Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Day Trip To Newport


Last Saturday, Gordy and I took the children to Newport, Rhode Island for a day trip.  We parked our car along the Cliff Walk and started the trip by working our way down the famous trail.  

We passed all the amazing summer "cottages" and admired their gorgeous ocean views:



and we admired the coastal Rhode Island scenery:


It was a hot, humid day and the pre-teen wasn't feeling particularly joyful:


but we managed to enjoy the walk anyway.


The house behind Georgia is NOT a historical house but some lucky family's summer home.  It was GORGEOUS and we all felt more than a little jealous of the people who lived there.


The Cliff Walk was rather crowded and even though it was noon on a crazy hot day, there were tons of joggers rushing past us walkers.  Joggers are a strange breed, right?



Parts of the path aren't paved and some of the trail even involves a little rock climbing.


... and sparkly purse holding.


Doesn't Josie have a very kind father?  That sparkly purse didn't even match his outfit!

We only walked about half of the trail.  We got hungry and thirsty, so we headed back into town for lunch and ice cream.  Next up on the agenda was a visit to The Breakers, the Vanderbilt mansion:


I wasn't allowed to take photographs inside the house, but trust me, it was pretty amazing.  I'm not sure the word "opulent" properly describes it, but let's just say this:  in one room there is actual platinum on the walls.  

And why not put some platinum on the walls?  

The Breakers is a great place to bring children.  Your entrance fee includes a headset and there's a guided tour for both adults and children that are timed perfectly so that both groups can walk along at the same pace.

I started off listening to the adult tour, but after one room, I switched to the children's program.  Henry, Georgia and Josie kept laughing and opening their eyes in amazement, and it was killing me that I didn't know what they were learning.  

The children's (or "family" as they called it) tour was wonderful.  It was narrated by the house itself, which wasn't at all cheesy (even though it sounds so as I type this).  We learned all about the daily routine of the Vanderbilt children who lived here during the summer months, and what life was like to be so rich.  There was also an interview with an elderly woman who lived on the fourth floor with her mother (who was a chambermaid) and it was fascinating to hear what life was like for her being so close in age to the Vanderbilt children, yet so fall apart in circumstances.


Another amazing thing about the tour was that it took you through the main family rooms and also through the various "hidden" hallways and staircases that the servants used.  Most historical houses let you peek into each main room and you might catch a glimpse of a closet or a bathroom, but here at The Breakers, we followed the tour through bedrooms, bathrooms, the second floor loggia, closets, hidden hallways, servant prep areas, the butler's pantry (which was three times as big as my kitchen and two stories high!)... we all really loved the tour.  Can you tell?

After the tour, we went outside to enjoy the Vanderbilt's backyard.

Georgia pretended to be one of the Vanderbilt ladies, walking down the specially-made "short" stairs so that she would walk gracefully and not appear to be clumping, un-lady-like, in one of her eight daily outfits.  


You know a tour is great for children when they apply what they learned to life afterwards!


If you find yourself in the Rhode Island area, stop by Newport and definitely go to The Breakers.  It was a fabulous day trip!

6 comments:

Angie said...

I can only wish we lived close enough to take that day trip. What a wonderful experience!

Martha said...

Oh you would love it! Your daughter would, too!

tara said...

You know what I love about this the most? The bit where Georgia does her "Fancy Lady descending the Grand Steps" impression...she looks so much like you - the look and sense of humour is definitely genetic!

Martha said...

ha! Tara - that's exactly what my mother said, too! I know there is something very martha-y about Georgia, but to me, she looks like Gordy!

Tara said...

Well, She's clearly a nice mix of you both! Clearly very sporty, so I've always attributed that to G ;) Not that you can't hold your own in the "Nonpareils & Chick-Flick-Movie-Marathon" Competition!

Martha said...

Tara - of course! You are exactly right.... we are currently obsessed with Downton Abbey (stop rolling your eyes, I know we are about two years late to this party!) but it would be even better with a generous handful of nonpareils or peanut butter m&ms!

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