With the festive Christmas season in swing, I headed to Newport, Rhode Island for the day. Newport, Rhode Island is one of my favorite places in New England - I previously blogged about attending the boat show last summer.
I celebrated my birthday last winter by touring the mansions in Newport. The mansions are owned by The Preservation Society of Newport County, who is a private non-profit organization established to protect the architectural heritage of Newport County. Some of their properties are National historic landmarks that are open to the public to tour year-round (the schedule varies by season so check out their website for the exact operating hours).
I was fascinated with the history of the mansions. I toured 5 mansions - the Breakers, Rosecliff, Elms, Marble House and Chateau-Sur-Mer. There are also 4 smaller houses on the tour that I have yet to visit. The Breakers is probably the most popular mansion that is visited by tourists. It was a nice treat to have the mansions to myself on my birthday which fell on a weekday last February which is the off season for tourists.
The Breakers was previously owned by the Vanderbilt family who used their fortune from New York Central Railroad to build this summer estate in Newport. The mansion has about 70 rooms! The Marble House was made with marble EVERYWHERE, even on the walls. That was really interesting to see! Rosecliff is the popular mansion for movies. The older version of The Great Gatsby was filmed there as well several other movies. All 5 of those mansions were summer estates of multiple rich families. I couldn’t image how they only enjoyed the mansions for short time - especially with the view they had of the surrounding ocean! I would definitely live there year-round if I owned one!
The Preservation Society of Newport County decorates the mansions for the holidays season so I knew I would return to visit this month. With my love for Christmas trees, I had high expectations and boy, I was not disappointed! It was stunning and beautiful! Only three mansions were decorated which were The Breakers, Marble House and Elms. All mansions had different themes of decorations based on the personality of each houses. I loved the details in each mansion - trees in the bedrooms, fireplaces were decorated, dining rooms were decorated as if it were hosting a holiday party, and many more!
The Breakers greeted me with huge wreathes on their iron gates at the entrance. It was a beautiful sight! The main lobby had a lot of reds against their gold interior. The Breakers also seemed to have the most poinsettias, compared to the other two mansions. My favorite room in the Breakers had to be the music room. The Christmas tree mostly decorated with red and gold garlands and ornaments stood next to the grand black piano. The detailing of the molding and chandelier made it look like a scene out of a Christmas movie. Another cool decoration was in the kitchen of the Breakers with eight trees the ornaments were decorated by local elementary students in Newport.
Walking up to the Marble House entrance, you could see the Christmas tree shining in the window. My favorite room was the dining room. There was a long table centered in the room with the Christmas tree to the side. The table was decorated as if there would be a Christmas meal hosted there. It felt very homely in that room!
The columns of Elms were wrapped with green garlands and wreaths which had the best entrance decoration in my opinion. It was cool how the mansion had old toys under the tree from the 20th century. I had two favorites in this mansion - the dining room again and the main room. The dining room was decorated by a local designer with more of a modern style. The theme was a mix of The Green Animal Topiary garden (which is a property that The Preservation Society of Newport owns) and The Nutcracker. It had a very New England traditional feel to the set up. The main room was breathtaking - by far my most favorite room out of all mansions. A large Christmas tree in middle with two smaller trees on the sides decorated with white lighting and gold touches. There were white branches set up around the small trees. I love the simplicity and classic look of it.
I enjoyed the very festive day at the mansions and it didn’t stop there. I grabbed lunch at America’s oldest tavern, the White Horse Tavern before doing some shopping around Thames Street in downtown Newport. If you are a lover of taverns, you will enjoy the White Horse Tavern. Before you go, make sure you make a reservation! Otherwise, you will be waiting longer for a seat at the bar. Thames Street is the shopping mecca in Newport. It runs about 1.5 mile through center of Newport with many shops, restaurants, and more historical homes to see. Many of the shops were decked out for the holidays so it was fun to walk around and do some last minute holiday shopping!
Before heading out of Newport, I saw on Instagram that there was a Christmas tree made out of lobster traps. I had to find it. I love anything nautical so the lobster trap tree sold me! I was able to easily find it by Newport Lobster Shack on Long Wharf. It was very cool to see.
There’s only three weeks left of Christmas at Newport mansions so hurry and don’t miss your opportunity to see the amazing decorations! It ends on January 1, 2019 and won’t return until late November 2019.
This blog is not sponsored. All opinions in this blog are my own.