Monday, November 26, 2012

Newport




After dropping off my sister at Salve Regina. We wanted to go on a tour of the Newport Mansions, better known to locals as the Newport Cottages as they were the summer homes of America's wealthiest. We decided to go on a tour through Marble House as it is one of the three cottages decorated for the holiday season. Marble House is so called as it is comprised of 500,000 cubic ft of Marble. It was home to Alva Vanderbilt, a woman with particularly lavish tastes and a solid belief in education. She used her home to educate and bring European architecture across the sea. The entertaining room was brilliant with it's golden leaf decor. The Gothic room reminded me of Westminster Abbey. My favorite room was the library with commissioned art on the ceiling of four matriarchs (geometry, algebra..). My second favorite room was her bedroom, it looked like a fantasy room with light purple patterned tapestry adorning the walls.  She was a realist. She knew that, if you were a woman wanting to achieve anything significant prior to the 19th C., social and economic standing were the only two things of importance. She fought hard during the suffrage movement to help women win the right to vote.
In addition, to the well designed self-guided audio tour, here are some sources I glanced through: http://americancivilwar.com/women/Womens_Suffrage/Alva_Belmont.html 

We would have liked to do the Elms and Breakers - the other two Newport Mansions decorated for Christmas. I have heard from secondary sources as well as from first hand accounts that Marble House is  supposedly the most glitzy of the three decorated mansions. The Breakers has the most Christmas Trees. The Elms is supposedly decorated most associated like a hunting cottage, not quite sure what this means, but I cannot wait to see them for myself!  My favorite decorated room in Marble House was the kitchen. It smelled divine. It featured hundreds of lemons, oranges, clementines poked with cloves and pine. The coolest part of the kitchen was what looked like an antique baking mold in the shape of a military man and ship. 



After our mini tourist trip we went to Brenton Point to watch the sunset. We then went to pick up my sister and her friend to take them to dinner at the Gas lamp Grill. Everything was delicious, exceeded our expectations - mostly because we were expecting more along the lines of pub food.  The chowder had an entirely different taste than expected. It was a tad spicy!  







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