Exploring the mansions of Newport Rhode Island

travelmakresmdWant to see how the other half once lived? Then you need to take a few days and visit the mansions on Newport, Rhode Island. In the past, this city has hosted the annual America’s Cup, and is known for its Gilded Age mansions, such as The Breakers, just one symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s opulence.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to create The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark. It also has a Stable & Carriage House that was completed in 1895 and is 100 feet deep and 150 feet wide.

The Vanderbilts weren’t done building their ‘summer cottages,’ because they also built the Marble House between 1888 and 1892. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt for $11 million, of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet of marble.

Then there is another National Historical Landmark, The Elms, owned by the Berwinds of Philadelphia and New York, who made a fortune in the coal industry. It took $1.4 million to build a garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house.

Rosecliff was commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899 and built for a reported $2.5 million. Harry Houdini has been here and scenes in such films as The Great Gatsby and 27 Dresses have been filmed here.

The stunning Chateau-sur-Mer is a landmark of High Victorian architecture and was the scene of the “Fete Champetre”, a country picnic for over two thousand guests held in 1857, to the debutante ball for Miss Edith Wetmore in 1889. The ballroom is built in the Italianate-style and in 2006 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Rounding out the list is the Kingscote, built by Southern planter George Noble Jones and the Isaac Bell House, a shingle style home built for Isaac Bell, a wealthy cotton broker and investor. The Italianate-style villa, Chepstow is also open for touring.

To tour each of these homes, which are open from May to October 10th, visit The Preservation Society of Newport County website which protects, preserves and presents its 11 historic properties and landscapes – seven of which are National Historic Landmarks. You can check out the operating schedules of each of the properties at the website.

Travel Makers MD