When the Astors, Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and their ilk decided in the late 1800s to build their summer “cottages” along Bellevue Avenue in Newport, the Gilded Age began, and this little colonial fishing village on Aquidneck Island was transformed into a center of American society, at least in summer. That doesn’t mean Newport stalled forever in the late 19th century; think Newport Jazz Festival , America’s Cup races, and International Tennis Hall of Fame , for starters. But the mansions, now open to the public for touring and partying, are the core of Newport activities for visitors. The Preservation Society of Newport County and other like-minded groups open the mansions for the holiday season, when they shine brighter than their original owners could have imagined.
By far the most unique, where-else-but-here shops are the Newport Mansions Collections located in the basement levels of the mansions the Breakers, Rosecliff, the Elms, and Marble House. Here you can buy home furnishings, decorative accessories, carpets, wall coverings, and fabrics inspired by 250 years of European and American craftsmanship.
Courtesy: Julie Hatfield, Globe Correspondent&The Preservation Society of Newport County