Hi All, Written: May 12, 2009
We have just left Newport, Rhode Island, playground and summer home of the eastern American rich (I mean old money rich) since the late 1800’s. Most of the old mansions have been restored to the late 1800’s décor and several have been taken over by historic societies and are open to the public. Newport is over 300 years old, discovered in 1524, established in 1639, and became a summer retreat for New York’s rich in the late 1800’s, the Vanderbilt’s and the Astor’s among them. It is the home of the first America’s Cup, a trophy held by the Newport Yacht Club for over one hundred years, finally lost to Australia in 1988. No other sport trophy has been held that long. Interestingly enough it is also the home of the oldest standing Synagogue in America (Touro Synagogue 1763) and the oldest library in the country. Lastly it is the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame (I looked for Bob in the hall but for some reason no one knew where to find his statue???).
On to the Photo Album above entitled “Newport RI”. First photo is the port sign as we came into the port on tenders from the Maasdam, second is Susy under a beautiful flower tree at the ramp where the tenders docked. Susy and I took a bus tour around the town of Newport and the drive along the ocean to see some of the many mansions, ending up at the Astor’s summer house “Beachwood”. Photos 3, 4, and 5 are a few of the mansions (remember these are just summer “cottages” used by the rich only in July and August each year) located either on the Ocean or across the road from it with beautiful views of the water. We arrived at “Beachwood” the front of which you see in photo six. As we entered the mansion we were greeted by actors dressed as the Astor family (see photo seven) who played the roles of family members entertaining guests for a day at their home. After touring the mansion we were taken to the huge ballroom (looking out on the ocean) where the actors danced, sang, and again entertained us just as the Astor’s would have in the late 1800’s. The eighth photo is the rear (ocean side) of “Beachwood”. The most lavish of all Newport properties is Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s “Breakers” with 70 rooms. There is also the “summer White House” of two presidents: John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The ninth photo is the front of the Tennis Hall of Fame, which we passed on the way back to the tenders. After a full day of touring we headed back to the ship for dinner and a pool side party with “Chocolate” fountains and tables of cakes, etc. so in the last photo you see Susy with chocolate all over her.
Next stop Bar Harbor, Maine, Thursday, May 14, 2009. From now on I don’t know when I will post because we have 8 ports in a row. I’ll try to post one or two about every other day.
Love you all,
PS: If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please send me an email.