New England Road Trip: The Mansions of Newport
New England: Day Trip Heaven
New England is an ideal region for road trips of all kinds–day trips, weekend trips, and even long road trips are all easily achievable here. Geographically, the states are much smaller in the Northeast–which makes them easy to buzz around within. You can be in Boston at breakfast, strolling around Newport, Rhode Island, by lunch, and then be home for dinner. The smaller sizes of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine make the region a haven for day trips.
Newport is All Glam
If you haven’t been to Newport, Rhode Island, it’s time to go. Seriously. The Newport Mansions are bastions of unbelievable history, wealth, and glamour. They’re immaculately preserved time capsules of Gilded Age glory. Stroll the hallways of Rosecliff, The Elms, or The Breakers, and soak up the stories that each spot holds. Movies like 27 Dresses and The Great Gatsby were filmed in the neighborhood.
Most of the mansions were built around the turn-of-the-century by figures who were leading the charge of the industrial revolution. The eclectic group includes railroad builders, coal magnates, and even immigrant families that struck it rich in Nevada by mining silver.
To this day, the neighborhood is perfectly landscaped, preserved, and treasured. You will find tourists here on weekends, and even some on weekdays. But it’s typically never “slammed” with guests. Buy tickets in advance and get a discount when you purchase multiple mansion tours. The Preservation Society of Newport has all the info and tickets here.
The Grandest Summer “Cottage”
It’s worth noting that every single one of the mansions is beautiful and fascinating. But the mansion of all mansions is The Breakers. We’re talkin’ copious instagram-worthy moments and multi-level storage facilities just for the china. Yep, you need to make sure this spot is on your to-do list.
The magnificent summer “cottage” was built In 1893 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, the 70 room mansion was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and mimics elements of 16th century palaces in Genoa and Turin.
The guided audio tour is a fun way to learn all about the property and it’s colorful history. The imported marble from Switzerland, the furnishings from Allard and Sons of Paris, and stories of their incredible parties will all take your breath away. Even JFK partied there.
Beyond the mansions, Newport is truly full of fun. The entire downtown area is a charming place to stroll, shop, and eat. Wander around the rambling streets for scenery and history, and when you get hungry, there are tons of options. Some lunch and dinner favorite include the Red Parrot, Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant, Rosemary and Thyme Cafe, and 22 Bowens Wine Bar & Grille. For dessert, make a pit stop at Ben & Jerry’s or Kilwins (both on Thames Street), or Newport Creamery on Bellevue Ave.
Lastly, don’t forget to take tons of pictures. Newport Mansions were made for Instagram (not really, but you get what we mean), so don’t forget to tag us with #viraltrips when you post!