Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A local haunt: The Blennerhassett Hotel

 The gorgeous Blennerhassett Hotel.
All photos by: Melissa Arditti

Next on the agenda was a trip to Parkersburg, West Virginia. With a small population of over 30,000, you would have never expected this magnificent building with a small canopy in front with blooming flowers and benches to sit on.

The Blennerhassett is an exquisite hotel that was built in 1889 by William Chancellor. It has a lengthy historical background, and what you will find is a newly European-style décor fit for a King or a Queen, mixed with modern-day amenities. Greeted with a smile while entering or leaving hotel, the staff are wonderful and always eager to please.

A few added bonuses. Guests can enjoy a little trip to the Blennerhassett’s Culinary School and enjoy courses from homemade pasta-making to Wine 101. The best part, all ages and skill levels are welcome. Also, don’t fret, your pet even has a place to stay! Pamper your fur-pet with a “Woof” welcome kit. Keep in mind that canine etiquette is outlined on their website, for the comfort of other guests.

The rooms are absolutely gorgeous, from the tapestry to the antique furniture, granite washrooms and glass showers. Each room has its own personal style, so no room is the same. There are many suites to choose from, so we really lucked out on these beauties below. You can book a room here:

You can also enjoy some quiet time in library, reading, relaxing with a Starbucks beverage (right around the corner from the room) or just engage in a game of chess:

It has been rumoured that a number of spirits haunt this building. William Chancellor himself has been reported to still roam the halls in a grey suit and others have claimed to hear children’s giggling voices as they play in the halls. There are many logical explanations for these sightings, but as a believer in the paranormal, I felt some unusual presences during my stay that fit with the description that I read about afterwards. Thankfully, the ghosts of Blennerhassett are friendly and do not wish to cause harm. If there was a home that I would want to live in as a spirit, I can’t blame them for taking up residence here.

After a day of sight-seeing, many people along the way had mentioned to try the Spats Restaurant inside the Blennerhassett and so we decided to take a leisurely dinner in.

As an appetizer, I had a shrimp cocktail. It was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better one


I decided to try something different and went for the Gluten Free Tomato Basil with marinara sauce on the side. I enjoyed the pasta, but the sauce was a little on the salty side.

My dad had delicious beef and vegetables. Thick, juicy, and oh so tender. Can you get any better than that?

My mom had swordfish with cilantro rice and fruit salsa. She loved everything, the fish was cooked well and the fruit salsa had a pleasant sweet and tangy flavour.

For dessert, we had a chocolate chip cheesecake. Honestly, a bite of it felt like a sugar coma. Too rich and dense, but again, we split it in three.

Overall, the service was great and the restaurant had a very casual feel to it, but with subtle elegance.

After waking up the next morning and a 4 hour drive ahead of us, we decided to go back for breakfast.

I’m so glad that we stopped in because we met a bubbly free-spirit named Marissa, who served us. She was a doll, really, a total sweetheart. For 8 am in the morning, her happiness was contagious. When asked why she was so lively this early in the morning, she stated “i’m having cheesy grits soon!” in an adorable West Virginian accent. Not really understanding fully why she was so delighted, she explained more and I realized it’s her comfort food. Everyone has their go-to dish that brings them to a place of bliss. I never realized how serious people take grits though. I remember having them briefly once or twice, but I didn’t think much of it. However, according to Marissa, there is a “War of the Grits” still happening to this day. East of the Mississippi, folks go for maple syrup on their grits only. In the South, it’s all about cheesy grits. Ask for the reverse in either place and you’re condemned! It’s a very serious matter and you can google more about this food fight, if you wish to.

Next up, you’ll read about my ‘cabin in the woods’ adventure in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

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