Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Back! And I saw Mansions!

Originally, I started blogging (on a different blog) because I wanted to share my travel stories with my friends and family at home while I lived in Asia.

I've gotten too far away from that and I want to get back into it. I want to be an Everyday Tourist.

Problem now is, I grew up in this here town, so it takes more effort on my part to really feel foreign-y about it. But I refuse to be discouraged; I will act like a tourist, regardless of how many people know for a fact that I am faking an accent.

TODAY, we went to Newport, RI to see the Newport Mansions! (ooohhh, fancy.) And before you even question it, OF COURSE I pretended to be from some distant country where rolling your R's is par for the course.

Rhode Island is not a state known for being uppity, but by God, Bellevue Ave. in Newport is almost gaudy in how much money those people had. Now it's all run by a preservation society and runs about $14/person to get into each building, but when you realize that actual families once owned's sick.

There are about 11 homes that are kept in pristine condition and open to the public today. Many of the structures were built and owned by the Vanderbilts. According to placards and the free digital tour that's provided, photography is prohibited inside.

Which is where the foreign accent comes in handy; my grasp of the English language was questionable at best.

The tours were fantastic and had some fun little facts. For example, one of the guests who dined at this table said that her parents instructed her to keep her fingers on the edges of her plate as this particular home was known to whisk away dishes almost as soon as they had been laid down.

My favorite room in all three mansions we visited was this music room. My photo is crap, but the room was majestic. The families, for the most part, were trying to re-introduce the Classical Age as well as the styles present during the reign of King Louis XIV-XVI. Everything had such minute detail, I really can't imagine how much work it was to create even one ceiling of one room, never mind an entire "summer cottage", which is what these places are considered.

That's right. This is someone's cottage. And it looks like mother freakin' Versailles Palace.

Newport Mansions

$14/person per mansion


  1. I love visiting Newport! I've only been to one or two of the mansions but have walked the cliff walk and flown kites at the state park more times than I can count. I agree, it's crazy to think that these were considered "cottages!" Can you imagine what it would have been like to heat them in the winter?!? That must be why there were only there in the summer!

  2. First of all, I'm so glad you're back! Second, I love that you took secret pictures! It's unbelievable that people actually owned those homes! Can you even imagine owning even 1/5th of that?! Crazy!

  3. I'm a new follower and just wanted to say love the pics. The mansions look amazing! (I had a friend that went to college at Salve Regina and the university uses mansions for the buildings, beautiful) It was fun getting a peek at crazy luxury.

  4. @Poekitten: This was my first time! I would definitely want to check it out in the summer, but seriously, who has all that crap? Plus, a bunch of the places were like, "Yes, Ava only enjoyed her mansion for 3 summers before they divorced." Ugh.

    @Megan: Thank you! Taking secret pictures is actually a hobby of mine: I got severely b*tched out in the Sistine Chapel about it, so when I get away with it I feel pretty 007.

    @McDancer: Well hi! I can't even imagine going to Salve Regina- I feel like I would be afraid of breaking stuff, and that would have really re-shaped my college years. I'll be honest: I was a hot mess.