Blithewold's Site History
The Enclosed The Bosquet The Wellhead The North Garden
In developing the site history and considering how Blithewold relates to other historic properties of the era, a number of themes have emerged.
Blithewold has a rich legacy, which has evolved over time. While features from the past 120 years are most evident, the underlying layers from more than 400 years of continuous land use can still be traced on the land. New owners have shaped the property to meet their own needs, just as fires and hurricanes have created dramatic transformations. New gardens were created, plantings have matured and new programs have been developed to serve its changing mission from private to public enjoyment.
Unlike many estates of the period, where earth was moved and forests were planted to shape Nature to the tastes of its owners, landscape gardener (who sometimes referred to himself as a landscape architect) John DeWolf and Bessie Van Wickle McKee subtly transformed the natural topography and vernacular landscape structure at Blithewold that date to Colonial times. Some landscape features, such as the Enclosed Garden, appear to have been in place since the mid-19th century, before it was purchased by the Van Wickles. Bessie’s vision of creating “an estate in which new beauties are constantly revealed, and the perfect accord between architecture and grounds is ever apparent” remains in evidence today.
Wednesday, April 06
- Wednesday, October 05
Saturday, April 16
- Saturday, October 08
Wednesday, May 04
- Monday, October 10
Stephen Procter Sanctuaries and Destinations: Clay Vessels in the Garden
Tuesday, May 31
- Tuesday, July 05
Archives and Collections Tour with Curator Margaret Whitehead
Wednesday, June 01
- Monday, October 10
Bristol Explorer Multi-Attraction Pass
Saturday, June 25
- Saturday, August 13
Summer Vacation Camp 2016
Ranunculus are here!
(May 27, '16)
Spring is definitely in full swing here and already hinting at summer! It was so warm this week that the lovely spring blooms we’ve been anxiously awaiting buckled a bit with the first blast of heat. They have since recovered, but not without making our hearts skip a beat thinking they may go by […]
Springing into action
(May 06, '16)
Despite the wretched weather this week, we ushered in May with a flurry of activity. The volunteers helped us pot up 100 dahlias in preparation for planting out in the gardens next month. They also transplanted Cosmos and Zinnia seedlings that will eventually be planted in the Cutting Garden. We are trialing about a dozen […]
A Boy’s Trip to Europe, 1869
(Apr 27, '16)
In 1869, 16-year-old Israel Pardee left his home in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for a one-year educational journey through Europe, accompanied by his younger sister Anne. Israel (known in the family as Izzie) was Bessie McKee’s older brother and became Marjorie Van Wickle’s favorite Uncle. Izzie and Anne had joined the family of their father’s friend, Dr. […]