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newport part two: the breakers

September 21, 2008

READ PART ONE of my newport, rhode island day trip here.

next on the itinerary…

the breakers!

since this was a short day trip, we only had time to visit one of the newport mansions. touring “the breakers” was the obvious choice since it’s the most impressive out of all the mansions. we purchased tickets for a guided tour and strolled around the beautiful grounds taking pictures while waiting for the tour to begin.

i highly recommend purchasing the tour, cus even if you’re not into architecture or decor…it’s fun feeling like a snoop and seeing what crazy things insanely rich people blew their money on back in the day….like, say platinum leafing the walls for example. they actually called these summer residences “cottages.” as i’m sure you know, the breakers was the vanderbilt family “cottage” and according to the tour guide, this house was considered small change in comparison to their manhattan home. considering how ginormous and tricked out (for the late 1800’s!) the breakers is, can you imagine what their nyc home must have been like? we couldn’t take pictures indoors but my favorite room was gertude vanderbilt’s room. she was and artist and her room had the most gorgeous and bright floral wall paper. another fun thing to see was a bust of one of the vanderbilts that was a splitting image of anderson cooper (who is the son of gloria vanderbilt.)

another random fact, this time from wikipedia…the third floor is still in use by the vanderbilt family…

“In 1948 Countess Gladys Széchenyi (1886-1965), the youngest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, leased the high-maintenance property to the non-profit Preservation Society of Newport County for $1 a year. The Society bought the Breakers outright in 1972 for $365,000 from Countess Sylvia Szapary, the daughter of Gladys. However, the agreement with the Society allows the family to continue to live on the third floor, which is not open to the public. Countess Sylvia lived there part time until her death on March 1, 1998. Gladys and Paul Szapary, Sylvia’s children, summer there to this day, hidden from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who explore below.”

after our tour we drove along “ocean drive” which is a scenic ten mile drive that follows the coast. it’s an easy drive and absolutely gorgeous with lots of pretty houses and mansions to look at and lust after. i definitely picked out a few mansions to add to my if and when i win the lottery list.

ocean drive brought us back to downtown newport where we had dinner at the red parrot and walked along thames street. we stopped in a few boutiques and candy stores, walked along the marina and saw the yachts before heading home. oh! there was also a quick stop at the newport grand slots casino. tom had a dream that he found a whole bunch of change…so i thought this meant he would win big at the slots. um, i was wrong 😦 i only lost about $5 so no complaints!

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