Discover Vanderbilt's Newport on this delightful tour that has you visiting two of the grandest mansions ever built in the United States, The Breakers and Marble House.
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the Vanderbilt family fortune in steamships and later, in the New York Central Railroad. As the industrial revolution reached its zenith in the late 19th century, the Vanderbilts soon became the wealthiest family in America and chose Newport as their summer playground.
Departing the pier, you will first drive to Marble House. Completed in 1892, Marble House was modeled after the Petit Trianon in Versailles. Mr. Vanderbilt instructed his architect, Richard Morris Hunt to build "the very best living accommodations that money could buy". After nearly four years of work, and a total cost exceeding $11 million, the mansion was completed in 1892 and given to his wife, Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt, leading hostess of Newport Society, for her 39th birthday. This striking Mansion became the social and architectural landmark that set the pace for Newport's transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to the legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. You will enjoy the stories of the elaborate parties of the Gilded Age as you tour the public rooms and grounds of Marble House.
Continuing on, you will next visit The Breakers , the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages", The Breakers was commissioned by the Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad. Inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin, the 70 room Italian Renaissance-style villa was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt who directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans. Completed in 1895, the mansion is situated on a 13-acre estate overlooking a magnificent view of the rugged Atlantic Coastline.
The self-guided audio tours of the mansions provide insight into the life of this fascinating time in American History at your own pace. Time is afforded to browse the mansions' gift shops before making the return drive to the pier.
Please note: Due to the popularity of the Newport Mansions, please anticipate a wait of approximately 30 minutes. This tour may operate in reverse order. The sites on this tour are only partially wheelchair accessible. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. It is recommended that guests wear comfortable walking shoes. Photography is not permitted in the mansions.