Parkersburg is a city of 33,099 people (as of 2000) in West Virginia. Founded in 1820, the city was originally named Newport, which was changed to Parkersburg in 1810. The city is situated where the Little Kanawha River meets the Ohio river; the town of Belpre lies just across the river in Ohio. Among Parkersburg's more famous residents is Morgan Spurlock, director of the 2004 film Super Size Me; the city's film connections continued with the 2006 film Bubble, which was filmed in the area and starred local residents. The area also has a long history with oil drilling, and is arguably the home of the first documented commercial use of oil in the US.
The nearest airport is the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, route 31 off route 2 N, 304-464-5113, . On weekdays, US Airways has four daily flights to and from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Easy Rider Bus System, 520 Juliana Street, 304-422-4100, . Buses run 5:50 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday; no service on Sundays. Operated by the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority, serving the Parkersburg and Vienna area. Base fare is 50 cents, with 30-day passes available for $20.
You can also call a yellow taxi at 304-422-4000.
Blennerhassett Island, 137 Juliana Street, 304-420-4800, . Island open from May to October, museum open year-round; check website for hours. An Irish aristocrat built a mansion here in 1798, before being accused of treason and briefly imprisoned. The original mansion burned down in 1811, but the foundation was rediscovered in 1973 and has been carefully reconstructed. Features a museum with an orientation video and three floors of archaeological and historical exhibits, horse-drawn wagon rides, and tours of Blennerhasset Mansion. Visitors can also go picnicking, bike riding, or take nature walks. Allow three hours for a complete tour, including the 20-minute sternwheeler ride to and from the island. Adult admission prices are $2 (museum), $8 (boat ride), $3 (mansion tour) and $5 (wagon ride).
Oil and Gas Museum, 119 Third Street, 304-485-5446 or 304-428-8015, . Open 12 pm to 5 pm Sunday through Friday, and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. Covering the history of the oil and gas industry in West Virginia and Ohio with videos, pictures, interactive displays and artifacts - from manufacturing and transportation, to its effects on local wealth and culture, and the resulting impact on state founding and the Civil War.
Julia-Ann Square, 304-428-0124, . A district of historic homes being preserved and restored. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the area, or a guided tour in mid-October and early December.
Parkersburg Art Center, 725 Market Street, 304-485-3859, . Art exhibits, classes and workshops, and guided tours. On-site gift shop.
North Bend State Park, off WV-31 near Cairo, 304-643-2931, . Fishing streams, swimming pool, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking trails, including the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail. The park has a 305-acre lake for fishing and boating, as well as carriage rides on weekends from May until October. Lodge with on-site restaurant, cabins and campground accommodations available. On-site gift shop.
Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival, city park, 304-428-4405 or 304-428-1552. Held every June. Three days of entertainment, cuisine, education and artistic expressions from many cultures.
Parkersburg Homecoming Festival, Second Street and Ann Street, 304-422-9970, . Held every third Friday in August. A parade, arts and crafts booths, a flea market, pageants, a talent show, a wacky raft race, a rubber ducky derby and a chess tournament.
Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival, city park, 304-424-3457. Held every September. Quality food, entertainment and approximately 200 booths displaying wares from local and regional artists and craftsmen.
West Virginia Honey Festival, city park, 304-428-5835 or 304-428-1130. Held every September to educate the public on beekeeping, honey and the uses of honey. Baking contest and auction, entertainment, concessions, arts and crafts and a beard of live bees.
Volcano Days Festival
The area newspaper is the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, 519 Juliana Street, 304-485-1891 or 800-642-1997, .
Ohio Valley University
West Virginia University at Parkersburg, 300 Campus Drive, 304-424-8000 or 800-WVA-WVUP, . A regional campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, founded in 1961 and offering a blend of certificate and associate programs as well as select bachelor's degrees in applied technology, elementary education, business education, bachelor of arts, nursing, criminal justice and social work.
Berdine's Five and Dime, 106 N Court Street in Harrisville, 304-643-2217. Closed Sundays. America's oldest operating five-and-dime store, selling tin toys, bulk candies, practical and unusual items from yesteryear since 1908.
Fenton Art Glass, 700 Elizabeth Street in Williamstown, 304-375-6122, . Founded in 1905, Fenton is the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the United States, known for its innovative glass colors as well as hand-painted decorations on pressed and blown glassware. Gift shop and museum on-site. Free factory tours available from 8:15 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.
Holl's Swiss Chocolatier, 2001 Grand Central Ave in Vienna, 304-295-6576 or 800-842-4512, . Fresh, handcrafted artisan Swiss chocolates created daily in small batches using only the finest ingredients.
Lee Middleton Original Dolls, 1301 Washington Boulevard in Belpre, 740-423-1481 or 800-233-7479, . Open 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday; between March and December, the store is also open Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm. Producing vinyl baby dolls with realistic faces for over 25 years. Factory tours available.
Made in West Virginia, Main Street in Cairo, 304-628-3321. Furniture, paintings, pottery, glass, books, jewelry, homemade food, musical instruments and more, created by some of West Virginia’s best artists and artisans.
Mulberry Lane Country Store, 4009 Emerson Avenue, 304-428-1949, . Open 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, and 12 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. West Virginia's largest craft store, with 5,500 square feet of unique folk art, gifts, collectibles and home furnishings.
R. C. Marshall Hardware Co., US-50 near Cairo, . Open 10 am to 5 pm , daily from Memorial Day through October; closed Mondays and Tuesdays from November until Memorial Day. A 1902 oil-boom store with original tin ceilings and an immense array of vintage showcases filled with 1890’s supplies. Offers oil lamps and parts, camping and biking supplies, cast iron ware, quality book, farm and garden supplies, railroad memorabilia, handmade baskets, hard to find quality hand tools, and other uncommon items.
Scenes of West Virginia, 1709-11 St. Marys Avenue, 304-428-0772 or 877-987-2363, . Offers a wide Variety of items made in West Virginia, including calendars, souvenirs, books, Fenton Art Glass, and hillbilly novelties.
Trans Allegheny Books, 725 Green Street, 304-422-4499. West Virginia's largest used bookstore, located in the restored 1905 Carnegie Library building, with over 500,000 used books and more than 1,000 new WV titles.
Williamstown Antique Mall, 801 Highland Ave in Williamstown, 304-375-6315. Finest selection of unique antiques and collectibles in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Grand Central Mall, 100 Grand Central Avenue in Vienna, 304-485-4464, . Open 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, and 12 pm to 6 pm on Sunday. Over 90 shops and restaurants.