Day 6 - Part 3 - Wednesday - September 14
EC/NE Camping Adventure 2022
Our final Newport, RI mansion to visit on this day is The Breakers!
It is considered the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial pre-eminence in the Gilded Age.
This house is amazingly immense! In the central grand hall of the home, the ceilings are 50’! Can you imagine cleaning that?! In many cases, the upkeep in these mansions is what led to their demise and facing demolition. If not for the Newport Mansion Preservation Society, many would not be here today.
The Breakers was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, one of the richest men in America, It was everything a millionaire of the Gilded Age could want in a summer getaway. A classic Italian palazzo design, the finest American and European craftsmanship, views of the sea, and modern technology combined to make the ideal setting for luxurious living and entertaining.
Built from 1893-1895 to replace a smaller, wooden house that had been destroyed by fire. Alice Vanderbilt, wife of Cornelius, commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt, a leading architect of the Gilded Age, to design the new structure of steel, brick and limestone. She had watched Alva Vanderbilt rise to social prominence with the building of her home, Marble House, and badly wanted to show Newport that SHE was the queen of the Vanderbilt family.
The mansion itself covers nearly an acre of the 13-acre property and has 70 rooms including 48 bedrooms for family and staff. There are 27 fireplaces. It was equipped with electricity – still a novelty in houses during the Gilded Age.
One highlight for us on this visit to The Breakers was to plan a picnic for the grounds. It was absolutely perfect! AND, we had very kind couple come up and ask us if they could take our photo for us! Turns out, they were from Indiana too!! We Hoosiers are a friendly bunch, you know. 🥰
We were excited to visit the mansions this time around knowing that several scenes from the HBO series, The Gilded Age, were filmed. I cannot wait until they resume the series early next year!