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Blog, Newport

10 Fun Facts About Newport, Rhode Island!


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Newport Rhode Island
A picture perfect harbor on our way into Newport

Highlight on Newport, Rhode Island

We spent a few days in the charming, affluent seaside town of Newport in Rhode Island. It’s where many millionaires had their summer homes during the gilded age, including the Vanderbilts! We were in New York for Christmas and decided to drive through Connecticut to get there! I’ve always wanted to see it. The weather was freezing! But we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We surrendered to the cold and piled on coats and scarves! Of course we we did the mandatory mansion tour of gilded mansions down Bellevue Avenue, as well as some lighthouse and harbor walks, a ghost walk (of course) and antique shopping… but most especially, I LOVED being in our “Turret Suite” at Castle Hill Inn, a 4-star Forbes Rated Property… Photos below! Plan your vacation there, now! Nothing like relaxing seaside air and salty walked along the cliff. It remind me of my home town in South Africa.
A visit to The Classic Coast—nine vibrant and historic towns all sharing some seriously prime New England coastline—is both everything you expect and enjoyably unpredictable.

10 Fun Facts About Newport (more…)

Blog, Newport

The Elms Mansion, Newport


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The Elms Mansion, Newport1

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.

This is last in my travel series throwing back to the Newport Mansions on Bellevue Avenue. Scroll down for pics of this posh palace!

COST: $1.5 Million (more…)

Blog, Newport

Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Avenue, Newport


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Rosecliff Mansion, Newport Rhode Island

This week I’ve been writing about various mansions I toured in Newport, Rhode Island, following our trip to New York last Christmas. Newport is only a few hours drive from New York. I found this house a little less opulent than the iconic Vanderbilt mansions “Marble House” and “Breakers” I wrote about earlier this week. But it was interesting and pretty none the less. I spent less time here (around 30 minutes as opposed to 2 hours) and I was sorry there was no cafe. This is the second last mansion we visited, called “Rosecliff”.

COST: $2.5 Million

Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous entertainments here, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.

“Tessie”, as she was known to her friends, was born in Virginia City, Nevada. Her father, James Graham Fair, was an Irish immigrant who made an enormous fortune from Nevada’s Comstock silver lode, one of the richest silver finds in history
During a summer in Newport, Theresa met Hermann Oelrichs playing tennis at the Newport Casino.
They were married in 1890. A year later, they purchased the property known as Rosecliff from the estate of historian and diplomat George Bancroft
An amateur horticulturist, Bancroft grew thousands of roses at Rosecliff and his gardens along the Cliff Walk were famous
The Oelrichs later bought additional property along Bellevue Avenue and commissioned Stanford White to replace the original house with the mansion that became the setting for many of Newport’s most lavish parties.
Rosecliff is now preserved through the generosity of its last private owners, Mr. and Mrs. J. Edgar Monroe, of New Orleans. They gave the house, its furnishings, and an endowment to the Preservation Society in 1971.
The view of the ocean at the Bottom level
Scenes from several films have been shot on location at Rosecliff, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, Amistad and 27 Dresses.
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Rosecliff Mansion, Newport Rhode Island

Blog, Newport

Marble House, Newport, Part One


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Marble House, Newport
The entrance to the home

Highlight on Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island

This is another original gilded age mansion in the affluent city of Newport, Rhode Island. A lot of prominent families during this time has summer homes here – which they called “Cottages”. I recently wrote about The Breakers in Newport. This is another Vanderbilt residence. It’s photo friendly, $15 for multiple household tours if you buy a package. Expect to spend 1-2 hours here and wear comfortable clothing! There is a gorgeous cafe at this one, overlooking Easton Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A Chinese tea house (original from the 1800s) overlooks the ocean and has coffee and snacks. Restrooms available.

Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.  It was a summer house, or “cottage”, as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century.

Scroll down for more photos in this travel blog on Marble House, part one! Part two, tomorrow!

COST: $11 Million

Gifted to Mrs Vanderbilt as a 39th birthday gift.

(more…)

Blog, Newport

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island


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The Breakers Newport Rhode Island

Highlight on The Breakers – Newport

The Breakers is the iconic gilded age mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the Vanderbilt’s home. Expect to spend 1-2 hours there if you really want to take it in. There is an audio tour so no need to worry about reading up on it before. Everyone walks at their own pace in the mansion, there is also wheelchair access and it’s definitely photo friendly. It’s $15 per person winter pass (when we were there), and you can enter and tour as many mansions as you want! I would recommend walking shoes. There is a charming gift shop with Vanderbilt history as well as other trinkets and fiction novels set in the time of the gilded age. We drove up to Newport through Connecticut from New York, to spend a few days in this historical town on the seaside.

COST: $7 Million

The Breakers Stable & Carriage House is located approximately a half-mile west of the house, on Coggeshall Avenue. Completed in 1895, it is 100 feet deep and 150 feet wide, U-shaped with a carriage house in the center.

Scroll down for pictures of this marvelous mansion! (more…)

Blog, New York

Ancient Egyptian Treasures


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Museum of Modern Art

My throwback travel series has taken me to MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art in New York. More specifically, to the time I spent in the Ancient Egyptian section.

Below – a series of photographs for your enjoyment! Feel free to comment and please subscribe! (more…)

Blog, Ghost Walks, New York

Ghost walk in… New York


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Ghost walk New York
Edgar Allen Poe’s Front Door, where the ghost walk begins

I did a ghost walk when I was recently in New York. If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve started a ghost series to recount my best walks and give suggestions (and photos or videos where I can). My first ghosty post was from York. Read it here.

Below are some photos with captions of the most haunted spots in NYC! Feel free to ask questions or give feedback about an awesome ghost walk you have done! (please try leave the name of the company and the city you did it in!) (more…)

❤ Africa, Blog, Lesotho, My Life in Africa

Visiting An African Prophetess’ Cave


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Maketha Mantsopa
Sitting at the alter to where so many miracles have taken place since the 1800s

This is the cave of Makhetha Mantsopa. The prophetess was a renowned healer, rainmaker and diviner. She was also sister to King Moshoeshoe I – founder and first King of Lesotho. I wrote about Lesotho earlier this week. She was born around 1795, in a place called “Likotsi” or “Ramakhetheng” near present day Maseru (the capital of the Kingdom). In 1851, she predicted that the BaSotho (the people of Lesotho) would triumph over colonial troops led by Major Warden.

There are about 10-15 visitors per week to this cave – where she gave healings, performed miracles, announced prophecies and said prayers. A lot of people pray through her at this place to their ancestors and to God, much like the Virgin Mary in Christianity. The Priory of St Augustine’s is a monastery next to it, established in 1871.

There is a spring at this site, where people come to drink waters they believe are sacred and provide cleansing and good fortune. Watch the video below and read on for photos! Leave any questions you have in the comment section below! (more…)