A great oceanfront venue in Rhode Island? One gem makes it the top of our list – Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol.

We get asked that question a lot by our customers and it’s a tough one to answer.  Although Rhode Island is such a small state, it has a great number of beautiful oceanfront venues.  There is one gem, however, that makes it the top tier of our list and that is the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum located in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Blithewold Manor Venue

Photo from www.blithewold.org

Where does it come from?

The name “Blithewold” actually comes from the word “blithe” meaning happy or lighthearted. The word “wold” meaning an area of hilly land in the open country.  It actually looks like a setting in a turn-of-the-century period film. Possibly starring the likes of such actors as Hugh Grant, Gwyneth Paltrow or Leonardo DiCaprio!  It’s so romantic with sweeping manicured lawns overlooking Narragansett Bay, colorful scented gardens and elegant old-world architecture.

The Pennsylvania coal magnate, Augustus Van Wickle, built this turn-of-the-century estate in 1896 on seventy acres of waterfront land in Bristol, RI.
The original building was destroyed by fire in 1906. A grander English-style country manor was rebuilt on the same site. Despite it being a mansion, the home is not outlandish and has a light and carefree feeling with unbelievable picturesque views of the bay. The furnishings in the forty-five room house include artwork, furniture and antiques that are charming and practical. They are also very refined at the same time. The extensive grounds are breathtaking and are comprised of many unique features including a rose garden, a water garden, a bamboo forest, meadows, and woods. Which is populated by some spectacular specimens of trees. 

Blithewold Gardens

Venue size, location and other details

Blithewold Mansion is the perfect oceanfront venue to have a wedding, rehearsal dinner, or corporate event. B&M Catering can provide full service catering and bar services at this facility.

The mansion can accommodate a sit-down dinner for 65 guests in the formal dining room.
Up to 100 guests at a standing cocktail reception.
For larger parties up to 225 guests, the terrace, porches, and Great Lawn can be used as well.
The 40’ x 100’ tent with a solid floor for dinner and dancing.
A perfect setting to watch the sunset over the bay in the summer months while eating a traditional New England clambake.

During the Winter Holidays, the Blithewold Mansion is decorated to the hilt. It is a magical venue to host a corporate or family holiday party.  After a year of meticulous planning, volunteers begin decorating in mid-October and finish up just before Thanksgiving. The décor is elegant using beautifully hand-crafted ornaments and decorative trimmings to transform each room into another era.
B&M Catering can help you design your holiday menu to reflect the charm of the season and venue, complete with Figgy Pudding if you like!


Photo from www.blithewold.org

Whatever the season, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum is one of the best oceanfront venues in Rhode Island.  Contact B & M Catering’s event planning specialists, Tim and Amanda, and they will help you tailor your menu to make your own event a historic one.