"Bristol ~ by the Bay" Bristol by Pawtuxet

Bristol Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 96 photos

Downtown Bristol

Bristol is on the "east bay", as we say in Rhode Island. Some of us are on the "west bay" and altho the two sides are not very far away....many Rhode Islanders will hesitate to spend time on 'the other side'. Not me. I find any excuse to go to Bristol and Warren...two of my favorite towns to poke around in.
Bristol's street plan was laid out in 1680, but the majority of the striking architecture is from the 1800's. Often billed as America's most patriotic town, Bristol is home to the country's oldest Fourth of July parade. Crowds pour in from all over the country...but the best time to see the decorated homes and businesses are the days just prior to the parade. No traffic..everything fresh, clipped, and readied for the TV cameras.

Bristol enjoys fame for being the home of the Herreshoff boat builders. Here is where the America's Cup racers were built and there is an America's Cup Hall of Fame and Marine Museum for those who enjoy the wind in their sails.

Actor Anthony Quinn lived in Bristol.... but many movie stars have enjoyed Bristol's hospitality and winds off the bay. Generations of Colts and DeWolfs entertained numerous movie stars and U.S. Presidents at Linden Place. (Colt is of the 'Colt 45 revolver' fame.)

There is a great bike path which hugs the shoreline and passes through Colt State Park before ending at the town's harbor.

For me there is the water, the eateries, antique shops, wonderful architecture, great decorations for the 4th of July.....and lazy sunny days.
Downtown Bristol has some really magnificent architecture for such a little town...inclulding the mansion which is now known as Linden Place, and owned by the historic society. Get your camera ready if you like good architecture. Russell Warren, the architect, is responsible for much of the wonderful 1800's architecture here. Some of the best Greek Revival you'll find anywhere.

America's Cup

Captain Nathaniel Greene Herreshoff and his manufacturing company were responsible for cutting edge boat building for many years. The first U.S. Navy torpedo boat, as well as mammoth schooner yachts and the principal one design racers of the New York Yacht Club were designed and built by the Herreshoffs. The legend's most significant record is the Herreshoff construction of eight consecutive successful defenders of the America's Cup from 1893 - 1934.

Another extraordinary HOUSE TOUR in Bristol

Billed as the "Old Seaport House Tour" , the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society outdid themselves again this year with a fabulous collection of homes and gardens for their fall house tour. Homes ranged from an 1800's stone mansion to a very small wood frame "housewright's house" w/ parts from the 1700's. Each house had a very unique character to it.. many had amazing gardens... some overlooked sparkling water views...every one was a joy to tour.
Don't miss my travelogue for additional pics of the tour. You might want to enlarge some of these pics to catch all the great ideas these decorators and gardeners demonstrated. Enjoy the new tips...and some of the old ones.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Charming seaside community
  • Cons:definately off the beaten path and quiet
  • In a nutshell:a joy!!
  • Last visit to Bristol: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 1, 2009
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Reviews (31)

Comments (22)

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    What a charming little town! Loved its diversified architecture and gardens. I enjoy house tours as well, of any houses they let me into. Your enthusiasm for the place is catching!

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Thanks for the heads up on this year's Bristol House Tour--I would absolutely LOVE to visit here someday when the tour is in full gear. Who knows?

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2009 at 10:34 AM

    What a great tour, Janet. So much there - love the Native American, and hey, mandolins just tear me up! This I would really enjoy. Loved the new garden photos - one look at Carravaggio and yes, it is the light........... Grazie. <(•¿•)>

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    It's a great story, Janet! Thanks!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2009 at 4:53 AM

    Always enjoy your enthusiastic presentations concerning home tours, gardens, & architecture. I can certainly see why you like to visit Bristol....the tea & scones, the museum, & the quaint little shoppes. Lovely job of depicting this enchanting spot.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2009 at 12:59 AM

    A thoroughly enjoyable page and updates, Janet. Interesting buildings, music and food - a combination that's hard to resist!Strangely, a Canadian pal wrote a few days ago, telling me he'd just won a whirlygig contest.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Interesting start to my tour of Bristol. The condo is nice .......but I would prefer one of those gorgeous old houses. Boris also has a leopard skin collaer- but hates wearing it. Nice whirlygig pics. I have never seen these in Australia.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    I received a jumping picture from someone in Bristol but it was Bristol, UK!...my wife can play a small version of the Mandolin...love Brazilian music too...and wow, that is an expensive waterfront condo! very nice pages! Norman :)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2007 at 5:32 AM

    Janet, the more I see of Rhode Island in your pages, the more I want to come back for a visit. Bristol is just charming. It seems to have just the combination of things I like. Great work!!

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2007 at 3:41 PM

    Excellent page and tips. What a lovely place for a virtual visit. I would love to have tea with you there someday.


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