Rhode Island – USA

Our final destination on this visit to the east coast of America was to Cape Cod, as we wanted to retrace steps we had taken back in the late 90s.

It was due to my insistence that we took a detour to our planned journey. I had a fancy for seeing the ‘Mansions’ of Newport, Rhode Island because I had read that Newport was where Americas wealthiest families spent their summers in the 1800s. Whilst the Astor’s and the Vanderbilt’s no longer holiday in the seaside town on the tiny island of Aquidneck, it is now an enclave for the merely wealthy rather than the uber-rich.

The journey from Boston to Newport is a little over an hour and it just meant doing a bit of a dogs-leg but was worth it. We found our hotel easily enough, it was lovely. As we were only spending one night we did the town straight away and decided to leave early next morning, do the Mansions then continue our journey.

The town alone was worthwhile; it is full of cutesy gingerbread houses with rocking chairs on porches just waiting to be sat in. The shops are arty and crafty rather than practical and we even found an old Morris Minor tucked away under someone’s carport. The town did however as the saying goes ‘roll up the sidewalk’ by 8.00pm.  We called in Griswolds for dinner (purely because of the name and the National Lampoon films) but as they were closing we could only have a bowl of clam chowder and a bread roll.

I am feeling particularly cross as it is only now I realise the whole purpose of my visit is lost. I have searched high and low for the images I took and can’t find anything other than those above so I have had to take those below from the internet.

The Mansions

From May to October you can only visit certain houses – Click the links to each house to see what we saw. Not a bad life, huh?

The Breakers  is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn of the century America

The Elms modelled on the French chateau d’Asnieres outside Paris belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Berwind of Philadelphia and New York.

Marble House  was the “summer cottage” for one lot of the Vanderbilt’s. The other lot lived at Rough Point  until it was sold to Doris Duke a tobacco heiress.

We completed our visit by seeing Rosecliff commissioned by the Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs. You may recognise it from the film ‘The Great Gatsby’

It is as I have followed the links I realise you are only allowed to take photos of the outsides of the mansions. So perhaps I haven´t lost too much after all.


Step Through the Looking Glass and read the  Red Queen Musings

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