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A few days ago I shared the first day of my recent Newport, Rhode Island trip that I took with my mom and cousin. Today I’m sharing the three mansions that we toured on our first full day of vacation.
We decided to walk down Bellevue Avenue to the mansion that was the farthest distance from our hotel and then work our way back to the hotel touring mansions along the way. The only time restriction we had was a 4:30 pm Servant’s Tour at The Elms.
After breakfast at Annie’s, we were ready to start a day of touring mansions. We loved Annie’s and ate there every day of our trip. If you travel to Newport, we recommend Annie’s!
The first mansion that we toured was 1892 Marble House built for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. The house was designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt, inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.
The mansion is a U-shaped building appearing to be two-story but actually four stories. We were able to tour the ground floor, bedrooms on the second floor, and the service areas in the basement. The servants quarters were located on the fourth floor.
A Chinese Tea House was built on the seaside cliffs by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont where she hosted rallies for women’s right to vote. Alva was given The Elms for her 39th birthday by William Vanderbilt. Alva divorced William in 1895 and moved down the street. According to our tour, she kept Marble House and used her bedroom there to store her clothes.
This is the view from the Chinese Tea House. The Cliff Walk is located along the shoreline that you see in this picture. Walking on the Cliff Walk is a must-do item for any Newport trip. I’ll share our Cliff Walk adventure in a future post.
The larger mansions are self-guided guided. We preferred the self-guided tours because you could go at your own pace, listening to as much or as little as you wanted. Here you see Mama and Susan enjoying the dining room.
This is the Grand Salon which served as a ballroom and reception room. It’s style is Louis XIV with green silk cut velvet upholstery and draperies. The walls are carved wood and gold gilt panels representing scenes from classical mythology.
I took many more photos but I’ll end the Marble House part of my post with the kitchen located in the basement of the home. I’m always as interested in the service areas of the home as I am the living areas.
We posed for a quick photo beside one of the large trees on the property before walking to our next mansion, Rosecliff.
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The grand staircase was designed with women in mind. The steps height is short which allowed women to make their grand entrance without the worry of tripping over their long skirt. Rosecliff can be rented as a wedding venue. Can you imagine how beautiful bridal photographs are in this location?
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As you can imagine, by the time we walked to the final mansion of the day, The Elms, we were pretty tired.
The Elms was built in 1901 by coal baron Edward Berwind. It was considered to be a very modern house for 1901, wired with electricity with no backup system and also had one of the first electric ice makers in a home.
The Elms was almost lost to development. After the final owner, Miss Julia Berwind died, the contents were auctioned off and The Elms almost was demolished. Thankfully it was saved and many of the furnishings, including the paintings in this room, have been bought back by the Preservation Society of Newport County.
We also toured the bedrooms in this home but I’m going to skip over those and share the Servant’s Tour that we did. This tour showed us the basement where all of the work happened that ran the house, especially in the summer when it was party season.
If you made it to the end of this very long post, thank you for hanging in there with my tour. It was so much fun to tour these mansions and I love to preserve my memories of my trip with my blog. If you missed my first Newport post where I shared a tour of Chateau-sur-Mer, I hope you’ll click over and take a look at it.
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