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Newport Rhode Island Mansions Tour
Discover the Historic Gilded Age Newport Rhode Island Mansions
The Newport Mansions are the top tourist destination in the state of Rhode Island. The Breakers alone receives over 300,000 visits per year. Upon entering the city, you'll be shocked by the sheer beauty of the rugged, cliff lined coastline of Newport. High atop the cliffs, you can find the famed public access Cliff Walk, and the Guilded Age mansions of Bellevue Ave that have made the city so famous. Today, many of the mansions are available for touring. Each property has its own unique views, historical antiquities, and personal charm. Read all about these "summer cottages" to the rich, like Rosecliff, The Elms, and Marble House on this page, illustrated with beautiful photosof the properties.
The Breakers is one of the Vanderbilt mansions of Newport. It is located on Ochre Point Avenue, part of the Bellevue Avenue Historic District. It is regarded by many as the most opulent of all of the mansions. Construction of the home began in 1893 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, who used The Breakers as merely his summer home. Cornelius spent $7 million dollars on construction, a bargain in today's standards, but with inflation, that number equates to around $150 million. The fine details and quality materials that make up the mansion could not likely be reproduced today.
The mansion contains pieces imported from Africa, Italy, and France, such as marble, mantel pieces, and other details. The Breakers was passed down from Cornelius Vanderbilt II, who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, to his wife Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt. She passed the property onto her daughter Gladys. Countess Sylvia Szapary then sold the property to the Newport Preservation Society in 1972, with the stipulation that the family could still live on the closed-to-the-public third floor (and still to this day!). The Breakers is now the top tourist destination in Newport and the entire state of Rhode Island.
With construction beginning on Marble House in 1888, this beautiful stone mansion was the first of many more to come along Bellevue Ave. The home was built by William Kissam Vanderbilt, part of the wealthy railroad tycoons of the 1800's, the Vanderbilt family. The home was given by Mr. Vanderbilt to his wife as a 39th birthday present. Outside, the home can be seen with its magnificent, towering stone columns.
>>>Learn more about Marble House on Yelp reviews
Everything You Wanted to Know About Rhode Island - Learn the history, the best spots, and the best eats in RI!
Where are the best places to eat? What are the best places to see? Who lived in the old mansions? Get the answer to all of these questions and many more with this comprehensive guide to Rhode Island, which includes just about everything you ever wanted to know about the Ocean State.
From Narragansett Bay, Roger Williams, the American Industrial Revolution and the Independent Man to the New England mob, the Big Blue Bug, the Newport Mansions, Family Guy and profiles of Buddy Cianci, H.P. Lovecraft and the Farrelly brothers, no book provides a more insightful lowdown on the Ocean State than Rhode Island 101. No book is more fun! From fabulous beaches, historic cities, and dynamite cuisine to corrupt politicians, elite universities and a unique accent and slang, it's all here.
Chatea Sur Mer
Chatreau Sur Mer was built by William Shepard Wetmore in 1852. The home predated most of the other Newport mansions of Bellevue Ave. Today, it is open to the public as a museum, owned by the Newport Preservation Society. Unlike many of the other mansions of Newport, this home was built as a full time residence, not a summer home.
>>>Learn more about Chateau Sur Mer
Once upon a time, the Elms was almost demolished to make room for a new property. Thankfully, the Newport Preservation Society purchased this historic landmark and spared the building from certain ruin. It was built in 1899 by the Berwind family, modeled after the ChÃ¢teau d'AsniÃ¨res in France. The property sits directly on the cliffs of Newport, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The exterior was once beautifully landscaped with Elms, which have succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. In their place are weeping beech trees today.
>>>Learn more about The Elms here
On the inside of Rosecliff, you may recognize its stunning ballroom from the movie True Lies. The exterior is one of the most remarkable mansions for its lush, green landscaping and pure white Ionic pilasters. The home was modeled after the Grand Trianon of Versailles. The home was used mainly as a place to host grand events during Newport's Gilded Age. Theresa Fair Oelrichs initially built the mansion in 1891. The backyard grounds have an exceptional view of the Atlantic Ocean and Newport coastline, stretching all the way to Tiverton.
>>> Learn more about Rosecliff here.
A Guide to Newport's Cliff Walk - About the mansions, views, and history
What was it like to live in the era when the mansions were all running at their peak, occupied and serving as part of the Newport society? This book goes over the history of the mansions and the era, along with the famed Cliff Walk which runs oceanside in front of all of the mansions of Bellevue Ave.
Where the salty air mingles with the far-off laughter of women in ball gowns, the houses of Newport's Cliff Walk preside in grandeur over the crashing waves below. Walking along the gravel trail, it's easy to imagine the faintest hint of a waltz coming from the windows of Beechwood, or to envision the Duchess of Windsor's carriage arriving for a visit at Fairholme. Ed Morris takes you on a tour of twenty-four historic mansions and landmarks, entertaining along the way with tales of splendor and style, social maneuvering and matchmaking.
This mansion is still in private hands, and was put on the real estate market by the Tinney family in 2009.
Learn more about Belcourt Castle here.
Which Newport Mansion is Your Favorite? - Vote for your favorite mansion below!
It's okay to play favorites. These are some of the most beautiful homes in the country, and they were built to look beautiful. Some are more beautiful on the inside, some are more extravagant on the outside. Of the properties owned by the Newport Preservation Society, which one did you enjoy visiting the most?
Which mansion did you enjoy visiting the most?
Newport Mansion Links - Find more information about the properties here:
Find more historical information and tourist sites about the mansions here:
- Newport Mansions Website
Buy tickets, book a wedding, or call for visiting hours on the official website for the mansions.
- Newport Rhode Island
The mansions and city featured on the official Wikipedia page.
- Newport Mansions Photos
Photos of each property, including some not listed here, on the NYC Architecture website.
Learn More About Newport - Guilded Age books worth reading
Recommended Books About Rhode Island - Explore more of the stunning coast of Rhode Island
Find everything there is to do in Rhode Island with this recommended guide!
Stunning photos of Rhode Island's coast, small towns, and historical landmarks.
40 unbelievable walks in the state of Rhode Island, know for their hiking, birding, and nature viewing opportunities.
Cooking done Rhode Island style, with incredible recipes and meal ideas.
Tell us about your journey to the mansions, your favorite home, and what you think of these historical landmarks here! Thanks for stopping by!