Growing up in Pittsburgh there wasn’t too much ocean water around us. We had the three rivers and Lake Erie, but they usually looked kind of brown. When I moved to New York it didn’t really set in that the ocean was close until Ben started taking me to different beaches. Last year we quickly visited Newport on our way home and I made Ben promise to take me back.
During the Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island became a very popular spot for elite families to build extravagant summer “cottages” and escape the heat of the south. Some of these homes have now been preserved by The Preservation Society of Newport County and are available for visitors to tour.
So I won’t give you all of the history on these houses, but the preservation society has done a wonderful job with walking tours that you can do by yourself with headphones. The Breakers is one of the biggest “cottages” in Newport built by the Vanderbilt family.
There were so many extremely little details everywhere you looked. And that stair case is just stunning.
The chandeliers just amazed me.
No ceiling was left untouched.
And that would be all marble tiles.
I also loved seeing the original telephones and electric lamps.
My favorite part had to be seeing the behind the scenes where the servants worked and slipped in and out of rooms with out being noticed.
The kitchen was massive and I loved seeing all the pastry decorating tools.
They had massive china closets that were two stories tall.
On the left is a light that was both electric and gas. On the right are the light switches.
The Marble House was also built by the Vanderbilt family and is made exactly of what you would think… marble.
I just loved all the details on the ceiling.
The stain glass was stunning and how cute is that chair/couch on the right.
The steps to the books is amazing!
On the left is the gold room where everything was done in gold leaf.
More behind the scenes.
Rallies for women’s rights were held at the Marble House.
The Elms was built by Mr. and Mrs. Berwind and was known for being run as if by magic. All of the servants corridors were hidden, the coal was delivered by a tunnel and deliveries came from a side entrance under an underpass.
That is a marble bathtub that has hot and cold water plus hot and cold ocean water.
I loved seeing all of the old wedding photos! It makes me love my job even more when I see how these photos become heirlooms and stand the test of time.
Ben and I did an extra servants tour at The Elms and I felt like was in Downton Abbey!
A fire hose and the circuit breaker for the house.
On the left is the call buttons for each room and on the right is a list of the staff that was required to run the house.
On the left are two huge water tanks and the right is one of the servant rooms.
On the left is an antique Louis Vuitton trunk and on the right was a list of all of the dishes that were to be packed in a trunk. I thought it was so neat to see the old hand writing, plus the nail to keep it on the trunk. I guess they didn’t have tape or post it’s back then ; )
This was the coal room in the basement and the tunnel where the coal was delivered.
That’s a lot of stairs! The staff must have all been in shape…or very much out of breath when they reached the top.
The view of Newport from the top of The Elms.
Chateau-Sur-Mer was built by Mr. Wetmore.
On the very right you’ll see waves that were carved in the wood to represent Newport.
We visited a couple other smaller “cottages” that weren’t so small and I really loved seeing all of the items that people would have displayed or used in everyday life. The left looks like a highchair for a child, but it was actually a chair for the owner’s dog to sit on at the table! And on the right that little stand is to hold boutonnieres and keep them in water until they were needed. I think florists should deliver boutonnieres to grooms in that now… it would be perfect for pictures.
Random, but I loved that tassel.
The fireplace screen looked like a birdcage to me.
I think stain glass is beautiful, and I just loved seeing it in the houses.
The Green Animals Topiary Garden was purchased by Mr. Brayton, but was actually designed by Gardner Joseph Carreiro and his son-in-law George Mendonca.
How fun would it be as a kid to run and play in this garden! At night though some of the bushes could look pretty scary lol.
Cute little animal details.
Rosecliff was by far my favorite “cottage.” It was built by Mrs. Oelrichs who hosted some very lavish parties. One of the parties included a secret guest which was a chimp dressed in a tux.
These days the Rosecliff is open for wedding parties. So if anyone needs a wedding photographer for a Rosecliff wedding then I’m your girl! Definitely a dream location to shoot a wedding!
The little town is also so cute and pretty! We spent our evenings in the town right on the docks of the harbor. Plus I found my favorite ice cream at Kilwan’s: Kilwan’s Tracks… it’s like moose tracks, but better.
There’s a beautiful cliff walk that goes along the coastline of Newport. It has such amazing views.
Ben was being funny : )
I mean look at that view and that blue water. I was seriously in heaven and took so many pictures and videos.
I was pretending to be Ariel on the right : ) “I want to be where the people are…”
And a selfie with the beautiful view!
I would highly recommend Newport! There is a little beach, but there’s so much to see that we really didn’t even spend much time on the beach. We purchased the Preservation Society year membership because we wanted to see as many houses as possible. I think we ended up seeing 8 of the 10 houses. Plus we might go back around Christmas because they decorate some of the houses! : )
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