Blogging from The Breakers: Newport, RI

A look inside one of America’s most luxurious mansions…

Advertisements

The next stop on our Rhode Island vacation was a self-guided tour of The Breakers. The most extravagant of the Newport mansions, The Breakers signifies the wealth and influence of the Vanderbilts—once one of America’s most powerful families.

We arrived on a crisp summer morning, the air cooled by the storm passing through Newport. For a fee, we were given access to the mansion with a pair of headphones detailing the importance of The Breakers’ rooms.

Below is a collection of some of the tour’s highlights.

20170627_110351.jpg

This view of the mansion shows the builders’ attention to detail even on its exterior.

20170627_110240

The Breakers’ garden was well-landscaped and painted a gorgeous picture beneath the cloudy sky.

20170627_121429

Statues, sculptures, and gargoyles were scattered throughout the grounds.

20170627_111705

This photo was taken from the bottom of the Grand Staircase. The skylight above was designed by John La Farge, a renowned stained glass artist.

20170627_111642

Another view of the Grand Staircase—the detailed tapestry depicts a scene from Alexander the Great’s life.

20170627_111625

The Great Hall’s ceiling—this was home to debutante balls, dances, and other formal events. President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy were guests at The Breakers in 1962, and other elite members of American (and European) society visited the mansion.

20170627_111742

Another view of the intricate Great Hall.

20170627_112111

The Dining Room hosted guests from the “400 Society” and other groups during the Gilded Age. The chandelier to the right is adorned with Baccarat crystal, and the entire room is decorated with gold. Mr. Vanderbilt even equipped The Breakers with electricity, an uncommon feature in those days.

20170627_112636

Dolphins, the symbol of hospitality, are just some of the creatures painted on the Billiard Room’s ceiling mosaics. Decorated to resemble an ancient Roman room, the walls are made of Cipollino marble from Switzerland.

20170627_113024

Modeled after the styles of the French and Italian Renaissance, the Morning Room was designed by Parisian Jules Allard. The walls are decorated with platinum, a resilient metal.

20170627_113254

Furnished with a variety of crystals and mirrors, the Music Room plays homage to the Vanderbilts’ musical attributes. In addition to concerts, this space hosted celebrations from balls to Gertrude Vanderbilt’s wedding.

20170627_113500

An avid reader, I quickly claimed the Library as one of my favorites. The walls are Circassian walnut, and the leaves pressed into the wood are made of gold.

20170627_114120

This bathroom’s tub was crafted from one block of marble and modeled after a Roman sarcophagus. The faucet has four taps—an extra two for hot and cold salt water, which was believed to have health benefits. Did I mention The Breakers has twenty bathrooms?

20170627_110859

This photo depicts the embellished ceiling of the Upper Loggia, which provided an excellent view of the lawn during parties.

20170627_110827

At the tour’s end, I reflected on the true significance of The Breakers. Most of us would never expect to attain the notoriety the Vanderbilts once held in American society, yet this visit reminded me it’s perfectly alright to keep dreaming those big dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging from Black Point: Narragansett, RI

Black Point Trailhead is truly a hidden gem among the attractions dotting the Narragansett, RI shores. I stumbled upon this spot yesterday after one too many hours of sun and the desire to travel to whichever spot caught my interest. Grabbing sneakers and a sand-weathered baseball cap, I maneuvered my car through the winding roads until I reached the start of the trail.

I could spend hours describing the incredible landscape before me, but I hope these pictures speak for themselves! They serve as a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty existing in even the smallest of things.

20170626_155536

Pools of water reflected the cloudless sky overhead as groups of tourists paused for photos on the boulders. This picture was taken a few seconds before a colony of seagulls flew just a few feet over the pool.

20170626_154521

Though this image contains so-called “earthy hues,” its simplicity is perhaps the most striking feature. The weathered rock, reminiscent of desert-like stone, drew my attention because it was unlike the features I’ve come to associate with those of Rhode Island. The deep blues and greens we often connect with shoreline landscapes are nowhere to be found.

20170626_153755

Yet beneath the surface, one can see this environment is anything but colorless.

20170626_153859

Barnacles and snails dotted the red rocks, providing a beautiful contrast from the tens of thousands of black clams. This “valley” was actually a mere four feet of water.

20170626_154159

I spotted several crabs scurrying beneath in seconds. Though this picture shows their undersides, these little guys were very much alive.

20170626_160310

A gorgeous contrast from the others, the rocks became home to beach towels as spots were quickly claimed to watch the crashing waves. Black Point, a popular fishing area, is an excellent place to unwind and relax during a hot summer day.

20170626_155527

Another pool, this one closer still to the ocean, received some traffic in the afternoon as visitors stopped to take pictures or eat an early dinner on the rocks.

20170626_155550

The visit emphasized all the awe-inspiring forces—weathering, erosion, and so many others—making this beautiful place what it is today.  Black Point is one of those trails you cannot help but frequent over and over again.