Postcards from Newport, Rhode Island

Postcards from Newport, Rhode Island

The Cliff Walk is a stunning public access walkway along the eastern shore of Newport where you can view many opulent homes and the beautiful coastline.

Viewed from the Cliff Walk, surfers take to the late summer waves.

The Elms is the summer “cottage” of coal tycoon Edward Julius Berwind and his wife, Sarah. Its design was inspired by the Château d’Asnières in Asnieres, France. I took a behind-the-scenes tour to see the extensive living areas such as the kitchen, the basement where the boilers and coal tunnels are located, and the servant quarters. There were more than 40 servants for this summer cottage that was used by the Berwinds only six weeks of the year.

The Elms was one of the first homes to have electricity and no back-up system. Although pictures are not permitted to be taken inside, a favorite Italian artist of mine, Giovanni Boldini, has one of his paintings in this mansion of Elizabeth Wharton Drexel.

The Breakers, owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II of the infamous industrial Vanderbilt family, was the largest and most opulent 70-room summer house in all of Newport when it was completed in 1895. The summer home is situated on 13 acres, is 65,000 square feet and is worth approximately $150 million in today’s dollars. When it came to the interior design, money was no object; marble was imported from Italy and Africa, plus rare woods and mosaics were brought in from countries around the world. The Gold Room originally was constructed in France, disassembled, shipped in airtight cases and reassembled in Newport.

Hammersmith Farm, the “summer White House” as it once was known, was the summer home of Jacqueline Bouvier. It was here that she and John F. Kennedy held their wedding reception in 1953. It was open to the public to tour until it was bought by a private owner five years ago.


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