Visiting the Newport Mansions, Rhode Island
When visiting, it is imperative that you add seeing the fabulous Newport mansions of Rhode Island to your plan. I’ve traveled the world and seen some of the most wealthy places (St. Petersburg and Istanbul, to name a few), but we have our own treasure trove right here in New England. I learned about the Newport Mansions from cruise brochures (Newport is a popular New England cruise port), but I had no idea how extraordinary the area was. Though I only had time to visit two, it could easily take days to see all of them.
The Newport Mansions consist of The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, The Elms, Green Animals Topiary Garden, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Kingscote, Marble House, and Rosecliff.
Newport: The Ritziest Place in America
Newport is home to billions of dollars worth of the most dazzling, over-the-top iconic properties. If you love historic properties or ones we can only dream of living in, this is the place for you. The wealthy Gilded Age mansions (almost a dozen of them) can be toured independently, or you can buy a pass at each of the homes that get you into more than one. This option allows you to save some money.
Immerse yourself in a history bursting with famous names in elite America such as the Vanderbilt, Astor, and Berwind in Newport, Rhode Island, the place they chose for their summer homes.
The Mother of All Newport Mansions
During my travels to Rhode Island, my friend Jamie of The Daily Adventures of Me picked me up to show me firsthand these astonishing properties.
Our first stop was to The Breakers, the Mother of the Mansions. The Breakers is the most visited and grandest of the Newport summer cottages. A guide is required to take you on a tour of this enormous Italian renaissance home. It takes about one hour to complete.
Talk about impressive; I found this to be the most fabulous house I’ve ever visited in the United States! Cornelius Vanderbilt certainly had style and class, which is apparent in every detail of The Breakers. From the marble surfaces to ornate gold mirrors, hand-painted frescoes, eye-catching chandeliers, and priceless antiques,
The Breakers, a National Historic Landmark as of 1994, was blissfully stunning. It is comprised of 70 rooms spread over five stories.
Rosecliff: Unique and Amazing
The second mansion we toured was Rosecliff, a 21-acre estate built in 1902. Rosecliff has a stunning setting and pristine look about it. Rosecliff has previously been known as both the J. Edgar Monroe House and the Hermann Oelrichs House. Tours at Rosecliff are see-on-your-own, aided with the help of a headset and audio guide.
Rosecliff is modeled after the Grand Trianon (garden retreat of French kings) of Versailles, but it is smaller. The sophisticated property’s every item looks as if it were made specifically for this house. Placards describe the relevance and history of every detail.
The beautiful Rosecliff Mansion has been used as the backdrop for several movies, including the original The Great Gatsby, perfectly fitting since Rosecliff was a party spot during the Gilded Age. It is also used as a wedding venue, as it has the largest private ballroom in Newport and a heart-shaped staircase.
During our visit, Rosecliff had a special Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation exhibit. Forty-two of Cardin’s gorgeous fashions from the 1960s through today were on display, celebrating the designer’s unique contributions to the industry.
I found the creative style of his patterned Cosmocorps collection dresses (they look like outer space wear) to be most interesting. Pierre Cardin has dressed many influential women in the past, including Brigitte Bardot, Lauren Bacall, and Jackie Kennedy.
A Delightful Lunch
After visiting two of the incredible Newport Mansions of Rhode Island, Jamie and I grabbed a late lunch from 22 Bowens Wine Bar & Grille. This typical New England eatery is found on the waterfront in downtown Newport.
When in New England, Clam Chowder is a must. The chowder from 22 Bowens is out-of-this-world! I ate every bite of it. The lobster rolls are noteworthy as well, made with poached lobster and drawn butter on a grilled bun (no mayo mix lobster salad here). Jamie did an excellent job picking the venue.
Strolling Through History
Another famous Newport attraction is Cliffwalk, a 3.5-mile long walkway lining the Newport shoreline. Cliffwalk is behind the iconic Newport mansions of Rhode Island. From this spot, you can see the estate’s backyards and even the state of Massachusetts across the water.
The Cliffwalk provides gorgeous photo ops such as the panoramic ocean views, birds, and flowers. To learn more about Cliffwalk, read Jamie’s thoughts and see her photos on it here.
Newport Mansions Bucket List
If you are working on a travel bucket list, you may want to consider the Newport mansions in Rhode Island as one of your must-see destinations. I had a blast and think that every history lover in our country should witness time standing still as it does in this beautiful part of the United States.
Other Newport Mansion Images
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