Bristol, Rhode Island

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum
Master Plan

This circa 1908 summer home, with its extensive gardens and arboretum overlooking Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, chronicles the remarkable lives of two generations of the Van Winkle family. Visitors are invited to explore Blithewold’s multiple buildings and diverse landscape, and to enjoy a broad range of educational programming and events. 

Our Master Plan for Blithewold includes an assessment of existing conditions and a preservation plan all for buildings and landscape based on a 1894-1930 period of significance. Recommendations for the siting of future buildings and for new pedestrian and vehicular site circulation are made. Proposed changes to the interior of the 45-room mansion include improved conditions for accessibility, building fabric and collections conservation, education, catering, visitor services, and rentals.  

The Plan identifies sustainable initiatives throughout the site – from the repair of historic site water cisterns and the return of mowed lawn to natural meadow, to building envelope improvements and new high-efficiency building systems. Associated cost estimates are provided as is an evaluation of fiscal health that includes benchmarking of comparable institutions and recommendations for attracting untapped visitor audiences, membership development, fundraising, and branding. 

Blithewold Inc.
Completed 2011 
Project Size
33 Acres, 10 Buildings
Master Plan for Buildings, Collections, and Site
Rhody Award for Historic Preservation
Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Pamela Hawkes FAIA, Jason Bowers AIA, Chris Mariciano (ABA/Annum); OLIN (Landscape); Odeh Engineers (Structural); Altieri (MEPF); Nitsch (Civil); Wendy Jessup (Collections); Anthony Knerr (Governance and Management); Shary Page Berg (Landscape History); ETM (Landscape Operations); Susan Leidy (Museum Accreditation); Davis Langdon (Cost)