BRISTOL — Each year, Blithewold Mansion & Gardens at 101 Ferry Road celebrates the Christmas season in style. This year, new events have been added and there is something for everyone — from the annual holiday display, teas and musical performances to workshops on throwing a party and making bows and holiday wreaths.
Register for events online at www.blithewold.org or call 253-2707.
“Christmas at Blithewold”
The annual celebration’s theme is “A Grand Tour of Europe” and it runs through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1 (except Dec. 25). This year’s theme celebrates Marjorie Van Wickle’s 1903 grand tour of Europe. Volunteers are decorating nearly every room in the mansion with decorations and designs in keeping with the theme.
The annual event features lots of Christmas trees and decorations, musical performances, teas and much more.
“Christmas at Blithewold” is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays and the grounds are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $11 for adults, $9 seniors, full-time students and military, $3 ages 6 to 17, and $24 for a family (two adults and two youths).
The popular afternoon teas are at 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. on Tuesdays to Fridays in the dining room. The informal tea includes Blithewold’s custom-blended tea served with sweet and savory items. The teas are not suitable for very young children.
A limited number of reservations are taken for each seating. Reservations can only be made using the website. The price of tea includes admission to the mansion and grounds and is $24 for adults ($14 for members), $22 seniors, military and students, and $16 ages 6 to 17.
Christmas musical performances are in the living room at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 23 to Dec. 29. They are included with the regular price of admission.
Performers include —
Thursday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m.: Family Sing-Along with Santa featuring Keith Munslow
Friday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.: Mary Jane Tyszkowski, pianist
Saturday, Dec. 8, 3 p.m.: Enigmatica, mandolin octet
Sunday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m.: Daniel Harp, cellist
Thursday, Dec. 13, 6 p.m.: Family Sing-Along with Santa featuring Christopher Carbone
Friday, Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m.: Silver Belles, a cappella group
Saturday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m.: Glen Matheson, tenor and soprano
Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 p.m.: Nancy Hood, mezzo soprano
Thursday, Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m.: Jane Revking and Dawn Chung, flute and piano
Friday, Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m.: Pipe Dreams, flute choir
Saturday, Dec. 22, 3 p.m.: To be announced
Sunday, Dec. 23, 3 p.m.: Ivy Leaf, new traditional Irish music
Thursday, Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m.: To be announced
Friday, Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m.: To be announced
Saturday, Dec. 29, 3 p.m.: Make We Music, vocal ensemble
Sunday, Dec. 30, 3 p.m.: Classic Winds, woodwind quintet
A new outdoor event
“The Christmas Sparkle, an Outdoor Family Event” is new this year from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays through Dec. 28. It is included in the regular mansion admission price. Enjoy music, cocoa and roasted marshmallows in the enclosed garden and greenhouse. Strolling through the illuminated gardens, enjoy outdoor concerts from 6:30 to 7 p.m. with the Portsmouth Abbey Singers on Dec. 7 and Special Delivery, a RWU a cappella group, on Dec. 14.
Children’s holiday stories
“A World of Christmas Magic: Children’s Holiday Stories” are from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Dec. 12 and 19, in the mansion’s living room. Enjoy an assortment of stories about Christmas traditions and legends from around the world. After the story, there’s a cookie and a craft project. It’s free with regular mansion admission.
Children’s holiday teas
Children’s holiday teas are from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Dec. 10 and 17, in the dining room. Tour the decorated mansion and then gather at a private table in the dining room to enjoy tea, hot chocolate, finger sandwiches, and dessert — all served in the style of yesteryear.
The cost is $29 for adults and $19 for children. Seating is limited. Call for reservations.
Cheese and wine tasting
“Tour de Fromage: An Around the World Cheese & Wine Tasting” is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10. Inspired by Marjorie Van Wickle’s debutante trip around the world, The Cheese Plate in Warren and Grapes and Grains in Barrington have prepared a special selection of cheeses and wines from France, Spain and Italy for sampling and tasting. The cost is $35 ($25 members). Call or visit online to make a reservation.
Gingerbread house workshop
A family gingerbread house workshop is from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. In a hands-on workshop, the whole family will work together to create the candy-filled house of your dreams.
Space is limited. The price per house is $40 ($35 members). One person is free with purchase of a house. Each additional person working on the house is $5. The fee includes all materials. But bring along a special treat you would like to use in your unique house. Call or register online.
A bow-making clinic is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in the mansion. Learn how to make beautiful bows for holiday gifts, wreaths, fruit baskets, even ornaments. Take home your own bow creations. The cost is $20 ($15 members). Call or go online to register.