Historic Homes in Bloom: Blithewold Mansion

Blithewold Mansion. Image courtesy of William H. Johnson

Most people associate Rhode Island with the coastal Newport Mansions and forget about the equally breathtaking Blithewold Mansion in Bristol. Featured in New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens by Kim Knox Beckius and William H. Johnson, the 45-room stone manor, built in 1896, is the former home of coal mining heir Augustus Van Wickle. While the building itself is stunning, the surrounding gardens are perhaps the biggest draw in the early spring months. Every April, about 50,000 yellow and white daffodils burst through the ground and carpet the property’s pathways.

Throughout the aptly named Daffodil Days, which run from April 1st through the 29th, visitors are served tea and are treated to art exhibits and other special programs. The Daffodil Days were scheduled to kick off on April 9th this year, but the uncharacteristically mild weather means the flowers bloomed about two weeks earlier than planned.


Blithewold Mansion
101 Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809
(401) 253-2707

To learn more about the mansion, pick up a copy of New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens at the Mansion’s gift store or at one of these local bookshops:

A Novel Idea, 54 State Street, Bristol
Barrington Books, 184 Country Road, Barrington
Island Books, 575 East Main Road #1, Middletown
Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street, Providence
Symposium Books, 240 Westminster Street, Providence

Refuel after the long day by taking some time to put your feet up and enjoy a few of our favorite local places:

Sunset Cafe, 499 Hope Street, is perfect if you’re looking to grab a delicious coffee to replenish your energy. Or stop by before heading to Blithewold for a delicious breakfast!

Riccotti Sandwich Shops, 11 Gooding Ave, is a local favorite that offers amazing spinach pies a wide variety of fresh sandwiches at a reasonable price.

Roberto’s Italian Restaurant, 450 Hope Street, is ideal if you’re looking for a more upscale experience. The extensive wine list and classic Italian favorites make the restaurant a great date spot.

This post is part of a larger series celebrating the sites included in our latest title, New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens, by Kim Knox Beckius with photography by William H. Johnson. See the recent Victoria Mansion post and keep an eye out for fun spring getaway ideas throughout the month! Oh, and if you happen to be viewing this post in the winter, here’s another reason you should visit Blithewold Mansion!


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