industry and its role in the industrial revolution,” said Mark Lewis, president and CEO of Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Engaging attractions, easy access, a variety of hotels for every taste and budget, plus group tour friendly restaurants make the Parkersburg area a great group tour destination.”
At Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, located on a small island in the Ohio River, groups will discover an island paradise with a dramatic past and scandalous backstory. In 1805, the island’s Palladian mansion became headquarters for Aaron Burr’s military expedition to the Southwest and his treasonous plot to create a new country independent of the United States. Visitors access the island via sternwheeler riverboat from Point Park. Groups can enjoy tours of the grounds and mansion, as well as horse-drawn carriage rides. The island is open seasonally from May through October.
During a visit to Henderson Hall, groups will journey back to the early American Victorian era. The hall is listed on the National Register of Historical Places as a historic district unto itself; the mansion encompasses 8,000 square feet of space with 29 rooms and contains priceless artifacts, antiques and furnishings. Occupied by the Henderson family for five generations, the estate was bequeathed to the Oil and Gas Historical Association in 2007 after the passing of the last living ancestor. Group tours of the mansion and grounds can be arranged.
On walking tours of Julia-Ann Square, groups can admire the architecture of some of the 126 homes within the largest and oldest historic district in West Virginia. The self-guided Historic Walking Tour features 49 houses and a historic church that tourgoers can view (from the outside only, as the homes are private residences).
The nationally recognized Oil & Gas Museum tells the story of the discovery of petroleum and natural gas in the Appalachian Basin, the largest reserve of oil and gas in the world. The museum, housed in a former hardware store, traces the roots of America’s oil and gas industry through artifacts like pumps, tools and engines, as well as historical photos.
“We hope groups leave Greater Parkersburg with a deeper appreciation of the unique history of our area and a satisfaction with every aspect of their experience,” Lewis said. “It is the perfect destination for traditional motorcoach groups.”
The Greater Parkersburg CVB tailors group experiences with suggested itineraries, local street maps and directions, step-on welcomes and tour guides, restaurant recommendations, special programs and sales builders (including photos and brochures).
“The CVB will soon relocate to a site near Blennerhassett Museum and Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, which will better serve group tours and provide ample bus parking,” Lewis said. In addition to heritage and history attractions, groups visiting Greater Parkersburg can experience outdoor recreation, handcrafted art, one-of-a-kind shopping, lively entertainment and exceptional dining.
Main Image: Blennerhassett Mansion, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
Credit: Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau