For a little excursion out of town (and interstate!), today my dad and I got a bus down to Newport, Rhode Island (about 1½ hours south of Boston). About 100 years ago, Newport was the exclusive summer retreat for the wealthiest millionaires in America — and as such, these millionaires built some super-impressive mansions in the town. Today, Newport is still a very posh area, and many of the mansions are still privately owned and inhabited; but quite a few of them have been converted into museums and event facilities, and are open to the public. We went on a tour of the two most famous mansions in town — "The Breakers" and "Rose Cliff" — and we also explored the cliff-edge ocean shore that straddles the mansions.
We started at "The Breakers". This is the largest mansion in Newport, and probably one of the most ornate and lavish buildings in all of America. It was built in 1895 by the Vanderbilt family, considered by many to be "the Gates family" of their time. That is, they were absolutely stinking rich. The place is utterly covered in 22-carot plate gold, polished Italian marble, platinum, bronze, and other precious metals. It has sweeping ocean views, grand columns and porticos, a kitchen the size of a small factory, and a very cool electronic servant-paging system (must have been state-of-the-art for its time).
Vanderbilt house from the front.
Ocean view at the back.
Balcony with the ocean view.
Rear view of the mansion.
After seeing Breakers, we continued on to "Rose Cliff". Although this mansion is smaller and less lavish than its rival down the road, I like it a lot more. It's very bright, it has a lot of charm, and it's full of eccentric stories. This mansion earns most of its fame, because it was where the movie The Great Gatsby was filmed. This one is also hired out a lot more regularly than its rival, for private functions such as weddings and birthdays.
Dad and myself at the front of the house.
Back yard of the Gatsby mansion.
Sorry: due to copyright restrictions, photography is banned inside the mansions — so I only have photos of their exteriors. If you want to see what these places look like on the inside, you'll just have to go and do the tours yourself :P.
After seeing these two mansions, we made our way to the cliffy shore of Newport (not easy to get to — you have to walk all the way around 5km's of private mansions!), and did the walk along the ocean. Very nice views, and it was a great day for it.
Rocky shores of Newport, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.