Newport research trip, part 2

The second day we started at The Breakers, the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside any of the properties, but The Breakers has an amazing terrace. It’s all marble and mosaic with an amazing view.


Here’s the sitting area at one end.








That’s the ceiling.







The ocean through the arches.









And the lawn through the arches.









That’s the outside from the “back yard.” Can you imagine building a house that grand and only living in it 10 weeks a year? Amazing.







Next, we went to Marble House (the summer home of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt), which for some reason, I didn’t take pictures of. I’m going to have to check with Mom. Anyway, here’s the view from behind the Chinese Tea House, where we had lunch before touring Marble House. Alva had it built later, and originally you couldn’t see if from the house. It was off a bit, hidden behind trees, and you had to cross a bridge to get to it.






The following day was spent at The Elms, the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Berwind. We actually did two tours there. The first was the Servants Life Tour, which was amazing.






We started in the service entrance, a circular drive covered in Wisteria so the family couldn’t see deliveries being made. The goal of the servants was to make things appear at the right time as if by magic. The tour took us up three flights of stairs to the servants’ quarters, then downstairs to the laundry, and finally to the sub-basement where they stored coal and ice. The only person from the family who may have gone down there was Mr. Berwind when he went to inspect his wine cellar. The second tour was the ‘upstairs’ tour, where we learned that after Mrs. Berwind’s death, Mr. Berwind invited his sister, Julia, to take on the role of hostess. After Mr. Berwind died, Miss Berwind summered there until her death.





The giant tree in the middle is a group of four Weeping Beeches. Miss Berwind would invite all the neighborhood children (all of them, not just the rich ones) to come and play in her yard after school. After they had played a while, she would send the butler out in full livery to serve cookies, milk, and lemonade on silver trays. That was in the 50’s (she died in 1961), and there are people still alive in Newport who remember playing at The Elms.

Tomorrow, the churches, Kingscote, and the topiary garden.






5 comments on “Newport research trip, part 2

  1. Jean says:

    I’ll bet the servants’ tour was particularly fascinating. Too few people consider what it took to keep enterprises like this humming along. The servants made it happen.

  2. Awesome houses, but why didn’t they let you take pictures inside?

  3. Wendy says:

    The official reason was because flash photography fades fabrics. On the guided tours, taking pictures could have slowed things down too, but only 2 of the 6 houses open had those. The others were self guided. I suspect it also had to do with keeping sales in the gift shops up, too. There were books and post cards for sale.

  4. Hmm. You’d think they’d let you take pictures without flash, but it makes sense if they’re selling photos of their houses.

    Do flashes really fade fabrics?

  5. Wendy says:

    Light fades fabric. Seems to me it would take a whole lot of flashes to fade anything but a lot of people visit those houses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s