Blithewold Celebrates Summertime by the Bay Past and Present

Published on Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Immediate Release:

Bristol, RI - In recognition of Blithewold’s spectacular waterfront setting, the founding family’s enjoyment of Narragansett Bay, and Augustus Van Wickle’s distinction as Commodore of the Bristol Yacht Club and member of the New York Yacht Club, Blithewold is celebrating summers on the Bay, both past and present, through special exhibits and programming.

Click here for hi-res photos of the exhibit

The Exhibit
Summertime by the Bay is a celebration of summer activities at Blithewold dating back to 1894 when the
Van Wickles bought the property and went on their first cruise on the family’s new Herreshoff yacht, Marjorie. For the next eighty years, summer at Blithewold was a golden time, full of exhilarating activities: sailing, swimming, and kayaking; tennis, lawn bowls, and croquet; dancing and dining in the evenings while the young cousins ran wild through the grounds. Blithewold’s Collection contains the evidence of the fun days of summers past, these items are now on display in Blithewold’s three exhibit spaces.

The main exhibit space in the Mansion will highlight items from Blithewold’s archives and collection: photographs, guest books, games, and summer clothing. As a special treat several of the family’s small boats are displayed in the Sleeping Porch.

A new exhibit space has been added on the grounds in the Summerhouse where the family traditionally gathered for tea and lemonade on hot afternoons. Here you will see a collection of large-format photographs of the family enjoying their summers together. This is an ideal place for children to connect to the past and try out old-fashioned games like croquet, jacks, checkers, and cards.

Blithewold’s Music at Sunset brings a modern adaptation of old-time summer entertainment. Relax on the lawn as the music plays and the sailboats race before the setting sun. Each evening begins with drinks at 5 o’clock during Marjorie’s Cocktail Party, which features a martini based on a traditional Van Wickle family recipe. During Cocktails guests will be offered a selection of hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Eli Dunn from The Beehive Cafe. For a later start, arrive after 6 pm, get settled on the lawn with your own picnic and relax into a perfect summer evening. The first concert of the season is Wednesday June 27th. The list of performers, concert tickets and the full schedule of Summertime by the Bay programs can be found at

About Blithewold
Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum is a landscaped historic public garden and Rhode Island’s only recognized arboretum. Situated on Bristol Harbor with sweeping views overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 33 acres of trees, lawns, flowers and gardens also features a forty-five room mansion filled with original antiques and artwork. It is the mission of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum to preserve New England’s finest garden estate through excellence in horticulture and historic preservation, and by our example to teach and inspire others.

Click here for .pdf version of this Press Release

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