Thinking of taking some Rhode Island Day Trips? The ornate, historic mansions that dot the Ocean State’s coast are a great place to start. But which Newport Mansion should you visit?
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Newport Mansions: The Best Rhode Island Day Trips
This itinerary assumes that you need to make the drive to Newport and you only plan to spend the day exploring, rather than staying overnight. In order to appreciate the mansions before closing time, I’ve picked the two I visited on the recommendation of one of my best friends, a Massachusetts native who grew up making frequent visits to the area.
The Breakers and Marble House.
I ate lunch in between visiting The Breakers and Marble House, but if you’d like to skip eating, or simply scarf down a sandwich in your car, it is possible to comfortably visit three Newport Mansions in one day. I’d recommend Rosecliff for your third stop.
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Address: 44 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840
Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM (6:00PM during the summer), 7 days a week. Closed for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and special events.
Admission: Adults $18 or $29 for 2-house combo ticket / Kids 6-17 $8.00 or $9.00 for combo / Kids under 6 are free.
Start your journey at The Breakers and plan to spend about two to three hours here.
The Breakers is the iconic home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a man who I assume to be richer than God. When he purchased just the grounds for his home in 1885, it cost him $450,000. That’s $12.3 million today. The cost of the final project was $7 million, equivalent to over $150 million today. Chump change, I know.
Simply put: just existing in the same moment as The Breakers is electric.
As I walked into the Great Hall, I felt like a princess. I could almost see the Robber Barons in their top hats and women in golden ballgowns swirling around me. I was in awe of the excess.
My friend Siobhan kept joking that we should pretend we were on House Hunters. “It’s a little out of budget, but the view is great,” she joked, as we stood on the Upper Loggia, a semi-enclosed porch that faces the Atlantic. The walls are painted marble. I laughed, but secretly wondered what it would really be like to be this rich.
“It would have been nice to spend the summer here,” I said as we continued our tour. “Especially coming from dirty, crowded New York City.”
“Oh, they didn’t even spend the entire summer here,” Siobhan said. “Maybe only a few weeks a year.”
I nearly had the wind knocked out me and had to stop walking, staring in shock at the limestone walls and sets of chandeliers.
This house, this 125,339 square foot house, was only used a few weeks a year? I wanted to be annoyed, but I only felt impressed. And envious.
After we finished our audio tour of The Breakers, Siobhan and I spent some time exploring the grounds and gardens, which were equally lovely.
It was a sunny day, a small breeze rolling in off the ocean. As I sat in the sun and closed my eyes, it’s almost as if I could hear the Vanderbilts and their staff milling about…like I was a guest there all that time ago.
Rhode Island day trips are truly magical.
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Marble House Newport, RI
Address: 596 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840
Hours: 10:00AM – 5:00PM, 7 days a week. Closed for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and special events.
Admission: Adults $17.50 or $29 for 2-house combo ticket / Kids 6-17 $8.00 or $9.00 for combo / Kids under 6 are free.
After a quick lunch in town, continue one of the best Rhode Island day trips by visiting Marble House. Plan to spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours here.
Walking into Marble House feels like walking onto a movie set. Fitting, since the 1974 Great Gastby was partially filmed on site. It’s also where Alva Vanderbilt decided to take care of business.
“No woman should marry a man until all of us have won the right to vote. Should you need help, pray to God. I’m sure SHE will help you.” – Alva Vanderbilt.
I was thrilled to stand on the steps of Marble House and even got a little misty-eyed thinking about how 100 years ago women couldn’t even vote and now our first female president is probably out there right now, angry and ready to fight back to get this show on the road. Although the suffragettes of the original moment weren’t fighting for voting rights for all, I can still respect the progress they made.
Each year on August 18th, I watch Iron Jawed Angels to “celebrate” the passing of the 19th Amendment.
My great grandmothers were born without the right to vote. My paternal grandmother was born two months after the 19th Amendment passed, making the realization of such an obvious right frustratingly recent.
But due to the lack of intersectionality in the original suffragette movement, many of my peers’ mothers (!!) were born without the right to vote. Many of my peers’ votes are still being suppressed. As we draw nearer and nearer to the amendment’s centennial, please remember that the fight for voting rights is far from over.
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You Choose: Rosecliff, Dinner, or the Beach
Depending on what time it is after your tour through Marble House, you might have time to visit one more of the Newport Mansions (I’d recommend Rosecliff), have a nice dinner in town, or even head down to the beach for the sunset. Whatever you choose, your day at the mansions is sure to be the first of many Rhode Island day trips.
It’s hard to stay away.