Flowering Again

Completed Blithewold renovations celebrate the estate’s rich history


A mansion, groomed gardens, and breathtaking views – a visit to Blithewold in Bristol feels an awful lot like stepping through a portal and onto the grounds of a European estate. This summer, Blithewold will blossom in new ways, as six years of renovation projects are finally complete.

“The last component of the master plan was building a new visitors’ center,” says Karen Binder, Blithewold’s executive director. “It’s exhilarating and very gratifying now that we’ve opened it.”

As Binder explains, the series of renovations was aimed at enhancing patrons’ enjoyment of the property and giving them a better sense of the Van Wickle family that once lived there. The projects were wide-ranging: workers repaired the dock, reconstructed the original greenhouse, and renovated the third floor as a climate-controlled archive for family letters, clothing, and artwork.

With this massive undertaking in the rear-view mirror, Binder and the Blithewold staff are eager for the public to experience the refurbished grounds and grateful for public enthusiasm throughout the years-long process.

“We really want to thank our supporters and the Rhode Island community,” says Binder. “Having the support of the public and of our donors is a wonderful gift.” Bristol