Friday, November 19, 2010


On Thursday we spent another perfect day in Newport.  Our pass for the mansions allowed us to see up to 5 and since we were so enamored with them the first time we were excited to go and see some more.  See...they are pumped!

We began this time at Marble House.  Like all the rest it was breathtaking to walk up to.  This one was one of my favorites as far as stories went.    The house was also part of the Vanderbilt clans (CorneliusVenderbilt family also owned The Breakers).  This was primarily, Alva Vanderbilt's cottage.

Her husband built it for her and she insisted that he give it to her for her 39th birthday present.  She envisioned it as the hub for social affairs in Newport.  And it  pretty much was.  Party after party.  She was gifted the house in 1892, and divorced her husband in 1895.  She was one of the first women of her stature to initiate a divorce.

The part I found interesting about that was that she not-so-gently persuaded her daughter to marry into royalty.  In fact, she insisted up on it and did not let her marry the man she really loved.  I found this odd by a woman who was divorced because she didn't really love her husband but she would encourage the same for her daughter. 

The house was very unique and the rooms were almost themed.  A gothic cathedral sitting room with stained glass windows, a completely gold ballroom, and her daughters room was even decorated and set up very ornately to teach her how to be royalty.

Alva remarried and moved down the street to Belcourt Mansion.  After her husband died she re-opened Marble House and had a Chinese Tea Room built on the seaside cliffs out back.

The place became a hub for the women's right to vote and she  may rallies there. 

This was such a  cool building and the view from this mansion was one of the best.  Perhaps one of my favorites...althought I say that about them all.

After leaving there the inevitable happened...Charlotte fell asleep and we went to Ocean Drive.  We found the most beautiful place where the waves were crashing the sun was shining.   Jim and I were both mesmerized and took our turns ogling and snapping pictures.

It is a bit hard to tell in this picture but on the right is a giant stone wall.  They would crash into it so hard the waves would crest over the wall.  So cool!

We gave it a bit more time and then headed to our next mansion, Chateau sur Mer.  This one was unique because it was the only one that was used as a year round residence and it was not right on the ocean.  It was built long before the other mansions came to grace Newport (1860's the others in the 1890's).  At one point it hosted a party for over 2000 guests and some say it lasted 3 days. 

All of the trees were imported from other countries and were tiny when first planted, it is amazing to see them now.

The man who built it left it to his son and daughter in law.  They had two daughter, but neither ever married and when they passed away the house was left empty and ill cared for.  After awhile the auctioned off the house and its contents.  The home originally had one of the most expansive collections of porcelain and although Doris Duke (owner of Rough Point) bought the house and most of the porcelain she donated the home to the Newport Historical Society and kept the porcelain for her own collection.

Also interesting, the 2 sisters lived a Victorian lifestyle until the time of their death. 

We had planned on eating lunch at Flo's Clam Shack since it has been featured on the food network twice and was right across the street from our hotel, but when we got there they only opened for dinner.  So, all we got was this picture and went back to our room to eat.

After eating we went across to the beach to collect shells and play.  We all had a blast and the views were amazing.

Shortly after leaving the beach we went to downtown Newport.  We checked out some shops and made out way to the pier to watch the sunset.

We enjoyed the views from a set of adirondack chairs.

Charlotte will forever have a friend in Newport.  Rio, here with Charlotte, was just a doll and she had so much fun trying to entertain her, although that meant that her baby said gobble gobble.

After eating dinner and an errand for my workshop we finally went back to the hotel to settle in for the night. 

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