Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chillaxin' with Lesly, Part 1

My cherished friend, Lesly, came for a 5-day visit. She lives in CA. We met at church as Pioneer Girl leaders when our daughters, Brittany and Holly, were 8 years old. That was 18 years ago! First up on our agenda were pedicures at a fabulous new nail salon in my local mall.
Then we went to Chloe's, our favorite restaurant.
The next day, we drove to Newport, Rhode Island. People don't hear much about Rhode Island, but Newport is absolutely beautiful and is definitely worth visiting. We decided to tour some of the famous mansions in Newport. This is the Vandermilt mansion, known as The Breakers. Actually, it was the Vanderbilt's summer cottage, as their real home was in New York. This is the mansion in Newport. Cornelius Vanderbilt made his fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was largely responsible for our nation's industrial development in the 1900's. His son, Cornelius II, built The Breakers in the late 1800's for $21 million dollars. This mansion highlights their financial and social status. Indoor photos of the mansions are prohibited, so you'll have to go see the mansions yourself, a must-do trip to add to your bucket list! We did take some great photos of the exteriors. (And yes, I took a boat load of photos through tree branches, as usual.)
This is the ceiling in the outdoor garden room overlooking the ocean.
Next, we toured the Marble House. William Vanderbilt, Cornelius' grandson, let his wife, Alva, build Marble House as her "project." She struck an agreement with him that, upon completion, Marble House would be given to her outright. She spent $11 million building this summer cottage, which she envisioned as a "temple to the arts" and filled with some of the world's finest art. William Vanderbilt kept his word and gave Marble House to Alva as a 39th birthday present. She divorced him shortly thereafter in 1895, which was quite a scandalous thing to do at the time. She then hosted women's suffrage meetings in the home. She remarried a short time later and moved down the street to her husband's mansion. She used Marble House to store her extensive wardrobe and as a second laundry facility. Upon her second husband's death, Alva returned to Marble House and built a Chinese tea room on its seaside cliffs. She continued to host rallies for women's right to vote. The Chinese Tea House is now open for light lunches and afternoon teas. This was actually our favorite mansion of the two we toured this day. It's not quite as opulent as The Breakers.
This is the Chinese Tea House.
We decided to do some shopping in downtown Newport. It was rainy and gray, so didn't get any good outdoor photos. But I did manage to get one shot of a steeple trough tree branches, which is one of my favorite things to photograph!
We ducked into The Barking Crab to get a break from the rain and to enjoy an ice cold beer.
We shopped a bit more and then went to the famous Cook House for dinner.
We shared this dessert called A Snowball from #$!!. The name isn't so nice, but it was delicious! The goblet was coated with fudge, and we didn't let a single drop go to waste!
More photos tomorrow. Wishing you a fabulous Sunday!



1 comment:

Christy Lynn said...

That Alva sounds like she would have been quite the character to know in person, doesn't she? I certainly appreciate what she and the rest of the suffragettes did on my behalf :) Wonderful pictures, looks like you had a great time...now I want one of those snowball concoctions!