It’s springtime in New England! The bees are buzzing. The flowers are unfurling. Roadside lemonade stands are setting up shop. And you need something to do as the New England tundra slowly blooms into a lush meadow. Could there be a better time to go explore our region’s rich and far-reaching history? We think not.
Historical New England homes are known for being mystifyingly regal, stunningly beautiful, and visitor friendly. So, to celebrate your ability to walk outdoors without the accompaniment of your winter gear, we’ve compiled a list of historically lavish New England homes you should visit next time you’re in need of a fun day-trip.
Blithewold Mansion is a 45-room estate and arboretum that’s situated on the gentle, coastal hills of Bristol, Rhode Island. The property sits on the Bristol Bay and is often used as a landmark for passing sea traffic. The awe-inspiring estate was constructed in the late 1890s and, soon after, tragically burnt to the ground in 1905. The entire property was restored over next few years and has been standing in all of its glory ever since.
Blithewold opens its doors in the beginning of April with a dazzling daffodil display (among other events), covering thirty-three acres sweet-smelling vibrancy. Once you’ve finished strolling through the Mansion’s eight gardens, you can stop into the dining room to enjoy a cup of steaming tea alongside of some fine pastries. The Mansion also gives tours that you can customize depending on what you're yearning to learn more about. Blithewold mansion is one of Rhode Island’s true treasures that you won't want to miss.
One of the more notable mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, The Breakers was initially a modest wooden house purchased by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893. His grandiose vision for his newly acquired property transformed it into the immaculate and opulent structure that hundreds of thousands flock to annually. A kindred spirit to the first entry on our list, the wooden house that Vanderbilt first purchased was ravaged by a fire which forced him to reconstruct it entirely.
If you spend some time in Newport, you'll soon discover that The Breakers not only refers to the wonderful mansion pictured above, but also to a local surf spot adjacent to the property. Once you finish up with your tour (they run all year around with very few exceptions), you can head to the nearby shoreline to watch the surfers catching some tasty swell.
Overlooking Gloucester Bay, Beauport was the home of one of the first official interior designers, Hendry David Sleeper. He used this stunning home to showcase his professional works and to entertain his guests. After Sleeper's death, the McCan family took over, leaving all of his curiosities and collections intact.
Today, when visiting this magnificent dwelling, visitors can "learn about its architectural evolution, the sources of Sleeper’s inspiration, and how he influenced other designers and popular taste." If you're even remotely interested in historical New England homes, interior design, or anything in-between, we highly recommend you add Beauport to your itenerary.
Voted as one of the top ten historical homes in the world by National Geographic, the Mark Twain House and Museum is nearly as iconic as the man himself. Located in Hartford, Connecticut, this house/museum boasts a long list of exhibitions and events that you can attend all year round.
We'll let Mark Twain describe his house in his own words, because, well, he's Mark Twain. He described his beloved home as such: "To us our house was not unsentient matter--it had a heart and a soul and eyes to see us with, and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction." Beautiful words for a beautiful place that you should consider checking out.
Overlooking the Sheepscoot River in Wiscasset, Maine, Castle Tucker is an ornate, Victorian home that, up until the turn of the twenty-first century, was owned and inhabited by a prominent shipping family. While it's not exactly a castle in the Disney sense of the word, it still has an imposing presence that draws visitors in to see what's inside.
Due to it's extensive history and remote location, castle tours are practically treasure hunts. "With three generations of family possessions on view, Castle Tucker is a time capsule that echoes with the voices of a remarkable Maine family." So, next time your in Maine, consider making a pit stop! You won't regret it.
Now that you've seen a glimpse of what's out there, get started and add these landmarks to your list of must-see homes in New England.