Tuesday was a travel day.
It’s a bit of a drive from DC to Boston so we had decided to break it up by spending a night in Newport, RI. On the coast of Georgia is Jekyll Island, the historic village has the winter “cottages” of the Rockefellers, Morgans, Vanderbilts and others who were among the richest families in the US in the turn of the 20th century. Their summer homes were in Newport, RI. If you’re a long-term reader of my blog, this may sound their familiar. We were there in 2010 on a 2-week New England trip and I blogged about it then.
We stopped at Mystic, CT, first to walk around the little sea town with its drawbridge.
It was a great place to get an ice cream cone or coffee. There are neat little shops near the drawbridge.
It was a gray day and pretty chilly.
Our goal was to get to Newport in time to do the cliff walk before dark. This walk is along the ocean in front of the mansions (or summer cottages as they called them).
It was so cold the walk didn’t last long, unfortunately. With 20+ mph wind coming off of the water, we didn’t have enough layers along to make this comfortable.
There’s a fence between this The Breakers ^ and the Cliff Walk. We toured this one. Photos from inside in a bit.
The next day while the girls did some shopping and solo time, Lois and I toured some of the mansions. The tour included 5 estates but we only had enough time to see 3. Oh my word! The elaborate mansions and the stories that went with them. They have an audio tour app that you can download and listen to the stories if you are interested. You would think that having such a luxurious lifestyle would be bliss but if you have experienced much of this old world, you already know that’s not true. It’s good to be reminded that money and possessions to not bring peace and happiness.
Most of these “cottages” were only occupied for a few weeks out of the year. They were built in the era, called The Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain. It was not meant to be complimentary.
Rosecliff – Built by a silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs, completed in 1903.
I believe it is this mansion that is often rented for weddings. Among the more interesting wedding details was one that had a parrot for a maid of honor. Another wedding had imported an animal from Africa to be in the wedding party. I can’t remember what animal.
Pretty fabric details on upholstered chairs
The Marble House – Built by the Vanderbilts; has 500,000 cubic feet of marble. They traveled to France quite a bit so this house is fashioned after the French grand houses.
The gold room with gold leaf everywhere.
A spiral staircase for the servants (I think). I thought the wood work was cool but hard to shoot in a dark, tight space.
A heartbreaking tidbit about their daughter (this is her bedroom pictured above) was that she felt like her mother only cared about her as a trophy, or pet project. Isn’t that just sad?!
The son’s nursery.
Bright copper kettles. Can you imagine how this place was humming on evenings when the Rockefellers hosted a large dinner party? I wonder what they ate?
The Breakers – Built by another Vanderbilt; this home was fashioned after an Italian Renaissance palazzo (palace).
HERE is an older, but interesting video of the history of these mansions.