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  • Writer's pictureKristy Italiano

Things To Do In Newport: Holiday Edition

There's something so magical about the holiday season. Wherever you go, that 'it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' feeling is everywhere. I recently took a road trip to Newport, RI with the hubs and that intoxicating holiday spirit was at every turn.

From the downtown area near Thames and Bowen's Wharf to the Newport Mansions, you are surrounded by the essence of the upcoming holidays. We have been going to Newport annually for over six years now so we usually don't do the 'first-time visit' tourist attractions, but when we do get there during the holidays, visiting the Newport Mansions is a must.

These gilded-age mansions are beautiful no matter what time of year you plan to visit Newport, but during the holidays, it's a truly magical experience. Most mansions are closed during the winter months except for the core trio - The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms - which are open for your viewing pleasure throughout the holiday season.

Adorned with all the festive holiday decor from poinsettia trees to sparkling lights, you'll instantly be drawn back into a time between 1870-1900 when economic growth was at an all time high. These "summer cottages" showcase the finer luxuries of life for the elite few, including the Vanderbilts, who built The Breakers and Marble House.

The Breakers is no doubt my favorite of all the mansions. The story of the Vanderbilts is quite an interesting one if history is your thing. Commadore Cornelius Vanderbilt, grandfather to Cornelius II and William (mentioned below), established the family's fortunes and success through steamships and the New York Central Railroad. I'll spare you all the historical details, this particular mansion is by far the grandest of all the mansions. An absolute showstopper that showcases the family's financial and social elite status during the gilded-age.

Built by one of the richest men in America during this era, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, no stone was left unturned during construction between 1893-1895. This summer getaway home was crafted by the finest American and European materials in a classic Italian palazzo design. It had all the luxurious amenities of it's time and was the ideal setting for escaping NYC to live the life of luxury while hosting and entertaining guests.

Marble House, another architectural landmark along the famed Bellevue Avenue in Newport, was built by William Vanderbilt and his wife Alva between 1888-1892. She envisioned this masterpiece to be a "temple of the arts" in America. Designed by the legendary architect James Morris Hunt, the cost of this house was a mere $11 million dollars back then with $7 million of that in the marble alone.

If you are thinking of visiting Newport, RI this season, be sure to book your tickets to see the Newport Mansions in-between taking in all the sites and holiday scenes.

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