Sunday, 14 March 2010
The Mansions of Newport, RI - Marble House by Regina Andrews
My life isn't a fairy tale, and I'm no princess, but sometimes I enjoy pretending that I live in a palace. After all, I am a romance writer. Lucky for me, Newport, Rhode Island is in my own backyard and I have my choice of castles to visit. Today, I'd like to talk about my very favorite - Marble House.
Marble House is located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport. This is the main residential boulevard in the seaside resort town which is about 30 minutes south of my home in Providence.
I am in love with the French influence in Newport. "Bellevue" is French for "beautiful view", and this street along the Atlantic Ocean sure gives me a great view. It's lined with ten magnificent mansions, breathtaking private residences and lots of beautiful trees. I never get tired of it.
Beauty Inside and Out
I find it hard to know what to look at first when I visit Marble House. The cobblestone approach is so grand that it always takes my breath away. (Sometimes I think it looks like the White House). Then I go through the front door into the huge and elegant foyer, gleaming with cool, smooth marble, and gilded with gold and opulent antiques everywhere I look. But what I love the most are the vast windows that open to the beautiful vista outside. The ocean, the cliffs, the gardens call to me. In fact, Marble House was the inspiration for the mansion which is the setting of my newest book, Destiny's Designs.
History of Marble House
The magnificent "summer cottage" of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Marble House was completed in 1892. It was styled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles – more French influence. What I find amazing is that it's made of 500,000 cubic feet of marble. That must have helped keep the mansion cool in the heat of the summer. The Vanderbilt's divorced three years after Marble House was finished. Alva Vanderbilt came back to Marble House many years later, and built a Chinese Tea House on sprawling back lawn overlooking the cliffs. She sold Marble House in 1932.
Marble House is now run by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It is a vital part of the cultural landscape of American history, and hosts weddings, charity galas and festivals year-round. I can tell you from my heart it is beautiful every season of the year.
Filming for the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford took place at Marble House.
Information for this blog entry was taken from:http://meetings.newportmansions.org/pdfs/SS_MarbleHouse.pdf and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_House