Wednesday, April 20, 2016

7 Things You Need to Know About Visiting The Rhode Island Newport Mansions with Kids

If you live in the Boston area one thing you really have to see are the Rhode Island Newport Mansions.  It's not to bad of a drive (2 hours from Boston) and the mansions are like nothing I'd ever seen before.

You can get tickets to see a whole bunch of mansions from the Preservation Society of Newport County but if you only have time to see one... or really the one you have to see is the Vanderbilt Summer Cottage.. which is about as far from a cottage as I can imagine.

7 Things You Need to Know About Visiting The Rhode Island Newport Mansions with Kids

The Vanderbilt mansion is huge and the Vanderbilt's spared no expense when building it. They were part of New York's elite Millionaire club and the home was built in the late 1800's for a sweet $11 million.  We found out that a wall in one of the rooms was made of platinum,  the ceiling of the study had gold pressed over leather to give it a decorative texture of books and on the lower floor most of the rooms had rich gold and marble ornamentation.

I wish they would have allowed pictures inside because it was amazingly lavish.  At least I got some good ones of the outside and the incredible yard/lawn they had.  It was huge and went right to the cliffs edge, and was very very enviable.

After seeing the house we walked around the garden and finally ended our trip by walking along the Breakers cliff walk (thankfully most of it was fenced in).

Breakers Newport Mansion
Things to Note:

1) Price
The prices vary, but it's a fairly expensive tour.  You can see 5 of the Newport mansions for $30/Adult, $11/children ages 6-17 (children under 6 are free)

To just see the Breakers $21/Adult, $7/children ages 6-17 (children under 6 are free)

2) Tour Options
At the Breakers you have the option of touring the place via audio tour.  There is an adult version and child version... personally I thought the child version was more entertaining, though you will learn slightly different things depending on what tour you listen to.

3) Stroller Friendliness
Zero amount stroller friendly.  They don't even have a place for you to check a stroller should you bring one and instead ask you to leave it your car.  The reasoning being that they are abrasive and damaging to the historic surfaces.  :/  This was kind of lame since I ended up having to carry my giant two year old all around the place to make sure that he didn't run under the velvet ropes to touch all the off limits things.

4) Child Friendliness
Children are welcome at the Newport Mansions, but if you have younger children you'll need to keep a close eye on them since many parts of the mansion are only roped off by velvet ropes.  We went with a friend and she ended up having to chase her young daughter across those off limits sections...

5) Parking
There is free parking available right out side the front of the Breakers and most of the other mansion as easily within walking distance from there.

Breakers Newport Mansion Yard Green
6) Green space
After you tour the mansions you'll definitely want to tour the gardens and lawns, they are huge, amazing and a great place for kiddos to get some energy out after having to be hands off during the tour.

7) Photography
None of the mansions allow you to take pictures inside of them, but you can take all the pictures you want of the outsides and gardens.

8) Cliff Walk
There is an amazing cliff walk that runs along the backside of the mansions, most of it has bars preventing young ones from getting too near the cliffs and we really enjoyed the scenic view, but again you'll want to keep a close eye on your tots.  Also the cliff walk is a couple of miles long, if you did happen to bring a stroller this is where you would want to use it.

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

Summary & Rating ★★★★☆

Four Stars.  Honestly I thought that being able to see and tour a mansion of this caliber was incredible, if only it wasn't so dang expensive!  I found myself fascinated seeing the lavish decor used in something as trivial as a summer home... one that was only used for a handful of years and to be able to imagine what it would have been like to live such a life style.  I feel like the opportunities to see this kind of wealth are fairly limited and in my opinion it was totally worth experiencing.

Newport Mansions (The Breakers Mansion)
44 Ochre Point Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Phone: 401-847-1000
Hours: Vary