Christmas at the Newport Mansions

 

 

 Plan Ahead:

 Tickets – A single entry pass for The Breakers and The Elms is $32 per adult. However, a membership for a year for a single adult is $55. Sam and I went ahead and bought the year long membership, since I am most excited for their flower show in the June. No reservations are required to enter any of the Newport Mansions during the holiday season. The pass is for indoor and outdoor viewing of the mansions,. Unfortunately, only two mansions are open for viewing during the Christmas season. There are nine total mansions plus a topiary garden that are included in the year long pass. 

Audio Guide – Download the Preservation Society’s app before viewing the mansions. As you make your way through the mansions, you use the audio guide as your personal tour guide that will give you a tour of the grounds. Bring headphones! 

Rental Car – The houses are within walking distance of each other. However, if you do get a rental car, parking is free at the houses. Another mode of transportation is the Rhode Island Public Transit Trolleys that guests from the visitor center to certain Newport mansions. 

What to Pack:

Make sure to pack layers. New England winter is chilly with the occasional high winds. I suggest bringing a light puffer, since you will be inside most of the day. If you are planning on doing the cliff walk, you should bring good footwear. If planning to listen to the audio guide bring headphones. 

Newport Mansions:

The Newport mansions are a must see during Christmas time. I have nick named them the Great Gatsby homes. The mansions are grand and elaborate in every detail. It was my first time seeing their interiors, and I was blown away with the intricate detail in the mansions and magnificent Christmas decorations. I swear there was a Christmas tree in almost every room. The mansions make for a great day trip for a family or a romantic evening for couples. An Interesting thing to note is that the design of one is Italian and the other is French. It is nice to see the differences between the two. Both homes are national historic landmarks. 

The Breakers: 

The Breakers was built for Cornelius Vanderbilt II. In 1893, he contracted Richard Morris Hunt, a famous architect, to design the mansion. Richard also well known for creating the base pedestal for the Statue of Liberty among other prominent works. The Breakers is a 70 room Italian Renaissance. The mansion has a front row view of the ocean from the second floor villa. The detail in architecture, fabrics, and design are mesmerizing. Currently, the Newport Preservation Society owns this property. During the Christmas, season the mansion is decorated on the interior and exterior with Christmas lights and Christmas music plays throughout the grounds. Exterior lights are turned on at 4 p.m. and they even set up a small tent with baked goods and hot chocolate (even spiked hot chocolate) for purchase just outside when finishing the tour. 

The Elms:

The Elms was the summer get away for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind. The mansion, completed in 1901, was inspired from a French chateau just outside of Paris. The designer include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture and a grand lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, and a sunken garden. I am very excited to see the grounds in the summer when all the flowers are in full bloom. The mantle decor for the holidays is inspiring, and I love the detail. I recommend starting at The Elms since they do not have hot chocolate, Christmas music, or exterior lights. If you start with The Elms, you will be able to go to The Breakers after and catch the lights at 4 p.m if you go midday. 

Hotels:

Splurge 

The Cliffside Inn-The ultimate Newport experience located right on the famed cliff walk itself. This inn is in walking distance of the Newport mansions. An updated Victorian mansion itself with views of the ocean and beautiful grounds. 

The Chanler at Cliff Walk: Where the gilded age and luxury stay is combined. Complimentary house car during stay for pick up and drop off. Housed on the cliff walk steps away from the Newport mansions. 

Moderate 

Hotel Viking-Boutique hotel destination with gilded age decor. Everything in this hotel has been renovated. Has a Newport Mansion holiday duo package. So no need to pay for tickets for Newport mansions.  It is included in the hotel stay for the 2020 season if you purchase the holiday duo package for the hotel. 

Gurneys Newport-A hotel located on goat island. It is accessible by car no need to get on a ferry. An updated hotel with stunning views of the marina. Lavish yachts are anchored here on goat island. Including judge Judy’s and Les Wexner’s yachts at times. 

Budget

Hammetts Hotel-A moden luxury hotel. Right in the heart of downtown on commercial street. Walking distance to shops and dining. Plus, cannot beat the view of the ocean and marina. 

The Newport Hotel & Marina-Also in the heart of downtown within walking distance of shops/dining. Also known for their restaurant SaltWater for dining. 

**Note since it is the off season hotel prices are low fall/winter. In the summer prices increase 2-3x. 

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