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Bliss Celebrations Guide

Vendor Spotlight: Blithewold Mansion

Blithewold Mansion is a beautiful property in historic Bristol, Rhode Island. With its’ lush gardens and arboretum, the mansion is the perfect place to hold your event.

1. What is the history of Blithewold Mansion?

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum is a beautifully landscaped 33-acre estate situated on Bristol Harbor with sweeping views of Narragansett Bay. The forty-five-room mansion, trees, lawns, flowers, and the sea combine to produce an aesthetic experience that is both exciting and refreshing. The original mansion built in 1896 in the Queen Anne style was destroyed by fire in 1906. Plans to rebuild Blithewold began immediately and the new English Manor style home was completed in 1908.

The History of Blithewold

The property was owned by Augustus Van Winkle, a coal mining baron in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.  He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and came to love the Ocean State. Bessie Van Winkle, his wife, was a very accomplished horticulturist and her heart’s desire was to have enough good land to establish gardens and an arboretum.  The name Blithewold is actually Old English for “happy woodland”.

The family was known for their gracious hospitality and carefully orchestrated parties for family and friends. They would reside at Blithewold from May until November, often returning for holidays and family occasions.  Blithewold is currently managed by Blithewold Inc, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping the property open to the public, in accordance with the families wishes.

2. Is it available to rent year-round?

The mansion is available year round for small weddings of up to 60 guests.  We also offer tented wedding on our Great Lawn from May-mid-October.

3. Do you have a specific list of vendors that must be used or are clients free to choose their own?

We work with a list of “Approved Caterers”

4. Is the entire mansion and gardens available to the public or are there restricted areas?

The 33 acre estate, as well as the first floor of the mansion, the porches and terrace are available during our weddings. We also have a beautiful new Pavilion down at the tent that house air-conditioned rest rooms and a bridal suite. We do one wedding per day and the property is exclusive during that time.

5. What services are offered to clients when they book their event at the mansion?

Wedding planning assistance as well as day of event management is included at no extra charge.

Blithewold Wedding by Rebecca Arthurs