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Florida Guide > Travelling

The Mansions of Newport RI Pt 3

When we left The Elms we decided to head for The Breakers, home of the Vanderbilt family and built by Cornelius Vanderbilt who had made his fortune in shipping and railroads.

Our stroll to The Breakers took us further down Bellevue Avenue, this road was very important during the summer season as anyone who was anyone would take a carriage ride along Bellevue Avenue in the afternoon and the ladies would dress especially for the event.
The Breakers was completed in 1895 and unlike The Elms which is based on a French Chateau this mansion is constructed in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Once again this property is a National Historic Lanmark and is owned by The Newport Preservation Society. The mansion is situated on Ochre Point Avenue and is approached through large , ornate, iron gates and a long drive way.

The Breakers is huge, with a total of 70 rooms, though not even half of these are on display to the public. The mansion is very opulent others have used the words ostentatious and vulgar but we both preferred it to The Ems, I think that possibly says something about us! Even back in the late 19th century the construction of this property cost in the region of seven million dollars, about one hundred and fifty million by today' s standards!

Once again it was a self-guided audio tour crammed full of information about the lifestyle of the families who summered there and the staff who ran the place. There were a number of secret passages which allowed the staff to service the bedrooms without being seen by guests or the family. The staff were in fact the only people who went everywhere in the house as the family never went into any areas designated for the staff.

After viewing the house we took a stroll in the garden which has vast lawns sweeping down to the cliff edge, but again, apart from the lawns and the trees there was not much made of the grounds, but the views were fabulous.

On the way back to our accommodation we stopped off at The Breakers carriage house, situated about a mile from the main house so that the family were not troubled by smell! As well as all the old carriages on display, because of the Vanderbilts connection with the railroad, there was a display of miniature railways, we could have spent a long time there but it was almost 5pm, closing time and so we had to be satisfied with a whistle stop tour.

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Page added on: 10 January 2015
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