Gilded Age Gorgeousness

Newport, Rhode Island is famous for its mansion houses, which were the summer homes for many of America's most elite families in the late 19th century, known as the Gilded Age.  The phrase, coined by Mark Twain and used by the likes of Edith Wharton, was actually a backhanded insult that these were times of a gorgeous veneer being applied to something quite horrible. But, to me, these houses are a magnificent 'tourist attraction' and peek into the history of America and some of its most exciting times.  There are many home that you can tour, but we chose The Breakers, the most famous of all the Newport mansions and summer home to one of the most well-known families of the time, the Vanderbilts.

The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and was named after the waves which 'broke' on the cliffs behind the home. Designed by renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt, the 70-room mansion has approximately 65,000 sq ft  of living space. The home was constructed between 1893 and 1895 at a cost of more than $12 million (at that time, can you imagine?!). The entrance is marked by sculpted 30-foot iron gates and are part of a 12-foot-high limestone and iron fence that borders the property on all but the ocean side.

Though it was pouring rain during our visit, you could just imagine walking through the home when it was an actual working family home.  If you ever find yourself in Newport, make sure you take a tour of this amazing building.  The interiors had me buzzing with ideas for whenever I get to decorate a home, but to preserve all the original furniture and artwork, no photography allowed.  So now you HAVE to visit  :)