slides: James Clayton Sattel’s RI Views: Bristol
Saturday, October 06, 2012
This week, Jim turns his eye—and lens—to East Bay, and Bristol. This beautiful, historic town draws visitors from around the world, from its famous Independence Day parade to its colonial architecture and delightful waterfront shopping and dining.
To see more of or purchase Sattel's distinctive views, go here.
Colt State Park
Entering Bristol from "the mainland" means passing by the entrance to Colt State Park, a sprawling green refuge on the water.
We enjoy this beautiful park because of Samuel P. Colt's1905 purchase and consolidation of the Chase, Church and Van Wickle farms. The marble gates of the main entrance, modeled after the approach to the Petit Trianon at Versailles and unveiled in 1913, bear an inscription: "Colt Farm, Private Property, Public Welcome." A pair of life size bull statues, named Conrad and Pomeroy, guard the gate.
On the far side of Bristol's town center sits one of Rhode Island's most gracious mansions: Blithewold. The house and its grounds were built by Augustus and Bessie Van Wickle in the 1890s as their summer retreat. Today's grounds, still beautiful to tour any season (but famous for daffodils) are primarily the design of John DeWolf, and date between 1896 and 1913.
Herreshoff Marine Museum
Speaking of Newport, the undisputed yachting capital of the world, once again Bristol competes in ways that few acknowledge. The wonderful Herreshoff Marine Museum is dedicated to the history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, yachting, and the America's Cup. Bristol's Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (1878-1945) was most notable for producing sailing yachts, including eight America's Cup defenders, and steam-powered vessels.
The museum has a collection of over 60 boats, hosts symposia related to yacht design and operates a sailing school.
Mount Hope Farm
Another Bristol treasure that many visitors miss is Mount Hope Farm. In its 325 plus years of history, there have been only a dozen owners of Mount Hope Farm, including Isaac Royall, the State of Rhode Island, William Bradford, John Bradford, Rudolph F. Haffenreffer II and Rudolph F. Haffenreffer III, the Haffenreffer family and the Mount Hope Trust in Bristol. This is Cove Cabin, one of the colorful outbuildings on the property. Psst: you can stay here in the Inn!
Soldiers & Sailors
There are few prettier Main Streets than in Bristol... it seems as every storefront, church, and home is more picturesque than the next. I love this spot particularly, with the Soldiers & Sailors monument, in honor of the Bristol Veterans of the Civil War. It sits on the lawn of Burnside Memorial Building, which in itself is a monument to a Civil War general, and governor of RI and US senator, Ambrose E. Burnside.
You can't walk (or drive!) past Linden Place in the center of Bristol's main thoroughfare without pausing for breath. The elegant mansion with graceful statuary is just breathtaking!
Bristol's 'Great House' has been the home for generations of seafaring DeWolfs, Colts, and Barrymores who entertained presidents and politicos. Now, Linden Place hosts galas, weddings, and a sumptuous Fourth of July picnic.
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