Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Newport, Rhode Island

Today we toured two of the Newport Mansions. Both of these were built by Vanderbilts as summer cottages and are even more magnificent than my imagination could ever conjure.

Driving over the Sakonnet River Bridge we entered Aquidneck Island. The towns of Portsmouth, Middletown, and Newport are on this island.

The first of the great summer cottages we toured was the Marble House, built by William K. and Alva Smith Vanderbilt and completed in 1892.

Marble House was built using 500,000 cubic feet of white marble and cost eleven million dollars. I can't begin to describe the opulence inside.

For scale, here is Rich standing inside the front door of the Marble House.

This is the dining room.

We drove along Thames Street which runs parallel to Narragansett Bay until we found a parking spot and had a bite of lunch. From there we found Ocean Drive which allows access to the ocean although the shore is extremely rocky in this area, even where the famous summer cottages are located.

The Breakers is perhaps the most famous of the great summer cottages of the gilded age in America. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II it is a four story limestone palace with seventy rooms.

This home is so large that I could only get the center section in the frame of my camera.

Rich standing inside the front door of The Breakers.

The dining room table was not extended and only had eight chairs around it today. It must be quite a sight when all four arm chairs and thirty side chairs that I counted in that room are set at table.

Don't pass up an opportunity to visit these homes if you are in the area. There are eleven homes that can be toured but we were only able to visit these two. It takes over an hour to tour each one plus any time you spend outside or just dawdling in disbelief that anyone could possess such vast wealth.

On our way back up Aquidneck Island, we passed Easton's Beach. In the 1840s, "Women and their escorts were permitted to use the beach in the morning, under protection of a white flag. At noon when a red bunting went up, women were expected to leave..." according to a nineteenth-century chronicler.

This is Easton's Beach today...after Tropical Storm Irene passed through.

Much of the sand seemed to have washed away and the ground was covered with dead clams.

Closer to the water were piles of seaweed and some dead fish. Other than lots of downed limbs and trees and a couple of boarded up windows, this is the most damage we have seen from Irene.

Lovin' Life ~~ In Awe of Today's Sights  

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