We had a pleasant surprise while driving here from Connecticut – this state, like Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Delaware and Connecticut are beautiful. The highways are lined with forests and the rolling hills add to the beauty.
Even though we are only here for three nights, this was a special stop. Originally, this stop was planned so we could add the state of Rhode Island to our “been there, did that” list. However, our cousin Joe Koch and his wife, Sandy, drove over two hours from their home in Connecticut to visit! How special is that?? We had a truly nice visit and enjoyed dinner out – then returned to the campground for dessert. God knew what he was doing when he made families!!! It’s been years since we’ve seen Joe but the connection was immediate and strong! We shared so many memories of our parents and families as we reminisced of days gone by. There’s a lot to remember when you come from a family of 32 aunts and uncles and 60 first cousins. Joe even brought pictures taken over the years.It was so, so good to see them! We were blessed by their visit!
The next day, we went to see some of the mansions along the cliffs of Newport. “The Breakers” was the 70 room summer cottage of the Vanderbilts, built in the last part of the 19th century, during the Gilded Age. (1893-1895) The original home was a wooden ranch style but after it burned, this replacement was built of all stone. It sits among a row of mansions of the super wealthy from that era, known to be described as “conspicuous consumption”. It overlooks the cliffs of Newport. Unfortunately, Mr. Vanderbilt only enjoyed one summer in this home as he then suffered a stroke and died three years later of a second stroke. He was just shy of 56 years age. It’s hard to imagine living such a life style!
The Great Hall is right inside the entrance and it sets the tone for what is to come! The Hall is 50′ wide by 50′ long by 50′ high. Vanderbilt children were known to slide down the grand staircase on large silver platters. The ceiling was painted like the sky – when the doors were open, the sound of the sea and the breezes evoked a feeling of being outside. The portrait is of Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The portrait in last picture at the bottom of the stairs is Mrs. Alice Vanderbilt.
Under the grand staircase is a fountain with elaborately carved dolphin.
Mr Vanderbilt’s bedroom, bath and closets…..the bedrooms were considered restrained elegance compared to the rooms on the main floor. The bathtub was carved from one piece of marble – there are four faucets in all bathtubs, hot and cold and hot and cold salt water. Other summer homes had one bathroom – this home had 20!
Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom was adjoining. She had 7 closets to hold all her clothes as it was common in that time for society women to change clothes as many as 7 times a day. Her bedroom also served as her office as she was in charge of the plans for her children, grand children and 40 servants. The phone was used to communicate with staff as was the the intercom buttons behind the phone.
In-between rooms, were narrow hallways where the staff moved, sight unseen. They would fill dressers and and closets from the hallway. The small bedroom was her lady’s maid’s room so she could easily be summoned.
Following are other rooms in the mansion…….
Communication with the staff……
The grounds and the reason for “The Breakers” name………
Another activity in the area that Joe told us about is “riding the rails”. You rent these pedal carts that are on railroad tracks – You can get a double or quad. Unfortunately, all the spots were sold out during our stay here but I recommend looking into this fun and different ride if you’re ever in the Newport area.
If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve covered quite a lot of ground since leaving Naples on July 1st. That is why we are looking forward to our next location, Cape Cod, where we will be spending 7 nights. Living this life style isn’t all fun and relaxation as it takes effort to set up and break down camp every few days. And that’s not to mention issues that arise now and then along the way. Right now, our main large slide (living room and kitchen) won’t extend out. This makes our living quarters a bit tighter but still do-able as there is an opposing slide to open up our living space. But it’s still something to tend to and causes a bit of angst. Howie has ordered a part that we’re hoping will resolve our issue – if not, we’ll need to call in professional help. Likewise, Marj and Larry are experiencing an issue with their inverter which keeps the fridge cold while traveling. Just like at home, things need maintaining and attention.
We have some fun things scheduled while at Cape Cod so stay tuned. Wishing you all nothing but HAPPY TRAILS!