I know that Newport is one of those places that could keep you busy for days, weeks if you take your time. However we only had several hours, so I had to find out a way to see as much as we could in this cute city by the sea.
This place isn’t new to me. Two decades ago I studied in Providence, Rhode Island, so I visited Newport several times. I really liked the adorable main street and downtown area, but my absolute favorite thing about it were the beachfront mansions. There are over ten of them that you can visit, that’s why if you find yourself with limited time The Breakers Mansion, once belonging to the infamous Vanderbilt Family, is your best bet.
12 Facts About The Breakers Mansion To Make Your Visit Informative
1. The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” of the Golden Era
2. This mansion has over 65,000 sq ft (6,000 m2) of living space and 70-rooms, 33 of them are just for the servants!
3. The Vanderbilts spent more than $12 million (approximately $331 million today adjusted for inflation) and two years (1893 and 1895) to have it built.
4. The grandson of Cornelius ‘Commodore’ Vanderbilt‘s built this summer cottage for his family. The family found its fortune first in steamships than in railroads – New York Central Railroad or as we know it Grand Central Station.
5. The great hall of the mansion measures 50 feet in all directions, including straight up. It’s so huge, you won’t believe it.
6. The first time that the great hall was used was on 1895 for a midnight dance for the Vanderbilt’s daughter, Gertrude.
7. The Vanderbilts preferred not to have a view of the ocean from their bedrooms. They didn’t like to see nothing more than a black hole at night.
8. The front doors of The Breakers weigh about 1,000 pounds each.
9. The mansion got its name from the waves that continually crash into the cliffs below.
10. The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house after her mother’s death in 1934.
11. She opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, it was sold to the Preservation Society.
12. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Visiting The Breakers
It has so many cool things to see that you could spend a whole day in it.
Audio tour – It is included in the entrance fee and takes you around 1.5 hours. However you can go at your own pace. I really liked that it provides behind the scenes facts about what life was like at The Breakers. It gives you a feel of how the upper class lived, but the most interesting thing to see was how servants lived.
Servants tour – This is the fun part, you get all the fun gossip and a real feel of how the mansion was ran.
NOTE: Make sure you know the schedule for the tour and get there early because it books up fast, or even better, reserve beforehand.
Photos – You are only allowed to take photos of the outside of the house because art works and antiques can get damaged. So, to see how beautiful each room is you’ll have to get over here to see it for yourself.
How to amuse the kids – With a kid as young as mine (three) you have to keep every visit fun and entertaining. In this particular attraction we took advantage of the huge yard.
Information for your visit
Daily – * May Vary during the Holidays
June 29 – November 22, 9am – 6pm
November 23, 2013 – January 1, 9am – 4pm
Address: 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
Prices & Tours:
1. The Breakers Plus – See The Breakers and another property, excluding Hunter House.
Youth: $6.50 (ages 6-17)
2. The Breakers
Youth: $5.50 (ages 6-17)
3. You can also find different packages that include entrance to other mansions.
For this visit I worked with Discover Newport. I worked with Andrea McHugh, she recommended places that I never would have thought of. She provided me with a fantastic itinerary that was age appropriate for my boys.