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The mansions of Newport are where Gilded Age splendor still resides

The mansions of Newport -- originally called "cottages" -- were built as summer homes in the 1850s to 1900 by wealthy tycoons of New York and Philadelphia. Now, these massive houses, including the spectacular Rosecliff, Marble House, the Breakers, the Elms, Rough Point, and more, are open to the public, offering fascinating and informative tours. Special events, parties, balls, and performances, are presented during summer, fall, and the Christmas season. The magnificent Newport Flower Show takes place yearly at Roseclilff.

680 Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-847-8344

Once Newport’s largest summer mansion

Commissioned in 1887 by Frederick Vanderbilt, this majestic oceanfront home was then the largest of the Newport summer mansions. Set at the extreme end of Bellevue Avenue, it’s picturesque landscape was created by Frederic Law Olmstead’s firm. James B. Duke took ownership in 1922 and it passed to his 12 year-old daughter Doris upon his death. The heiress spent her teenage summers here and in 1958 Duke began purchasing art and antiques for the house and combined them with family treasures. The estate is filled as she left it with French furniture, European art, Chinese porcelains, and Flemish tapestries. Upon her death in 1993, the property was joined to the Newport Restoration Foundation and opened to the public in 2000.

Chepstow

Narragansett Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

This Italianate-style villa was designed by architect George Champlin Mason in 1860 and is a classic example of a Victorian summer cottage. It was the summer residence of the prominent Morris family from New York, which included a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house contains the Morris family's collections, including 19th century landscape paintings by the Hudson River school of artists.

Marble House

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

In 1888, William K. Vanderbilt asked architect Richard Morris Hunt to design for him, "the very best living accommodations that money could buy." The result was Marble House, completed in 1892 at a cost of $11 million, and containing 500,000 cubic feet of American, Italian and African marbles. Vanderbilt presented the deed to the house to his wife Alva as a 39th birthday present. The grounds include a colorful Chinese teahouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.

Rosecliff

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-847-1000

Rosecliff was build in 1902 by Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a silver mining heiress from Nevada. It was designed by the eminent architect Stanford White and it imitated the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. The architectural style is Baroque and Baroque Revival. It is a prime example of Newport's Gilded Age mansions. It is open to the public as a historic house. Many annual seasonal events are held here, including the beloved Newport Flower Show in the spring. Rosecliff has been used as a setting for a number of movies, including "The Great Gatsby," "True Lies," "Amistad," and "27 Dresses." Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.
Information: www.newportmansions.org/explore/rosecliff

Chateau-Sur-Mer

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

This 1852 stone mansion is a classic example of High Victorian architecture and furnishings, including wallpaper, ceramics and stenciling, constructed for China Trade merchant William Wetmore. His son, George Peabody Wetmore, became Governor of Rhode Island and U.S. Senator. The house is noted for its original Victorian park, with century-old weeping and copper beech trees, a Chinese moongate, and Colonial Revival garden pavilion.

Kingscote

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

This was one of the early summer houses designed in the Gothic Revival style, in 1839, for Georgia planter George Noble Jones. The family's connection to Newport was severed by the Civil War, and the house was acquired by China Trade merchant William Henry King, a prominent Newporter. Five generations of King family collections are on display. Kingscote's dining room, added in 1881, includes the earliest known installation of Tiffany glass. The house is a National Historic Landmark.

The Breakers Stable and Carriage House

Bateman and Coggeshall Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

The stable includes a private collection of Vanderbilt family memorabilia, including several road coaches.

Isaac Bell House

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

Presented as a restoration work in progress, this National Historic Landmark is regarded as an innovative compendium of the design influences that characterize the American architectural period known as the "shingle-style." Built in 1883 by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the house combines Old English and European architecture with colonial American and exotic details, such as a Japanese-inspired open floor plan and bamboo-style porch columns. Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.

The Breakers

Ochre Point Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

The grandest of the Newport summer cottages and a National Historic landmark, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a summer retreat for his large family. This 70-room Italian Renaissance-style house, completed in 1895, includes a 45-foot high central Great Hall. It sits on a 13-acre estate overlooking a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, where the waves crashing on the rocks below gave the house its name. Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.

The Elms

Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000

A National Historic Landmark, The Elms is a French-style chateau built in 1901 by architect Horace Trumbauer as a summer house for millionaire entrepreneur Edward Julius Berwind. It contains every technological marvel of its time, and was one of the first Newport houses to be fully electrified. The estate includes a 10-acrre park and elaborate sunken garden. Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.

Ochre Court

Cliff Walk Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-6650

This palatial former summer home was built in 1892, and is now the main administration building for Salve Regina University. The main floor is open to guests Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4 pm. During the summer, guided tours are available.