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Scenes from the Gilded Age
A visit to Newport, Rhode Island is incomplete without seeing the Newport Mansions at Christmas. There are ten incredible estates that The Preservation Society of Newport County maintains year-round. Guests may explore independently or follow guided tours by a headset.
Through the holiday season, though, 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.)
RELATED: If you’re headed to New England over the holidays, find out what to pack for a winter trip to New England. [Free Printable Checklist]
The Breakers was the Vanderbilt family’s summer “cottage,” located in Newport, Rhode Island. It is considered the grandest of the Newport mansions. The 70-room, 5-floor structure is now a museum managed by the Preservation Society of Newport County.
[bctt tweet=”Visiting the Newport Mansions is one of my favorite holiday past times…Great events on tap this year! ??? #newportri #newportmansions #rhodeisland @NewportMansions @DscvrNewport” username=”enjoytravellif1″]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.
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.
Special thanks go to The Newport Preservation Society in Newport, Rhode Island for their generosity.This article is part of a sponsored collaboration between The Newport Preservation Society and Enjoy Travel Life. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.
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Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.