I think it’s time for a little travel, what do you say? Today, we find ourselves back in Newport, RI, touring another gorgeous mansion! Do you remember when we took a walk through The Rosecliff Mansion? It was the most romantic of the mansions we toured, and today we will be at The Breakers…the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages”! It is a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Cornelius Vanderbilt II was the grandson of Commodore Vanderbilt who had established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad. After Cornelius became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, he purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport that same year. In 1893 after a fire destroyed the wood house he commissioned a new house to be built. The Breakers was completed in 1895. The design is based on Italian Renaissance villas. This house was their stage to receive the world, and foreign ambassadors and dignitaries came to enjoy the grandeur of this American mansion! Grab a cup of coffee…you are in for a “Gilded Age” treat!
The Great Hall was inspired by the open courtyards of Italy. But for all its opulence, the Breakers was always a family home. Generations of Vanderbilt grandchildren slid down the staircase and rode their tricycles around this Great Hall.