Glimmerbug Handmade Art

handmade and unique whimsical art

Newport Mansions

Weekend Wrap Up and Highlights: Newport Mansions and Vanderbilt's Zillions

Kids, PersonalJill AdamyComment

We’re the type of family that really likes to just hang out at home on the weekends. It’s relaxing and since we consider this house our “vacation year round” house, it’s always exactly where we want to be.

But this weekend, it was a little different. While Saturday was spent running errands (and selecting field hockey equipment for camp this week!), Sunday was a tad bit different. It was go-go-go for all of us! In fact, as I sit here typing this blog post on Monday morning at 7:30, all the kids are still fast asleep in their beds, recovering from all the hectic activities they did!

My oldest and youngest went with dad and a friend to Comicon in Boston yesterday. They all love comic books, anime and that sort of thing so they were super duper excited to go in and see all their favorite characters as well as all the costumes. People really get into this! My daughter and her friend got dressed up in costumes from their favorite anime shows and were thrilled when they were stopped in the convention center to take pictures with some other kids that recognized their costumes. My son, who is about the biggest Star Wars fan there is, dressed up as Jango Fett. He’s 7 and this was his first time at the conventions and my husband said that he just walked around stunned with his mouth agape, not believing all that he was seeing. So adorable and so so glad they all had a great time.

My middle child and I aren’t really into that sort of thing. So we decided that we were going to take a ride to Newport, RI and take a tour of a few mansions. Just a little backstory: She’s 9 and is completely obsessed with gilded age people and has studied the big tycoons of that era: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Frick… all those big wigs. So going to Newport to see some of the “cottages” that these folks lived in was an absolute dream come true for her.

The Marble House

Owned by Alva Vanderbilt and her husband (who gifted this to her for her 39th birthday) who was, as I understand, about as bad ass as they come for that era.

This house was just ridiculously opulent and over the top decorated with so much gold and marble, we could hardly keep our eyes on our head. What really blew me away was the ceilings in this house. Just incredible how much detail went into every inch of every surface.

The Breakers

Owned by yet another richer than rich Vanderbilt heir, this one was just too much to even take in! The sheer size of this place was over the top. My daughter and I walked around just stunned by all of the decor and how intricately decorated every surface was. It’s just staggering to think of people actually living like this.

It’s funny how when you go into a place like this and it’s just so palatial and extravagant and you think, “Could I live here?” And the answer both my daughter and I came up with was, “No thanks!” It’s gorgeous and all… and all the possible room you could ever want to run around in, but it’s also very uncomfortable and not welcoming. Now, believe me, I know that wasn’t the intent of making it a comfy house when it was constructed. But I can’t help but think about all the kids that this house has had as residents (both as heirs and as the staff’s children). It’s mind blowing to me to think of these little kids who had to be so prim and proper, and be so ultra careful not to break anything, touch anything or speak out of place. Gracie and I both agreed it wouldn’t have been a good fit for us or our family!

As I look through all the photos we took yesterday and all the gorgeous decor we saw, it inspired me to create some pieces based on these rooms, ceilings, alcoves and architecture that we were able to see in person. The color combinations are fabulous and the ceilings… I can’t get over them. Have I mentioned how much I love the ceilings in these homes?!?! Makes me see lots of great ideas for future art projects and paintings based on these designs!