Island tour

Garden-focused Blennerhassett Island Tour | News, Sports, Jobs

PARKERSBURG – People will be able to learn more about the Blennerhassetts’ garden on Blennerhassett Island on a future visit.

Many people may not know that Blennerhassetts had an orangery containing exotic fruit trees on the island. Their famous Pleasure or Flower Garden was 2 1/3 acres in size and the 1802 dairy produced thousands of pounds of cheese for sale downriver.

In a new outdoor programme, their English gardener, “Mr. Pierre Taylor”, will explain to visitors to the island the gardens and grounds he oversaw for the Blennerhassett family and which helped establish the island’s fame.This new educational tour will take place on Saturday August 14th and Saturday August 28th, starting at 12:45 p.m. and again at 2:45 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults.

“Most guests on the island don’t realize that this estate had many buildings and activities that supported the Blennerhassett family’s livelihood and way of life,” said Martha Hartley, one of the event organizers.

“Visitors often don’t realize how elaborate this estate was for its time here in the Ohio Valley when most other people lived here in log cabins.”

The program begins with a first-person introduction to Mr. Peter Taylor, the gardener, played by Dick Hartley, one of the event organizers, in costume. As Blennerhassett volunteer educators, Dick and Martha Hartley researched and developed this new program. During this tour, participants will learn which gardens and other period buildings existed as part of the Blennerhassett Estate in 1806. Their actual locations and some possible locations will be explored. Details and characteristics of the orchard, vegetable garden and pleasure garden will be shared.

Those on the tour will be able to learn about the exotic foods provided by the Orangerie for the Blennerhassett table, the domestic uses and functions of many of the estate’s outbuildings and much more, organizers said.

“We are excited about this educational offering. Visitors to our park have another opportunity to learn more about the Blennerhassetts and the island,” said Craig Pyles, park superintendent.

A program document with garden renderings will be provided. The program lasts approximately one hour. There will be chairs under the shade of the trees at each stop on the tour. Space is limited and this is a rain or shine event, but the mansion porches will be available during a heavy downpour.

The $5 fee applies to the Special Gardens and Grounds Tour only. The round trip boat ride is $12 for adults and $4 for children.

People can call the Blennerhassett Regional History Museum at 304-420-4800 for more information and to reserve tickets.

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