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Monday, May 4, 2009

The Mansions of Newport

Pictures available on sidebar.... network issues

This is not the first time that we have visited these beautiful homes and it is certainly not the last.

Many people know about Newport, RI. I however, knew nothing about it until recently.  For those who are not aware. Newport was considered the place to be by the elite of society in the 19th century. The early 1900’s was considered the Guilded Age in Newport. The main attraction of the town being the “Summer cottages” of the very wealthy of the time.

One can not describe the mansions of Newport. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the amount of gold on the walls in some of these homes, a picture would be worth a million words, and I don’t have that much space. Unfortunately for you, pictures are not allowed in the mansions, so you’ll have to go see them in order to understand why they are so amazing. To look at the pictures you may find online, you would think… “wow, that’s just bad taste.” But in person, these homes are goddy, over the top, chaotic and every bit amazing!  Guided tours, lasting 45 minutes to an hour give you insight into a world that most of us will never know. The beauty and history in these homes are not done justice by a book, or website. Only a personal experience will do in this case.  Most of the homes are filled with original furniture and d├ęcor from the original owners from 1892 through 1906. Some artifacts dating back to 400 B.C. Other homes, or partial homes are filled with artifacts or replicas of the items of the period. Either way, the experience is priceless. From stories of summer guests and parties to the well known friends of the family, such as Thomas Edison himself, you will hear all about the lives of The Vanderbilts and other well known wealthy families.


There are about 7 homes in the society home tour. A tour of each house will run you around $20 per person or bundled tickets for a discount. A Society membership for a household will cost you about $90 and the entrance into the homes are free with membship. Now that we’ve visited twice, I would highly recommend paying for a Society membership and visiting every home, at least once or twice.  You will not regret it!


One home is not included in the society tours, as the owner still lives in the home. This would be the Belcourt Castle. An amazing property with a unique story to tell. From the layout of the home and the unique hump in the library, intentionally put there by the lady of the house, to the lights installed by Thomas Edison himself. This home is a DO NOT MISS! Not every tour is child friendly. There are regular tours going on through the day, and then the evening will host a ghost tour or the candle light champagne tour which starts with a glass of champagne or sparkling cider and a toast from the owner of the home. The tour then proceeds and will amaze you with every detail of the house. The fact that the tour is partially lead by the owner of the home, who still resides in the home, gives you such an amazing experience in this tour. This tour will run you about $18 per person, with children under 3 being free.


So, next time you’re looking for the perfect place to vacation, consider the homes of Newport at the top of your list. You will not look at your home (or the fireplace in it) the same again!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm the champagne tour sounds right up my alley!


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