Monday, August 29, 2011

Vanderbilts for a Day!

One of the best things that I did this summer while I was back East was spending a day in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is one of my most favorite places ever! It's a historic, lovely town by the ocean and has beautiful old mansions along the coast that can be toured. Peter took me there when we first started dating and we had such a good time that day. This time, eleven years later, I went with my parents, my sister Elizabeth and her son Rocco, and my boys. (Poor Peter was stuck back in Iowa, hard at work!)

We toured one mansion, The Breakers, which is my favorite one and is the biggest of all of them. ("Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest of them all?") It was the summer home of the Vanderbilts and construction started on it in 1893. It's modeled in the style of an Italian palace. My favorite things about it are the cozy library, the second-floor terrace, the lovely grounds, and its amazing views of the ocean.

I wanted to get a cute picture of John and Sam on this stone lion near the front entrance, but John was being a pill and wouldn't let Sam get on the lion.

Oh well! We tried.

I kind of rushed through the mansion and didn't get to listen to the automated tour that's given on headphones because for some strange reason, the kids weren't all that interested. This is where having my husband there would have been very helpful! It was okay though because I'd been through it before. I walked them through and did my best to rein in Sam's desire to explore beyond the velvet ropes, and then let them escape onto the grounds to play. In the future, I don't think I'll bring young kids to tour the mansions!

This is the beautiful ocean view from the back of the home's second-floor terrace. If I had lived here I would have spent many of my summer days on this terrace laying on a chaise lounge and reading books. Amazing!

I love the grounds because they have big sweeping trees and perfectly manicured green grass and bright puffy  hydrangea bushes and beautiful views of the mansion and the ocean.

This is the biggest birdbath I've ever seen!

Hydrangeas are everywhere in New England during the summer, from the grandest estates to small bushes of them along random side streets. I love them!
The boys had a lot of fun climbing on the trees and running around under the low-hanging branches. They'll take the joys of nature over a stuffy old mansion any day!

The back of The Breakers. The second-floor terrace that overlooks the ocean is there in the middle...

Of course we had to take the requisite family pictures with the mansion as the backdrop. Sam was trying his best to escape (again!)...

Elizabeth and I and our boys...

Just a few more views of this wonderful place that I love!

A girl can dream...

It's fun to imagine about the people who lived here and the things that happened behind those gates, within those walls, and on those grounds a century ago.

After we were done at the mansion we went to downtown Newport, which is full of fun shops, galleries, and restaurants. John decided to catch a wave while we were there...

I bought a book a few days later that I plan on reading at some point: Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort by Deborah Davis. It combines two things that I like: history and glamour. It should be a good read!

And that was our lovely day as would-be Vanderbilts!