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The Journey Continues

So yesterday we walked all over Newport, through the summer "cottages" of the Uber-Rich of the Gilded Age America. Holy moly, the lavishness! The excess! Beautiful, some of it -- simply so over-the-top in other places it's almost hard to comprehend. These people could and did live like kings and queens and then it all simply went away (of course, it's coming back fast, because the GOP really seem to want a complete return to the Gilded Age). But we saw the home of William and Alva Vanderbilt (Marble House), the home of Hermann and Theresa Oelrichs (Rosecliff), the home of Edward and Herminie Berwind (The Elms), and the home of Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt (The Breakers, easily the most impressive of the four). Of course I was doing mental research as I walked through, knowing what the O'Connor family could have (some of it) and what they couldn't (a lot of the rest).

Marble House was an astounding piece of architecture, and one had to admire her mistress, Alva Vanderbilt, who was a serious suffragette and held parties for Votes for Women her seasons there in Newport (there was an entire set of china marked "Votes for Women" -- which did lead the tour to wonder how all the scullery maids felt about washing them!). I was thrilled to tour Rosecliff, since it was by Stanford White, who I've been reading about, and I'd hoped to see some of his work. Sadly, it was despite restoration in the worst repair of the four, since it actually had been completely run down (flooded after burst pipes and pretty near ruined) and abandoned, but the restoration work was really well done.

They were also doing some restoration in The Elms, and the room which should have been covered in Chinese black lacquer panels was not, most had been taken down I'm guessing for cleaning or repair. The Elms was laid out the most like my own O'Connor House (Sean Patrick's ancestral home in San Antonio), but again, these places were... amazing.

Sadly, photography was not allowed inside the homes, but you could take photos outside:

The Breakers is so named because, right behind this house, the yard goes down to the rocks and some very impressive breakers, indeed--and there were still some lingering aftereffects of Irene (possibly Katia, as well, further out), so the waves were amazing.

Dancing hilarity.

Borowitz Report: Credible Threats Made Against Government.

Then today!

We got up and made a leisurely start, taking the line down to Zabar's to pick up breakfast, a brief stop at Beard Papa's for cream puffs, then a walk across to Central Park. We paused so I could see The Dakota and briefly pay my respects to the spot where John Lennon died (a defining moment in my young life), then walked across the AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL Central Park to The Met. I saw squirrels and ROBINS, which are a big deal for us Southwesterners. Did a whirlwind tour of the Met; got to see most of what I wanted to see and a bit more; we did race through a few spots I could have lingered longer, but on the whole, we did very well in the time allotted. Then we walked down to a lovely little noodle shop for a late lunch. Barb and I continued to Rockefeller Center, saw Radio City Music Hall, and headed back to the apartment to put our feet up (which need it!)

Am now having a little wine and some nice conversation. Woot!



( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
Either you have one hell of a memory or you've been consulting that guidebook, LOL! And today sounds like another chock-full but wonderful day.
Sep. 11th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
The guidebook certainly helped! (Especially with the owners' names!)

It's been a VERY good day!

I did try to send you an email last night, but my email server is having a hard time connecting any time I'm not attached to my own home server!
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
isn't the breakers gorgeous. sounds like you're having a great time
Sep. 11th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
It was AMAZING. I loved it.

It did occur to me as I traveled through those homes that the reason Victorian wallpaper was so gaudy was that it was supposed to decorate those GINORMOUS rooms -- it wasn't meant for small ones!

Sep. 11th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
you might be on to something there
Sep. 11th, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, it actually looked quite lovely in a bedroom that was the size of my entire house!

Sep. 11th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
hahaha that i believe
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
We have been to Zabar's, which was very cool -- if it hadn't been the beginning of our morning I would have bought more things to try, but we just picked up breakfast. I may have a hot dog, but Barb will likely skip (not good for her!). :)

We need another month to fit in ALL the things we "need" to do!

Sep. 11th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
The dancing link made me laugh. :D

I have always wanted to go to explore those houses.
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
Me, too. I wish I could name all the clips!

I'm glad they've been saved and opened for touring. Very cool.
Sep. 11th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was very excited to visit the Winchester Mystery House when I was visiting x_expat when she lived in CA. That place is amazing. The idea of being a docent there...it's almost tempting to move to CA, except I know I'd never be able to afford it.
Sep. 12th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
I've been in the San Jose area TWICE and still haven't seen the Winchester House!

Maybe if we do drive up to the Pac NW next year we can make a side trip...

Sep. 12th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
It's so worth the trip!
Sep. 11th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Consider the Frick Collection -- only about 10 blocks away from the Met IIRC, and a manageable size for an afternoon's visit. If you go, say hello to Sir Thomas (More, by Holbein) for me...
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
I wish we had more time here to do all the things there are to do! We'll try to get back to museum row, though.
Sep. 11th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
I've heard about the Breakers, but this is the first picture I've seen of it. That's not a home, it's an institution! Wowsers.

I haven't seen robins since I was a kid. :-(

Maybe someday I'll make it back to see New York. My childhood memories of my visit to the city are pretty faded.
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
The really odd thing was The Breakers was actually used more as a home than any of the others, which really were only "summer cottages" to those people, and some only used like three or four seasons! The Vanderbilts actually used The Breakers regularly and lived there for a good while before taxes got 'em.

I was startled by the robin -- I was birdwatching as I do, and I saw that red breast, and WOW! I've never seen one before!
Sep. 11th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC)
What a wonderful trip for you and Barb. :-)

Sep. 11th, 2011 01:10 pm (UTC)
Great so far!

Sep. 11th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Wow, I hope you and Barb's feet will survive this !!!
Will you be able to go by the 9/11 memorial later this week ?
The waterfalls looked amazing on the TV.
Sep. 12th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC)
I'm kinda hoping to, maybe Tuesday. We did a LOT of walking today!
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Hehe, love communicating by computer while in the same space:

Sep. 12th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
I know, me, too. :D
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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