ROAD TRIP DAY 29: LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH & FAMOUS

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Newport, Rhode Island was home to the rich and famous during the summertime. When most people with summer homes these days have modest little houses, the rich and famous had mansions for their summer “cottages”.

Take “The Breakers” for example. This summer “cottage” is a whopping 138,300 square feet and has 70 rooms! These aren’t just ordinary rooms either. One of the rooms in The Breakers has ornate wall panels where all of the silver-colored design is made of platinum! How’s that for over-the- top opulence?

Today, we toured “The Elms” and “The Breakers” and walked the ‘hood to see how the one percent’rs lived over 100 years ago. Although the area was gorgeous and the mansions picturesque, what we saw was ostentatious, to say the least. It was difficult at times to walk through the rooms of both mansions and realize the amount of money these people spent to show off their wealth, and keep up with the Joneses. I found myself thinking about how the money could have been used to make the world a better place instead.

Photography (even without flash) was strictly prohibited inside the homes, so the only pictures I was able to shoot were of the mansion exteriors and gardens.

433

The Elms was the summer retreat of the Berwinds.  Built in 1901, it was very modern and technologically advanced for its time.  This home features monumental art works, including wall-sized Venetian paintings, Chinese lacquer panels, and tapestries.

437

438

To show the scale of size, that’s Bruce in the front.  The canopies of these four European Beech trees grew to form one MASSIVE tree!  Each tree is 50-60 feet tall with a spread of 35-45 feet wall.

434

435

436

442

The Breakers, built in 1895 was the summer “cottage” of the Vanderbilt family.  It features a two-and-a-half story high Great Hall, and a Morning Room adorned with platinum leaf wall panels.  Its interiors feature rare marble, alabaster, and gilded woods throughout.

441

444

443

445

This ceiling was outdoors on the second level.

448

446

This was the outdoor area of the first floor.  The following photos show the beautiful mosaic work of the ceilings.

447


449

450

Following our home tours, we took the “Cliff Walk” to enjoy the fresh sea air, enjoy the views, and see more beautiful homes.

455

452

451

 

456

457

Our day concluded with a cruise along Ocean Avenue, a beautiful drive that follows the Newport coast. It was a gorgeous day, and we thoroughly enjoyed the miles we walked in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the world.

ROAD TRIP DAY 28: Perusing Providence

Continuing the tour of Ivy League schools, an unplanned bonus of touring the New England states, we visited the campus of Brown University today. Our plan was to spend a good portion of the day seeing Providence, and Brown just happened to be right there in town.

Having seen Harvard (and M.I.T.) when I was in Boston with my mom, I was impressed with the beauty of the campus, and Brown has a reputation that matches.

Cornell was a pretty campus in Ithaca, so I figured I was on a roll. Besides, depending on how our drive south progresses on Monday, Yale is on the list to see as we pass through New Haven, Connecticut.

Today’s stroll through Brown was lovely. We had the campus to ourselves since today was a Saturday, and the school year had already concluded. The campus was quiet and serene, and full of beautiful old buildings.

414-BrownUniversity

415

416

417

We continued our self-guided walking tour through the hilly streets of the eastern part of Providence just east of the river, and then crossed the river to see the state capitol. For such a small state, Rhode Island’s capitol building sure is huge!

422

423

420

421

425

One thing missing from this capitol building, though, was a gold dome. Have you ever wondered why some state capitols have gold domes and others don’t? Bruce and I learned on our walking tour of Boston some years back that the only states that have gold domes are ones where a past president was born in that state. Poor Rhode Island. As long as there aren’t any Rhode Island-born presidents (and I doubt there ever will be), their state capitol will remain plain.

426

427

429

431

432

428

424

This evening, we kicked back at a local pub, Shannon View Inn (highly ranked on Trip Advisor) to enjoy great pub food and taste a local brew, Narragonsett Lager, which was fabulous.

We had forgotten this was the evening of the Belmont Stakes, and we arrived just in time to watch history being made. For the first time since I had completed my junior year of high school in 1978, today’s winner won the Triple Crown of horse racing (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes). American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza were the champions, and it was fun to see his exuberant joy after Victor victoriously crossed the finish.

ROAD TRIP DAY 27: ON THE ROAD TO RHODE ISLAND

On the road from Ogunquit, Maine to Rhode island, we passed through New Hampshire and Massachusettes before arriving at our hotel in Warwick, Rhode island. If we had driven straight through, it would have taken 2-1/2 hours.

States are small up here, not like California where we come from. California is the third largest state, and Rhode Island is the smallest. Just to give you an idea of size, Rhode Island is roughly the size of San Diego County in square miles.

On the road to Rhode Island, we stopped for a few hours in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, another one of those really cute towns that is full of charm. We loved the vibe there; it just had a great feel. It is full of very old and historic homes and buildings, great shops and galleries, and a bunch of bakeries and cafes. It was a neat place to walk around and explore.

401

400

413

406

404

408

Oracle House, dating back to 1702 is one of the oldest houses in New England.

407

402

403

412

411