Saturday, December 16, 2006

Banks family's new home?

Of course, the highlight of any trip to Newport, R.I., is a visit to a mansion or two on Bellevue Avenue. These aren't your run-of-the-mill $2 million mansions. These are megahouses, most built in the late 19th century by some of America's wealthiest families, including the famous Vanderbilts. The mansions, many with views of the water, are spectacular. I toured two today: The Marble House (above) and The Breakers (below), both built by the Vanderbilts. The Marble House is -- you guessed it -- mainly built of Italian marble. The many rooms are ornately decorated. The chairs in the dining room are made of bronze and covered with gold and weigh from 75 to 100 pounds each. A butler helped the Vanderbilt children move the chairs when they gathered with mom for lunch there each day. (I don't think they were a peanut butter and jelly family. The kids' first language was French.) The dining room is the size of your average tennis court. Among the highlights at The Breakers: Mr. V's bathtub has hot and cold water as well as sea water, and the kitchen was manned by a French chef who was paid the outrageous sum of $10K a year. That's big bucks for the early 20th century. Photography is not allowed inside the mansions, so you won't find photos here. I did snap some quality outside shots, including one of yours truly, the sun shining directly into my eyes, in front of The Breakers.

No comments:

Post a Comment