Monday, August 19, 2013

Being Low Key in Parkersburg WV

An uneventful airplane trip brought me to Pittsburgh where I collected my rental car - a Chevy Cruze - and then promptly got lost.  My Garmin took forever to find the satellite signals and was absolutely no help whatsoever getting me out of the airport and onto the right road heading in the right direction.  Finally...several miles down the road, the Garmin got a signal and then immediately told me to make a U-turn.  I was heading in the wrong direction!   So...I got that all straightened out and proceeded to Parkersburg, where I run my next half-marathon.

Parkersburg isn't a very large town and after stopping at a Kroger to buy Cheerios and bananas for my pre-race breakfast, suddenly I found myself at the hotel before I knew it.  Actually by the time I realized it, I'd missed my opportunity to pull up to the front door to unload luggage and had to circle the block on a maze of one-way streets. 
Blennerhassett Hotel

For the next three nights I'm staying at the Blennerhassett Hotel right downtown and close to everything.  It's a really lovely hotel, on the Historic Hotels of America list.  The staff were wonderful!  I got unloaded, my car whisked away by the valet, and soon I was in my gorgeous corner room with lots of windows, plush furnishings and amenities, and I realized that I needed food.  Scottish salmon served over black rice and a glass of white wine and I was ready to retire for the was a long day!

Farmer's Market
The next morning there was a Farmer's Market right next door to the hotel and I browsed the wares, bought a couple of items and returned them to my room before heading out to explore the town. 

Blennerhassett Historical Museum
First stop:  Blennerhassett Historical Museum a couple of blocks away from the hotel.  I watched the film and looked at some of the exhibits, artifacts from the region, photos and furnishings from the Blennerhassett Mansion.  The wealthy aristocratic Blennerhassett family emigrated from Ireland to NYC in the late 1700's, then eventually traveled down to Marietta WV and bought an island in the Ohio River near Parkersburg.  There they built an opulent mansion and entertained lavishly for the next few years.  They fell in with Aaron Burr, which was eventually their downfall.  They fled their mansion, Harman Blennerhassett was arrested for treason, eventually released, but he eventually lost everything.

Oil and Gas Museum
Nearby was the Oil and Gas Museum.  Parkersburg was the site of a large oil and gas boom after the Civil War. 

Carny-style food vendors
This weekend is the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival, an event that no one could explain, but has happened every year as long as they could remember.  Carny-style food carts were set up at the end of Market Street and I knew there'd be a parade tomorrow immediately after the half marathon race.  There would be fireworks Saturday night over the river and live entertainment at a couple of different venues in town. 

County Courthouse
Hunger soon overtook any interest on my part in learning more about Parkersburg history, so I set about wandering the town looking for a café.  Here sits the county courthouse and associated county buildings yet there wasn't a single café or restaurant within the several block area as best as I could tell.  Aha!  here walking toward me is a young man with fast-food cold drink in his hand and what looked like a sub in a bag.  Jimmy John's!  I asked him were he bought it, and he told me were to find them.  Just three blocks away!  How could I have missed it?!

I returned to my room where I ate my lunch and then put my feet up and watched a movie on TV.  The fitness expo opens at 2 PM and I kept my eye on the clock and kept myself from dozing off, not an easy task as I was getting very sleepy!

Civic Center
The expo is being held at the Civic Center, just a block away from the hotel and an easy walk.  It was a tiny expo, really just a packet pick-up with the local running store set up to sell last-minute needs, and the basics for those who may have forgotten something:  shoes, shorts and running tops, socks, hydration belts, energy gels. 

The ladies working the packet pickup table obliged me with smiles and waves:
Packet pickup table

Later, as I headed up the street to the St. Xavier Event Center for the pasta dinner, there was an antique car show going on, all part of the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival this weekend.  Some very nicely restored or original condition cars were backed in along either side of Market Street and I strolled along checking them out on my way to the pasta dinner. 

At the pasta party, I sat with a couple who looked to be about my age and we had a very enjoyable dinner and chat before we decided it was time to leave.  Spaghetti, followed by a caramel ice cream sundae. 

Back to my lovely hotel room, get everything laid out for the next morning and set the alarm for 6 AM. 

Tomorrow:  Parkersburg Half Marathon!!

1 comment:

  1. It looks like such a quaint town. Love all the old brick buildings. The hotel looks beautiful.

    Boo on the GPS taking to long to find satellite though. Some times I just want to throw them out the window.