Historic Homes in Bloom: Eolia Mansion

Eolia Mansion in Waterford, CT. Image courtesy of William H. Johnson.

Featured in New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens by Kim Knox Beckius and William H. Johnson, Eolia Mansion is a stunning 230-acre seaside villa located in Waterford, Connecticut. It was one of six homes owned by philanthropists Mary and Edward Harkness, and every April through October, the couple brought New York City children suffering from polio or tuberculosis to the Connecticut shore and entertained and cared for them. The house itself is breathtaking, but the sweeping lawns and surrounding lush gardens are the bigger draw in the early spring. Prominent landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand designed the gardens, which are split into various factions. The East Garden, which is laden with Japanese maples, has a distinct oriental feel, while the West Garden is draped in grapevines and wisteria. The finishing touch is an Alpine Rock Garden, which serves as a tribute to Farrand’s Maine childhood. The property offers a variety of activities for spring visitors, who can stroll among the gardens or fly kites on the nearby beach.


Eolia Mansion
275 Great Neck Road
Waterford, Connecticut
(860) 443-5725



To learn more about the property, pick up a copy of New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens at the mansion’s gift shop or at one of these bookstores:

Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Harbor Books, Old Saybrook, CT
Breakwater Books, Guilford, CT

After a long day of wondering the beautiful gardens, recover some of your energy by stopping by one of these delicious local eateries:

  • Filomena’s inviting ambience and reasonable prices are a hit,  but it’s the restaurant’s savory Italian fare that makes it popular among locals.
  • When Pigs Fly Cafe is great for a quick coffee break, but we recommend taking the time to order the veggie quesadilla or taco wrap.
  • The Dock offers the area’s best lobster rolls. Take advantage of spring’s mild weather by grabbing a drink and a cup of chowder and setting  up camp on the restaurant’s deck.

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 Hildene post and last week’s Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion post, and keep an eye out for fun spring getaway ideas throughout the month!

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