NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
Newport is a world-famous yachting centre with a tradition of wealth and elegance. Some of the buildings date to the 1600s. The most impressive were built during the Gilded Age which lasted until the Income Tax Act was enacted in 1913. These opulent "cottages" were used for only two months of the year - July and August. They were built by the industrial tycoons, the Morgan's, Astors, and Vanderbilts, who fashioned them after the palaces of Europe each trying to outdo the others.
Our tour took us along the Cliff Walk - a public access walkway that borders the shore line and boasts views of some of the "cottages". We toured The Breakers, the 70-room mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II. If it were to be built today, it would cost $335 million. We were handed sets for an audio tour which was excellent. It even included excerpts from the family explaining what life was like at their "cottage" as well as some of the servants. There were 20 bathrooms in the house and the tubs had 4 faucets - two for fresh water and two for sea water. The wealthy women would change outfits up to 7 or 8 times a day! It was an excellent, informative shore excursion that we both really enjoyed.
On our return, we attended the Art Show and picked up our creations. My polar bear was a big hit apparently.
Tonight we are meeting the gang for dinner at Tastes. There is a big celebration party that we will walk through - these are noisy crowded affairs and most probably will end up in the Saloon.
Tomorrow, we arrive in New York to some fanfare at 6:45 a.m. We may be shown on one of the American morning shows - NBC I think. We plan to head out by ourselves to walk the High Line and maybe get to Central Park. Hard to believe it will be our last night.
One last thing, on my return home, I plan to look into having a button placed at the front door like the one we have in our room on board ship. I push it in the morning when we leave for breakfast, and again in the evening when we go for dinner. It says "Clean Up" and miraculously, on my return, the room is spotless!