Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island

Welcome to the latest installment of Katie Wanders.  
Today, Katie Wanders to The Breakers, one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island.  

Lawn and Ocean Views from The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island 

While I was home for a few weeks between the semester, my wandering soul took me to everywhere oceans and coastal.  While I had been to Newport a few times for road races or a winter event, I had never toured the famous mansions of Newport. 

 I was only in Newport for the day, with a long list of things to do, so I only had a chance to tour two of the many mansions of Newport, The Breakers and Rosecliff.  While you can photograph the mansion to your hearts content from the outside, no photographs are allowed inside the mansion.  This post shares some fun facts about this ornate mansion, and some pictures of the exterior.  Photographs of the interior are provided by the Newport Conservation Society. 

Sit back and relax and we take a trip to The Breakers Mansions (i.e. summer cottage) in Newport, to a time before income tax and the philosophy "less is more".  

Map showing locations of the Newport Mansions 

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. The Breakers is one of the many mansions built in Newport during the Gilded Age.   The term was coined by writer Mark Twain in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873), which satirized an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding."

You walk into this beautiful mansions and you cannot believe you are in the United States.  Let alone Rhode Island.  The extravagance and European feel of the place seems so out of place in the area.  The details in every inch of the mansions (as I said, summer cottage for the rich and famous) are unbelievable.  Below are some pictures to try to portray to you the details of the mansion.  I highly suggest you see it for yourself in person.
Clockwise:  Great Hall, Library, Dining Room, Music Room
Source- Unbashedly Prep courtesy of Newport Conservation Society
Main floor hallway by Grand Staircase, Billiards Room, Green and Gold Room, Bedroom, 
"Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century. 

The Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year. In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters. "--Preservation Society of Newport County 

The Breakers- Newport Rhode Island
Fun Facts 
  • Built in just two years (1893-1895) 
  • Summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II- his great grandchildren still live on the third floor of the mansion during the summer 
  • Cost of over 7 million dollars (equivalent to over $150 million today),
  • The Breakers is a National Historic Landmark 
  • The Breakers mansion was given its name for the waves that continually crash into the cliffs below.
  • 13 acre estate overlooks the Atlantic Ocean 
  • Some rooms were built in Europe, shipped to the US and reassembled in Newport
  • Central Great Hall has 35' high ceilings
  • 138,300 sq. ft. building has over 300 windows, 77 rooms (33 for help), 15 bedrooms, 20 bathrooms, and over 750 doorknobs


The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island 
The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island 

The Breakers is open to the public every day of the year, save for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. There is a fee to tour all of the mansions.  Student and senior discounts are available for yearly memberships.

  • The Breakers Tour -- $20.99
  • The Breakers Plus Tour-- The Breakers plus 1 mansions-- $25.99
  • The Newport Mansion Experience-- Any five mansions--  $32.99 (excludes Hunter House and Servant Life Tour 
  • The Hunter House only-- $30.99
  • Servant Life Tour - $15.99
  • Tickets and more info 

The tour at the Breakers includes a really great Audio Tour.  You can tour the mansion at your own pace with a descriptive tour that leads you through the mansions with great detail.  There are options to hear more details about the family, or the details, or just the standard tour if you want in and out.  

Address:  The Breakers, 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 
There is free off the street parking for all mansions except The Hunter House.


Let's Chat!