The couple have chosen to get married at the Willowdale Estate in Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, MA.


Willowdale in Winter

The Willowdale Estate in Winter

History of the Estate:
Bradley Webster Palmer (1866 – 1946), prominent U.S. attorney and businessman, was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA . After attending Phillips Exeter Academy he went on to graduate from Harvard University, Class of 1888.

Bradley was involved with the creation and growth of multiple Boston-based corporations including the United Fruit Company, Gillette Safety Razor Corp., and International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation. Additionally, he was part of the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and for his efforts Bradley was decorated by France, Belgium, and Romania.

An avid equestrian and nature-lover, Palmer purchased land as he accumulated the means; at one point he owned over 10,000 acres on the North Shore in towns including Boxford, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Rowley, and Topsfield. Bradley built his estate – known as Willow Dale – in 1901 and around it developed one of the finest steeplechase courses in the country with 26 challenging obstacles set over more than four-miles.

Mr. Palmer, a lifelong bachelor, was a frequent entertainer both at his primary residence in the Back Bay of Boston and at Willow Dale. As his success grew, so to did the stature of his guests. Prince Edward VII, Prince of Wales, was a frequent visitor to the Estate – he enjoyed riding with Mr. Palmer through his well-groomed property. President William Taft was hosted at Willow Dale and neighbor General Patton frequently stopped in for dinner and cigars.

From 1937 to 1944, Palmer donated all of his land holdings “to the people of Massachusetts as a place to enjoy the peace and beauty of river, woods, fields and hills.” He transferred all ownership of his properties to the State with the stipulation that he would lease back 107 acres including his mansion – for the remainder of his days. The Bradley Palmer State Park continues Mr. Palmer’s legacy of conservation and every year is enjoyed by thousands of equestrians and outdoor enthusiasts.

As part of the DCR Historic Curatorship Program, Willowdale is a shining example of private and public partnership. Under the leadership of Miss Briar Rose Forsythe, in 2007 Willowdale Estate opened as an elegant event venue with full service party planning and catering. Utilizing her decades of hospitality experience with her family’s businesses, a bed and breakfast and a boutique hotel, and her fundamental love of good, wholesome food, Briar is building a company that utilizes the beauty of this historic residence as backdrop for wonderful party experiences.

In 2009, the addition of the conservatory adds some event space and enhances the old-world charm of the venue. It is this new room where the ceremony is taking place.

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