Harkness Memorial State Park Reviews

33 | Waterford, CT
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33 Reviews for Harkness Memorial State Park

Recommended by 90%

33

4.5 out of 5.0
  • Quality of service 4.7
  • Professionalism 4.6
  • Flexibility 4.0
  • Value 4.7
  • Average response time 4.5
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  • S

    Sarah · Married on 07/24/2015

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    There is simply nowhere else on Earth I could have chosen to get married. I visited this park with my husband years before we were even engaged and knew it would have to be the setting for my bohemian/DIY wedding. The amazing vendors (Ivy's Simply Homemade, Maggie Conley Photography, Robert from Elegant Occasions DJ.. the dream team!!) either all came from the list suggested by the venue or had worked it before, which made planning/arranging everything easier for my husband and I.. everyone we worked with knew exactly what to do and how to advise us!!

    The view, the gardens, the ocean, the natural beauty does the rest.. a perfect, truly unforgettable day for us all. And yes, brides, you will get bugs and sand in your wedding dress.. but it's so worth it!! ;)

  • S

    Shannon · Married on 06/05/2015

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    The most beautiful site we have ever set our eyes on! The mansion for our reception was to die for beautiful! The detail and architecture, the gardens, the water fountains, the ocean breeze...this place has and all and then some! We looked at 3 other places prior to this and we just knew this was the place as soon as we saw it!

    Sally, the woman that gives the tours, was (is) very kind. She was very thorough in detail and answered all of our questions. She even gave us her phone # and email to reach her. She always responded right away. We didn't wait more than 2 hours to get a response.

    The amphitheater (same grounds as mansion) was the perfect place for our wedding ceremony. Long Island sound was behind us. The breeze was wonderful. Such a beautiful setting.

  • A

    Amy · Married on 08/30/2014

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    we got married 8/30/14. Eolia Mansion is beautiful. They book fast! Great space & park. We got pictures in the gardens, the amphitheater, the beach, and in front of the mansion. They had a drier for the golf cart to transport elderly and handicapped guests as many times as needed. They had staff at the mansion to assist where needed. LOVED IT!

  • J

    Jennifer · Married on 10/27/2012

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    I LOVE this venue. Our wedding day could not have been more beautiful. This gorgeous Italian style mansion sitting on the water in CT was the perfect setting. We got married under the pergola with the beautiful vines and Italian gardens. It was breathtaking. We had so many compliments. I wouldn't have picked anywhere else. So pleased!!

  • User1745771 · 2+ years ago

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    This mansion is worth every single penny you put into it!!!!! All the money goes back into Harkness memorial park not into the state fund which I thought was really awesome!! I recommend doing stations that way people can walk into every room and not feel confined to their seats. It's beautiful with the night breeze going through it. I love this place!! The only draw back is that the mansion is only open 2 hrs before your event. I would have loved to have gotten ready there in the morning in that beautiful room upstairs, taken pictures, and then had the ceremony on site. I understand why they do it but it would have been awesome to have my getting ready photos in that room. That being said I would have my ceremony and reception here any day of the week and twice on Sundays!!

  • A

    Augusta · Married on 07/21/2012

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    Fabulous venue - best in the state! Park like setting on the water in a beautiful mansion that has amazing gardens. Staff were cordial and easy to work with in advance of the date particularly in the few short weeks prior to the event and onsite eve of the event.

  • M

    Melissa · Married on 06/16/2012

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    It’s absolutely beautiful here. Just breathtaking. I had so many people ask us how we had found the place because they had never heard of it. This was the single best decision of our whole wedding. Yes, the mansion has some strict rules, but they aren’t so unreasonable that you can’t have a wonderful wedding. Even if you have to cut back on other parts of your budget to have your wedding here, it’s worth it. Sally, who is the contact for the mansion, is very responsive. If you can deal with the rules (which are definitely worth dealing with) this, in our opinion, is the best place in the state to have a wedding. We are so happy we had ours here.

  • W

    Tammy · Married on 06/04/2011

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    Simply stated...the most beautiful, most romantic wedding sight in CT! The waves provided the only music we needed. If your dream is to have the most romantic beach wedding ever, this is the location for you!! There are other options on site but we wanted a simple beach cermony with the sand between our toes! In a word...perfect!

  • N

    Nicole · Married on 06/03/2011

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    I cannot say enough wonderful things about this location for a wedding. From the gorgeous mansion, to the incredible pergola for pictures, to the scenic flower gardens/ grounds, the ocean view (and breeze!), to the huge attached tent for the party- it is the best of all worlds! This was the first and only location we looked at for our June 2011 wedding and there was no way we were going to get married and have our reception anywhere else. Sally at the mansion was so helpful and accomodating. The mansion offers 6 catering places to choose from- plenty of options, so we did not feel limited. Our guests raved about how romantic, beautiful, unique, incredible, breath-taking the place was and more than once we heard couples say if they could do their wedding over again, it would be at Harkness. We looked at the mansion 14 months before our wedding and there were barely any dates left for 2011 at that time, so book in advance. It was love at first sight for us and I promise you will not be disappointed with this place!! WORTH EVERY PENNY!!

  • C

    Chelsea · Married on 09/19/2009

    5.0
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    We were married in September of 2009 at Harkness Memorial State Park. The venue and staff were phenomenal. I still get chills when I close my eyes and remember the park and mansion. The venue is so beautiful, you can get away with virtually no decor enhancement. Additionally, the mansion and park are steeped in amazing history which made us feel happy to contribute to its conservation and advancement. We will definitely recommend the park to our friends, and we will be back ourselves!

  • C

    Caroline · Married on 10/02/2016

    4.8
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      4.5
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    Harkness is the most incredible venue in CT. The ocean views, gorgeous gardens, the ivy-covered historic mansion - there is no other place that offers everything Harkness does in a wedding venue. We knew we didn't want a generic banquet hall venue, so when we saw Harkness, we fell in love. You should know that when you book the mansion, all you're getting is use of the mansion and tables and chairs - you're pretty much on your own for everything else. This wasn't an issue for us at all; we used A Thyme to Cook for our caterer and they helped with most of the coordinating! Having our wedding at Harkness was the best decision we could have made. We received so many compliments from our guests! Definitely recommend - especially if you want a unique and memorable wedding!

  • M

    Melissa · Married on 06/03/2017

    4.8
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      4.5
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      4.5
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    I have been going to Harkness since I was a child and had always dreamed of getting married there. It was simply a dream come true to get married at such a special location. It has everything from a beach, to garden, to lawns and a barn. There are some rules you must follow such as picking one of their six approved caterers. This was not a problem since A Thyme to Cook was wonderful to work with and knew all the ins and outs of Harkness. We received endless compliments on the venue and I would not have changed a thing!

  • J

    Jessica · Married on 05/12/2012

    4.8
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      4.5
    • Flexibility:
      4.5
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    My husband and I would bring our dog here before we ever got engaged. We always joked that if we got married it had to be at Eolia because there is no prettier place. When we did get engaged, I did the venue search and met with multiple places in the state. In the end, it had to be Eolia because nothing else can compare. We had our ceremony in the pergola which was beautiful. Eating your first dinner together in the mansion makes you feel like a princess. And dancing at night with the sun setting over the ocean will give you chills. Every guest commented on how beautiful the location was and that they would return in the future. They price may not be cheap and they do limit your choice in caterers, but I can promise that you could never put a price on the feeling you will have getting married and enjoying your evening at Eolia.

  • C

    Carolyn · Married on 08/05/2011

    4.8
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      4.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    I have loved this location ever since I attended college in the area. When I became engaged I knew this was the place I would have my wedding. Eolia is breathtakingly beautiful. The gardens, rooms, views, and lawns create a lovely New England setting that is ideal for a classic and elegant wedding. The staff at Eolia was very accommodating and provided the tent on the lawn for cocktails and dancing. They also have their own chairs and tables so you don't have to rent them. If you know you want to have your wedding here, book early as spots fill up quickly. I booked over a year in advance of my wedding and they only had 4 Friday dates available in the summer to select from.

  • E

    Emily · Married on 09/12/2009

    4.8
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      4.0

    It was perfect!!! They have all the tables and chairs on site and a gorgeous ceremony site included. What I didn't know until I booked was you could only choose from 6 caterers which I didn't love but it all worked out.

  • M

    Meredith · Married on 09/01/2012

    4.6
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      4.0
    • Value:
      4.5
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    Eolia Mansion is gorgeous. Where else can you get ocean views, beautiful gardens, tons of space, an amazing mansion and a tented terrace? While it is not cheap, the value in is in all that is included in the rental price, including the tent, chairs and your choice of various sized tables. We used a variety of long and round tables to encourage mingling at our stations style dinner. When we were initially choosing a venue, I was shocked to find how expensive it is to rent a tent for an indoor/outdoor wedding reception, which makes Eolia even more valuable. The mansion also has many neutral spaces that you can decorate and make your own. It can book years in advance, so plan accordingly. It is well worth the wait!

  • A

    Ariana · Married on 08/24/2013

    4.6
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      4.0
    • Flexibility:
      4.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    We got married at Eolia last weekend and it was absolutely beautiful. Eolia is such a gorgeous venue! My guests loved touring the gardens and park grounds and I received nothing but compliments. The pergola was perfect for our ceremony and the pictures are absolutely stunning.

    Planning at this venue is a bit tricky. Vendors don't have a lot of time to get in and set up, so having a day-of coordinator is absolutely essential. Drawbacks: the rental fee is expensive (but compared to similar venues, it's mid-range) and you can only use their preferred caterers. Also, the way the mansion is divided means that if you're having a wedding with more than 70 guests, you'll be split up into different rooms.

    The Harkness personnel were very responsive and we're very happy we chose Eolia.

  • Kelly

    Kelly · Married on 10/07/2012

    4.6
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      3.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    My wedding and reception were held on October 7, 2012 at Eolia Mansion in Harkness State Park. I'm not sure I can accurately convey with words alone the BEAUTY of this place. It's phenomenal!! (Call me biased, it's OK!) After only looking at a few other venues, my husband and I knew we had to have our wedding at Eolia. I'll second what everyone else has said that this venue feels magical, the gardens are meticulously maintained, and the mansion itself is gorgeous. The fact that this venue is right on the LI sound only makes it that much better. When I was a little girl I dreamed of a mansion, a garden, and water. It was literally like walking into the dream of what my wedding should be.
    A few things I learned. If you are interested in this venue, get there as soon as possible to look. We ended up booking our date a year and a half out due to it's popularity. There are only a few approved caterers to choose from. We ended up going with Cloud Nine Catering. They were fantastic. Although some may think that this is a con, I actually think it is a HUGE pro that the caterers must be approved by the venue. There are a lot of things that the venue will not waver on, such as times the caterer and other vendors are allowed into the mansion for set up (3PM, our ceremony started at 4:30.) Since Cloud Nine has done weddings there, they had set up scheduled down to the minute. This made things go smoothly. This is a State Park, so they are pretty strict with their rules, that's why I gave flexibility 3 stars. However, Sally is fantastic to work with. She's friendly, responsive and knowledgeable. Based on this alone, I'd highly recommend going with Eolia. A few other things...The mansion provides tables, chairs, and use of the venue. That's it. Your caterer will need to work with you on all the other details. I actually really enjoyed designing everything else myself.
    Overall this is an excellent venue. Feel free to contact with questions.

  • M

    Maria · Married on 08/19/2012

    4.6
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      4.5
    • Flexibility:
      3.5
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    What can I say... The view is breathtaking!! The mansion is a one stop deal for your wedding. You can have your ceremony, pictures and reception all in one place. Simply beautiful! We were so happy with our choice of the mansion. It was absolutely beautiful at night with all the candles and sconces lit up, a true fairy tale wedding.. Thank you Sally!!

  • P

    P · Married on 05/29/2015

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      3.5
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      4.5
    • Professionalism:
      4.5

    Not much to say about this venue - it's incredibly beautiful, stately, affordable compared to most venues, and will blow people away. Booking this place saves you huge money on decorations. You don't need them. It's like planting Wal-Mart flowers in a beautiful garden. Just an added waste.

    Tables, chairs, a large tent, and a room upstairs are provided. Saves you even more.

    I wanted to use this review to address and clarify some previous reviews. Yes, as a historical landmark and a state park, there are restrictions. No, you can't turn Harkness into a club full of kegs and tack crappy decor on the walls. You are having your wedding and reception in a beautiful, antique mansion. The do and don't list is VERY CLEARLY stated in the contract. I mean, word for word stated, down to what you can and cannot bring in and what caterers you can use. We thought the list of caterers (which is now six) were fine and ran the gamut from affordable to elegant (expensive as all get out). The tent outside now has uplighting and plenty of room - we had 75 people out there dancing with cocktail tables and a bar.

    The only complaint we had was that it was often hard to get a response from the park. We showed up to do a scheduled walk through and were not on their schedule - I had to make it very clear and show that via our email exchange that we had an appointment, and even then they just opened the door and left. Our caterer had issues with communication as well.

    That being said, for less than 5K you cannot beat the sheer amazingness of this place. It's stunning in every sense of the word. When your guests can take a break from dancing and walk 200 yards to the ocean? Yeah, you're not getting that from any other place.

  • User3385652 · 2+ years ago

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      4.5
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      5.0
    • Flexibility:
      3.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    We LOVED our wedding at Harkness State Park. I had a ton of questions and Sally was super-responsive. The venue is gorgeous and elegant, and our guests RAVED about the atmosphere and venue. The only drawback is that as a state owned facility, they are very rigid with their rules and have a very limited caterer selection (3). That said, this also means that the caterers all are very experienced with the Harkness venue and rules ...which actually gives you peace of mind that all will go smoothly (which it did for us!).

  • Christal

    Christal · Married on 10/21/2011

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      4.5
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      4.0
    • Flexibility:
      4.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    Eolia Mansion at Harkness State park is an amazingly beautiful site to have both a ceremony and reception. We held our ceremony at the on-site Amphitheater located right next to the beach. I can’t describe how beautiful the sunset ocean view was for a backdrop to our ceremony. The mansion itself is larger than expected, even with all the tables for guests. The permanent tent and dance floor are great features and allow a nice flow of guests that want to dance, explore, or just talk. The tent is also a nice focal point so that guests don’t feel exiled since the rooms are separated.

    There are just a few cons to this facility. First there are no internal services; no caterer, florist, bakery, nothing. They do have a wide variety of tables and chairs that can be used but that’s it. They do have a list of approved caterers that you can use, anyone outside of that list will not be approved. You can use an outside bakery for the cake though.

    They are very strict about when they will open the site for your vendors and guests. They will not open the house to vendors until exactly 2 hrs. prior to your reception, not the ceremony. And they will not open to guests until your exact time for the reception.

    Other than those few cons we absolutely loved this venue. The park staff were great, especially Sally, who returned all our emails answering all our questions and/or concerns very promptly. We even had our deposit check waiting for us when we got back from our Honeymoon.

    I would definitely recommend this site as a venue.

  • E

    Elizabeth · Married on 06/20/2015

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      4.0
    • Value:
      4.0
    • Flexibility:
      5.0
    • Professionalism:
      4.0

    For stunning beauty, you really cannot beat this venue. You get a gorgeous mansion, gardens, and the ocean all in one. We wanted an outdoor wedding but knew that we wanted someplace that would be as beautiful in the rain as in the sun which is how we ultimately picked Harkness. It did end up raining on our wedding day, even though there had never been any rain in the forecast (seriously, don't trust weather reports). The staff were incredibly helpful in that at literally the last minute they set up chairs under the tent and shuttled all of our guests from their cars to the mansion. While it was disappointing to have our ceremony in the tent we still got to take a lot of beautiful pictures in the garden and under the pergola, part of which is covered.
    The mansion itself is gorgeous and needs little in the way of decoration. We put up some pictures and paper flowers on the mantels and some of the shelves but that was it. Don't even bother decorating or getting extra lighting for the tent. We were having such a good time dancing and enjoying ourselves I couldn't even tell you what it looks like anymore!
    When we originally booked you had three caterers to choose from but they ended up adding three more shortly after. Thank goodness they did because the original three were barely in our price range for a very simple dinner. Cost of catering is something to be aware of because you have to choose one of their caterers.
    The room upstairs for getting ready is big and bright and perfect for quick touch ups throughout the evening.
    Also, book early because we only got our date due to someone else canceling.

  • User4613205 · 2+ years ago

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      5.0
    • Responsiveness:
      5.0
    • Value:
      4.0
    • Flexibility:
      3.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    We got married at Eolia Mansion in August of 2014. It was obsoletely beautiful and I couldn't ask for anything more. This was the first and the last venue we visited and I knew right away it has to be Eolia. They get booked pretty far in advance, thus you need to be flexible. There are also many restrictions and rules, such as strict time guideline and limited choice of vendors for food. We went with Thyme to Cook- they were very accommodating and the food was fantastic.
    If you are planning on getting married in the amphitheater just make sure you will be OK with having some people around in the park

  • User2596844 · 2+ years ago

    4.4
    • Quality of service:
      4.5
    • Responsiveness:
      4.0
    • Value:
      4.5
    • Flexibility:
      4.0
    • Professionalism:
      5.0

    This is the most fabulous venue for our recent wedding. The gardens were in full bloom and were just gorgeous. The mansion has so much character and an old world feel. We loved the ocean view and the beautiful grounds. Because it is a state run property, there is little flexibility to change things, like the time to get into the mansion to prep, etc. Also, the bar has to be shut down 30 min before the end of the wedding due to state laws. Aside from that, everything was fantastic!