I am a Rhode Island resident and have visited many Newport mansions and private homes during Christmas in Newport but was not prepared for the joy of visiting Blithewold. The home is on a human scale with a light and airy feeling, picturesque views of the bay and magnificent grounds. Although the family was obviously financially secure the furnishing are not ostentatious. All are practical, some charming, some elegant but all in good taste. This was obviously a home of a close, warm and caring family, well educated and dignified (read the biographies of the children in the bedrooms and study the family photographs). The grounds (33 acres) are incomparable to any you will see in Newport or anywhere else in Rhode Island. Rose and flower gardens flank the main house. As you walk the extensive grounds you will traverse several distinct environments including a water garden, a bamboo forest, a meadow and a woods. Spectacular specimen trees abound: an enormous copper beach beside a weeping European beach, dawn redwoods, giant sequoia, Japanese cedar, weeping hemlock....... Sorry folks but there are 50 unique varieties. The grounds are really an arboretum. All the trees, shrubs and flowers are labeled. You can wonder both the home and gardens at your leisure or will find a number of friendly staff to assist you. On select days you are able to have a guided tour of the grounds by the trained staff (check their web site for special events). Visit once and you will feel compelled to return as the gardens and woods reveal their seasonal nature.
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