Historic Places

The Green Animals Topiary Garden (My Newport Adventures)

Brayton Hall, the Brayton family's former home, is located about 20 minutes outside Newport in the nearby town of Portsmouth.  The primary attraction of this site isn't the house, but the garden, popularly known as the Green Animals Topiary Garden. It has more than 80 topiaries shaped of like animals and objects alongside may other trees and flowers. My favorite topiaries were the owl,… Continue reading The Green Animals Topiary Garden (My Newport Adventures)

Historic Places

The Isaac Bell House (My Newport Adventures)

The Isaac Bell House is very different from anything else I saw in Newport. While the Vanderbilts, Berwinds, and other prominent Newport families looked to the past to imitate Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architecture, Isaac Bell looked forward instead. Thanks to his architect Stanford White, his house (completed in 1883) began a new style that’s now called Shingle Style.… Continue reading The Isaac Bell House (My Newport Adventures)

Historic Places

Kingscote (My Newport Adventures)

Kingscote was owned by George Nobel Jones, and then several generations of the King family (who obviously gave it the name). The home was built in 1841 but substantially enlarged in the 1880s for the Kings. The original house was designed by Richard Upjohn, and the addition was by McKim, Mead, and White.  Kingscote is large and impressive,… Continue reading Kingscote (My Newport Adventures)

Historic Places

Chateau-sur-Mer (My Newport Adventures)

Chateau-sur-Mer is probably the most Victorian of all houses in Newport. It was owned by William Shepard Wetmore, who made his fortune trading with then-exotic China. When it was built in 1852 - long before the big four - it was one of the most famous houses in Newport. William's son, George Peabody Wetmore, inherited it in 1862, and he had… Continue reading Chateau-sur-Mer (My Newport Adventures)

Historic Places

Rosecliff (My Newport Adventures)

Of all the mansions I saw in Newport, Rosecliff was my favorite. It was owned by Hermann and Tessie Oelrichs and designed by Stanford White, completed in 1902. Tessie Oelrichs liked to host parties, and Rosecliff was definitely designed to be her perfect venue. She hosted her first of many, highly-theatrical galas before Rosecliff had even been fully completed.

Historic Places

Marble House (My Newport Adventures)

The Marble House (completed in 1892) was designed by Alva Vanderbilt, who was then the wife of William K. Vanderbilt. The house was designed by Richard Morris Hunt with decoration by Jules Allard and Sons. The Marble House is definitely over the top, yet it feels strangely accessible because none of the rooms are particularly large. Despite the gilt, brocade, and ornamentation, its scale gives a human feeling

Historic Places

The Elms (My Newport Adventures)

The Elms was the first mansion I saw on my first day in Newport, and it was the perfect way to start my trip. The home was built in 1901 for Edward and Herminie Berwind, who made their fortune in the coal industry. It was later occupied by Edward's sister Julia. The house was designed by Horace Trumbauer of Philadelphia and decorated by Jules Allard and Sons of Paris.