Through the holiday season, four mansions are open daily to visitors: The Breakers, Rosecliff, The Elms, and Marble House. Each was once a private residence for the well-to-do, including famous families like the Vanderbilts, who retreated to the mansions’ grandeur along the cool shores of Rhode Island for summer months.
Their lifestyle was supported by behind-the-scene efforts of a large domestic staff catering to their every need. Tours showcasing little seen servant areas (“Beneath the Breakers“) and servant stories (“Servant Life“) give fascinating detail. (Tip: These tours are on a limited basis, so I recommend getting tickets in advance.)
Holiday evenings at the mansions are alive with entertainment, complete with Christmas Carolers, Dinner Dances, Nutcracker Performances, and Bands of the era.
I’ve toured the mansions on several occasions (they are a little more than an hour from my hometown), but this was the first time I visited the Newport Mansions at Christmas time. Let me just say, I wasn’t disappointed. The mansions are beautifully decked out for the holidays through January 1st. (Photo Gallery follows.)
The Breakers was the Vanderbilt family’s summer “cottage,” located in Newport, Rhode Island. It is considered the most grand of the Newport mansions. The 70-room, 5-floor structure is now a museum managed by the Preservation Society of Newport County.
One Mansion, Thirty Christmas Trees!
Behind the Scenes
Architecturally inspired by The Grand Trianon (the garden retreat at Versailles commissioned by Louis XIV), Newport’s Rosecliff mansion is on a smaller scale yet no less grand.
Largest Private Ballroom in Newport, RI
Hers & His
Relaxing in Style
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Newport Mansions at Christmas time. It put me in a festive spirit!
What is your favorite tidbit of information about the Newport Mansions and/or life in The Gilded Age? Let me know in the comments below or by emailing me. I’d love to hear from you.