June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend at Newport Rhode Island

This week was a short and a fast one. It's been a busy one, with a couple of fun projects I'm working on. Looking forward to the weekend to do some reading, some exercise and run some errands.

I leave you with some photos from our Memorial Day Weekend at Newport Rhode Island.

Bellevue Avenue, Newport's most fashionable address, is a long, straight street lined with palatial mansions, grand houses, and the occasional bungalow.

{The Breakers}

{The Breakers Ocean Facade}

{The Breakers South Wing}

{The Breakers South Wing Garden}

The Breakers, the Gilded Age summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II is the most visited attraction in Rhode Island. Part of a 13-acre estate on the cliffs, it maintains a commanding position facing east overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, the home was constructed between 1893 and 1895 at the then-astronomical cost of more than $7 million. The Breakers Mansion, regarded as the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages", served as a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence.

Cornelius Vanderbilt died at the age of 56, leaving the Breakers to his wife, Alice Vanderbilt. She outlived her husband by 35 years and died at the age of 89 in 1934. In her will, The Breakers was given to her youngest daughter Gladys. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, Gladys opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. Although the mansion is owned by the Society, the original furnishings displayed throughout the house are still owned by the family.

{Marble House}

{Marble House}

{Marble House Ocean Facade}

{Chinese Tea House}

The Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for railroad baron William Vanderbilt. The Gilded Age mansion was designed by Richard Morris Hunt at a cost of $11 million--$7 million of which paid for the 5000,000 cubic feet of white marble. Upon completion, Mr. Vanderbilt gave the house to his wife Alva as her 39th birthday present. Alva Vanderbilt was a leading hostess in Newport society, and envisioned Marble House as her Temple to the Arts in America.

After Vanderbilt's divorced in 1895, Alva married his friend Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, moving down the street to Belcourt. After his death, she reopened Marble House and added a Chinese Tea House on its seaside cliffs, where she hosted rallies for women's suffrage. She sold the house to Frederick H. Prince in 1932. Prince's estate gave the house and its furnishings to the Preservation Society of Newport County in 1963.

{ Cliff Walk}

{Sunset at Cliff Hills}

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