Yes, I know, there is enough stuff to do in Newport to keep here for days, maybe even weeks. However, in our case, we were lucky to get several hours and had to make the best of this gorgeous maritime city. If you only had a short time to visit Newport, Rhode Island, the number one not-to-be-missed attraction would be to see The Breakers Mansion along Newport Cliff Walk.
Twenty years ago I studied in Providence, Rhode Island, and visited Newport several times. Aside from the adorable main street and downtown area, the one thing that stuck in my mind was the mansions. In total there are over ten to visit, so if you needed to pick the grandest of them all, that would be The Breaker’s Mansion, once belonging to the infamous Vanderbilt Family.
Related Read: Rhode Island Fun Facts You Need to Know Before You Go
12 Facts About The Breakers Mansion To Make Your Visit Informative
1. The Breakers are the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” of the Golden Era
2. The mansion has over 70-room and is around 65,000 sq ft (6,000 m2) of living space. 33 rooms are just for the servants!
3. It took two years (1893 and 1895) to build it and cost more than $12 million (approximately $331 million today adjusted for inflation).
4. Cornelius ‘Commodore’ Vanderbilt‘s the man best known for finding the family’s fortune first in steamships than in railroads – New York Central Railroad or as we know it Grand Central Station, grandson Cornelius Vanderbilt II built this summer cottage for his family.
5. The great hall of The Breakers measures 50 feet in all directions, including straight up. It’s immense.
6. The great hall was first used for a midnight dance in August 1895 for Vanderbilt’s daughter, Gertrude.
7. The Vanderbilts preferred not to have a view of the ocean from their bedrooms. At night, it was nothing more than a black hole, so they preferred a view of the gardens and the neighborhood.
8. The front doors of The Breakers weigh about 1,000 pounds each.
9. The Breaker’s mansion was given its name for the waves that continually crash into the cliffs below.
10. The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house after her mother’s death in 1934.
11. She opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs.
12. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Visiting the Breakers Mansion Rhode Island
You can literally spend a whole day here if you wanted.
Audio tour – this is included in the entry fee and takes about 1.5 hours if you go from room to room. However, it’s at your own pace and what I enjoyed most about this tour was that you can listen to behind-the-scenes facts about life at the Breakers. How the upper class lived and, what I enjoyed most of all, the servant’s life and how they lived and what they thought.
Servants Tour – This tour gives you an internal view of how things really ran and all the fun gossip.
NOTE: Make sure you find out the schedule for this tour, and usually they book up fast, so reserve beforehand.
Photos – You’re not allowed to take photos inside due to a lot of artworks and antiques can get damaged, so you’ll just have to get over here to see it for yourself.
That’s why I took 800 of the outside, however, after a while they look quite similar, so this was the best one of the back-of-the-house view.
Recommended Read: Things to do in New Port, Rhode Island
How to amuse the kids – with a three-year-old you need to keep it fun and entertaining. So we took full advantage of the huge yard overlooking the ocean for my boys to go nuts, burn some serious energy and enjoy the perfect weather.
Information for your visit
Daily – * May Vary during the Holidays
June 29 – November 22, 9am – 6pm
November 23, 2013 – January 1, 9am – 4pm
44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
Prices & Tours:
1. The Breakers Plus – See The Breakers and another property, excluding Hunter House.
Youth: $6.50 (ages 6-17)
2. The Breakers
Youth: $5.50 (ages 6-17)
3. You can also see different packages with as many mansions as you want during your visit online and purchase them online.
I worked with Discover Newport to plan my trip. One of my favorite things to do, other than travel, is to research the places I’m going to visit. But when I worked with Andrea McHugh, she recommended places that I simply couldn’t find on my own and gave my family and me a wonderful itinerary that was totally age-appropriate for my kids. Plus she answered my hundred questions, and I am so thankful for her help!
Breakers Mansion – Adventure During a Visit to Newport