Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chillaxin' with Lesly, Part 2

We stayed at The Hotel Viking in Newport. It is a beautiful brick building, which is something Lesly doesn't see often in CA because of earthquakes. (I am from CA, too).
This was our room. It was very luxurious and pretty...until the smoke alarms went off at 1 AM. We quickly donned our shoes and coats, grabbed our purses and cell phones, and went outside into a torrential downpour. Thankfully, we were under a covered section of the parking lot. We were only out there about 10 minutes, thank God! It was all due to a sensitive sensor.
The next morning, we strolled the streets near the hotel, which were lined with the most beautiful trees and flowers! I like the contrast of this fern against the dark, mossy bark.
Hydrangeas~one of my favorite flowers (along with tulips and daisies).
I was feeling artsy, so I played with the focus. In these two photos, only the foreground is in focus.
And here, only the background is in focus. Yes, Lesly was beyond patient with me as I took about a kazilion "artsy" photos!
We never figured out the scoop on this building, but I liked the buntings and the flag, and especially the tree branch. LOL
Not that I like moss, but I thought it looked cool on these dark branches.
We came across this in the middle of town. We searched everywhere for a sign or plaque describing it, but never found anything. Whatever it is, it's beautiful and quite intriguing.
If you read my post a few days ago, I misspoke about Marble House being our favorite mansion and having the breathtaking garden room. The Elms mansion actually deserves those accolades. It was built as a summer cottage in 1899 by the Berwinds, the coal barons of the time. Edward Berwind supplied the coal to the New York Central railroad, owned by the Vanderbilts. His parents were German immigrants, and he often hosted important German officials, as well as Theodore Roosevelt. His guest lists alone made Edward Berwind one of the pre-eminent citizens in Newport.

The mansion was designed after a famous French chateau, and it's gardens were among the prettiest. The Elms was one of the first homes in America to be completely wired for electricity. As was the case with most of the Newport mansions, Sarah Berwind ran the mansion full-time. The Berwinds did not have any children. Upon Sarah's death, Edward asked his sister, Julia to move into and run the mansion in Sarah's stead. Julia had two passions: 1) She regularly invited the children of the nearby working-class immigrant neighborhood to The Elms for milk and cookies; and 2) Julia loved luxury cars and was regularly seen driving through Newport. This was unconsidered quite unladylike by Newport society, as women were to be driven rather than drive themselves. I think I would have liked Julia!
Edward Berwind strove to keep his servants out of his guests' view. There are many hidden passages in The Elms, and the basement was the hub of servant activity. The basement also had a tunnel which led to the street, through which the servants entered and exited and supplies were delivered. Edward had this entrance and circular drive covered with a canopy of trees to camouflage it.
Check out the roots on this tree.
Okay, we weren't in a tropical paradise~but these umbrella straws can make any beverage feel tropical!
And here I am hugging my sweet little granddaughter. When Lesly and I were leaving for Newport, Brittany asked me if we were going to the mansions. I jokingly replied, "Of course we are! What else would two princesses do?" As we left, Emma cried and said, "I need to go because I am a princess, too!" Okay, so maybe I spoil her a wee bit and kind of treat her like a little princess~but what's a grandma to do? LOL
Lesly, thank you for coming and for a fabulous weekend! I had so much fun! I really do miss you...

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