Newport Cliff Walk- Newport, RI
If you do one thing in Newport, the Newport Cliff Walk is the best choice. Currently the cliff walk is only about one mile along the coast with the Naraggansett Bay on one side and the mansions of Newport on the other.
I parked my car here at Easton Beach and walked 2 block to the start of Newport Cliff Walk. It was humid and hazy but I can imagine the view of Newport being even prettier on a clear day.
Right away the mansions appear on your right. I picked out my favorites and even saw one for sale! It is probably not in my price range though. Bummer.
This one is being built.
Over half of the Newport Cliff Walk path was damaged during Hurricane Sandy so the last 1.5 miles of it was closed. The last mansion I was able to walk past was the famous Vanderbilt House called The Breakers.
And from the front:
This was the summer home (!) built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II for his family in 1895. Unfortunately the Newport Preservation Society does not let you take pictures on the inside of the 70 room house so you will just have to come and have a look for yourself. Most of the house looks Italian with pillars, statues, a grotto, painted ceilings, and it even has platinum walls in one room.
It costs about $20 to get into The Breakers and you can visit more of the mansions for just a few dollars more. I opted to go to one other house The Marble House- another Vanderbilt family home, this one built in 1892 for William K. Vanderbilt and his family. Marble House was pure opulence, glamour, and a little gaudy. The entire front entrance, grand staircase, foyer, and more were made of marble- 500,000 cubic feet of marble to be exact! (source)
While the house was amazing, it struck me as cold, distant, and dark. I can’t imagine actually living in such a place. At The Breakers, despite its riches, you could still live in the home, sort of like Downton Abbey.
But the “backyard” of Marble House was fantastic. I think I would pitch a tent and live out here if I was a Vanderbilt in the 1890s.
There are 9 mansions overall that kept by the Preservation Society of Newport County. On the Cliff Walk to Breakers and back to the beach on Bellevue Street will show you so many more gorgeous mansions. You will be picking out your favorite mansions, daydreaming about life in Newport in the early 1900s, and figuring how much the Powerball jackpot needs to be to be able to afford one of these summer homes.
And that gorgeous view:
More on the Newport seafront and food will be up next!