Are you a fan of HBO’s new show, The Gilded Age? We are, too, and it just so happens that parts of the show are being filmed just down the street from us at the famed Mansions in Newport, themselves a relic of this glorious era. In the late 1800s through the turn of the century, Newport was the preferred summer retreat for the wealthiest and most prominent families in America, such as the Vanderbilts.
As summer retreats to Newport grew in popularity, so did the building of these magnificent “summer cottages,” as they were once known. Today, these Gilded Age masterpieces still stand as a testament to the exquisite wealth of America’s glitzy past. Today, the grace and elegance of these Mansions in Newport still grace the rocky seashore, and touring them is one of the most popular things to do in Newport, RI.
Whether you’ve come here solely to tour the Mansions in Newport or to soak up the salty sea air and warm sunshine off our charming coastal town, know there are plenty of things to do in Newport, RI. At the heart of any great vacation are the perfect accommodations, which you’ll find at our Newport RI Bed and Breakfast, located in downtown Newport. Explore Newport’s breathtaking scenery with us this summer. Book a room today!
Find The Gilded Age Mansions in Newport
There’s nothing quite like visiting the famed Mansion in Newport. With the luxury of the Gilded Age on full display, it’s easy to see firsthand just how luxurious the life of the rich and famous can be. The Mansions in Newport are meticulously managed and maintained by the Newport Preservation Society. They stand as a beautiful reminder of America’s wealth and industrious spirit, but also a testament and museum for these notable families, each of whom served an important role in American history.
The HBO Show, The Gilded Age, has been in town recently filming some of its episodes at the Mansions in Newport – and it’s all happening just up the street from our Newport Bed and Breakfast! The show is set in the 1880s and tells the stories of “old money” New York elites and their escalating feud with nouveau riche neighbors who threaten the established social order. The show has been shooting scenes at The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau-sur-Mer, and Hunter House.
The season for the Mansions in Newport opened on May 1, and many of them, including their expansive gardens, are open for tours. The schedule for which Mansions in Newport are open rotates throughout the season, but one of the most popular, The Breakers, which was the 70-room summer home of the Vanderbilt Family, is open most of the year.
This summer, you’ll have the opportunity to tour all of the magnificent Mansions in Newport, which we’ll discuss below. You can view the current operating schedule on the Newport Preservation Society’s website.
- The Breakers, pictured above, is one of the most popular Mansions in Newport and is the most visited landmark in Newport, RI. It’s considered the grandest of Newport’s “summer cottages” and stands as a dramatic reminder of the social and financial prowess of the Vanderbilt family in turn-of-the-century America.
- Marble House was one of the first mansions in Newport to move away from wooden coastal-style houses to stone palaces. It was built between 1888-1892 as another summer home for members of the wealthy Vanderbilt family.
- The Elms was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer, who modeled the home after the mid-18th century French Chateau D’Asnieres. It was the summer home for the coal baron Edward Julius Berwind.
- Rosecliff was built by a silver heiress of Nevada and was designed to mirror the Grand Trianon of Versailles. This grand mansion was the backdrop for a few episodes of Antiques Roadshow in 2017, along with other films.
- Chateau-Sur-Mer is a museum of high Victorian architecture, including interior details such as wallpaper, furniture, and stenciling. It was the largest of the homes in Rhode Island until the Vanderbilt houses were built at the end of the 1800s.
- Kingscote is one of the more unique Mansions in Newport, thanks to its Gothic Revival style. It’s also known as one of the first “cottages” built for the wealthy families in the area.
- Though not a mansion, don’t miss your chance to visit the Green Animals Topiary Garden at the Brayton House. It’s a living sculpture garden with more than 80 topiaries shaped like birds, animals, and geometric designs. Green Animals is the oldest topiary garden in the country.
Though they aren’t technically part of the Mansions in Newport, other significant buildings and homes in Newport are worth visiting. They include the following:
- Chepstow, which is currently open to the public, is a stunning Italianate-style villa built in 1860.
- Hunter House is one of the finest examples of Georgian Colonial architecture, and it dates back to a different era in Newport, the “golden age” of the mid-18th century. It opens for the season on August 1.
- Isaac Bell House is one of the best surviving examples of shingle-style architecture in the country and will open to the public on July 1.
- Rough Point, the former home of Doris Day, is a beautiful museum and tribute to her life and legacy.
- Any visit to Blithewold Mansion is all about the gardens. They are magnificent. The 45-room mansion is impressive, but the real draw here is the expansive gardens spread out on its 33 acres, featuring a range of garden styles.
More Great Things to do in Newport, RI This Summer
If you’re a fan of the show The Gilded Age, or even its popular predecessor in the TV world, Bridgerton (this one isn’t set in the Gilded Age nor filmed here, but it’s a fun nod to a similar era nonetheless), then you’ll definitely want to take the time to visit at least of these magnificent mansions in Newport.
Don’t stop there, though. This summer, there are so many other great things to do in Newport, RI! From window shopping and browsing the shops along Thames Street to sailing on the stunning Narragansett Bay, there’s never an opportunity to be bored while visiting this historically quaint seaside town. Here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Newport, RI this summer as you start your planning.
- Another great way to see the Gilded Age Mansions in Newport is to walk the 3.5-mile scenic Cliff Walk. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Newport, RI, as the trail meanders its away along the rocky seashore and behind the stunning mansions. The views on the Cliff Walk are unprecedented in their beauty.
- Another great way to take in these scenic ocean views and again glimpse the Mansions in Newport is to drive the 10-mile Ocean Drive.
- Spend a relaxing day at the beach. Some of the best beaches in Newport, RI, include Easton’s Beach/First Beach, King Park Beach, Gooseberry Beach, and Fort Adams State Beach.
- Explore the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and maybe even take the opportunity to play a round of Tennis on the same grounds where the US Open had its beginnings.
- Take a sail around the harbor for a truly quintessential Newport experience.
- Have a drink at The Lawn at Castle Hill. The views of Narragansett Bay are beautiful here, and it’s one of those classic Newport experiences you don’t want to leave town without experiencing.
- Walk, shop, and eat your way through Thames Street, America’s Cup Avenue, and Bellevue Avenue.
- Explore Fort Adams, known as the country’s largest, most sophisticated, and most complex coastal fort. It’s also one of the best places to watch a sunset.
- Visit Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in America.
- Head to local wineries for wine tasting, or stop into a local brewery for a cold pint of craft brew.
The Best Place to Stay Near the Newport Mansions
While our Newport RI Bed and Breakfast may not have the opulence of the 50-room stone palaces of Newport, our Inn still reflects the unique elegance of this coastal paradise. We’re centrally located to enjoy all of the best things to do in Newport, RI, and offer a relaxing retreat when you just want to unwind.
Apart from offering comfortable accommodations and exceptional hospitality, we’ll also treat you to a delicious breakfast each morning. Whatever you want to do while here, from visiting the Gilded Age Mansions in Newport to walking the breathtaking Cliff Walk, we’d be happy to help you plan your trip. Book your room at our Newport RI Bed and Breakfast today!