Friday, August 16, 2013

New England Trip - The Newport Mansions!

It's funny how three grown women living in completely different parts of the country can get together for a vacation once a year and discover they have the same morning routines, same mannerisms and phrases, and same sense of humor.  Such it is when you get three sisters together!  While on our New England trip we were up and at 'em pretty early each morning, had a little breakfast and hit the road, no questions asked.  Everything cracked us up!  Trying to figure out how to open the gas tank on the rental car while two grouchy mechanics looked on, led us to fits of giggles imagining them saying, "How many blonds does it take to open a gas tank?"  So it went....

One day the road took us over the bridge to Newport, Rhode Island.  
We checked in at the visitor's center and then took a walk along the water front and 
through the town where there was a long street of cute shops and buildings.
From there we hopped back in the car for the scenic drive.  We stopped by historic 
Fort Adams and enjoyed the beautiful views of the bay.
One curve of the road would take us past pastures of sheep or horses and 
the next curve would reveal beautiful coastline.
We turned down a road and parked at Chateau-sur-Mer, one of the majestic Newport mansions that is open for a tour.  The chateau is an example of Italianate architecture and Victorian furnishings.  No photos were allowed inside the mansions, but if you click on their names, the links will take you to a website to take a peek.
Just as impressive to us as the chateau was a huge weeping beech tree in the side yard. 
Every child (and that includes those of us with a child within) needs a tree like this, to part the branches and find refuge inside, to have little "houses" and play areas. 
The grandest of the grand mansions is called The Breakers, the home of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Everything was large scale and over the top!
 A large balcony on the second floor over looked a patio...
 ...and this huge expanse of lawn leading to the sea.
The inside of the balcony is pictured above.  As we walked around the grounds we came across this cute little cottage, figuring it was the living quarters for the caretakers.  What a surprise to learn it was the play house for the Vanderbilt children!  The furniture was smaller scale, but it contained rooms to play house.
As a Downton Abbey fan I could see why the American Crawley family referenced their "home in Newport," no doubt to give the impression that they lived in one of these mansions.

Newport was a memorable place to visit.  We had planned to go on the Cliff Walk after the last tour, but it suddenly began lightning and thundering so we ran back to the car just before a cloud burst.  We called it a day and went back to the hotel for the evening.

Stay tuned for our next adventure!

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