The Gilded Age of Newport
Rhode Island's Exclusive Resort
4 Days | Spring | Summer | Fall
Starting At $Flexible Pricing
Come enjoy a unique tour of seaside mansions from the Gilded Age. These National Historic Landmarks were designed to impress. Constructed by the Robber Baron’s of the era they are opulent, ornate and beyond the comprehension of most American’s today.
We are happy to accommodate Groups who want to add a night or two, or further customize their trip.
StarrGroups Flexible Pricing:
- Customizable Comps
- Commissionable or Net Rates
- Luxury or First Class Hotels & Meals
- Starr Tours Motorcoach & Professional Tour Managers are available
Whatever you want, StarrGroups will be happy to structure tour prices to match your needs. Just let us know!
Day 1 – Newport, RI – Evening at Bowen’s Wharf
Arrive in Newport, RI, home of Gilded Age mansions. In the late 19th century, America’s elite built their summer “cottages” in Newport to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City life. These “cottages” however, are anything but quaint.
Check into your hotel for a three night stay. Enjoy a free evening at Bowen’s Wharf, the Anchor of Newport’s Waterfront. Brick walks, granite quays, and 18th century commercial wharf buildings bring you back to Newport’s beginnings as a thriving seaport in one of the finest natural harbors in New England. There are many restaurants, shops and nightlife options available.
Day 2 – Gilded Age Newport Tour – Harbor Cruise – Newport Vineyards Tour & Tasting – Dinner at Johnny’s Restaurant – Mrs. Astor’s “Breaking the Rules of Gilded Age Society”
This morning, you enjoy a Gilded Age tour of Newport with the Grand Dame of Newport, Mrs. Caroline Astor. Although her “coach” is much more opulent than yours, you may have more horsepower. This tour includes Newport’s Colonial city center with centuries-old architecture, Ocean Drive with jaw-dropping vistas Bellevue Avenue’s historic Gilded Age ‘cottages.” You will also see many locations where HBO’s new series “The Gilded Age” was filmed. Learn about legendary landmarks but also get the scoop on hidden gems!
Next, there will be time for lunch on own and shopping along Bannister’s Wharf, the center of all the action in Newport since 1742! Bannisters Wharf is home to some great restaurants like the Clarke Cooke House (favorite local spot of Ted Turner and Dennis Conner), The Black Pearl, Fluke and the White Horse Tavern, the ‘oldest Tavern in America.” Bannisters Wharf has an incredible variety of unique shops for you to explore. In between all of the shopping, take a break and enjoy an ice cream, coffee or espresso by the waterfront!
The afternoon features a Harbor Cruise on the Gansett. Enjoy a narrated tour of Newport Harbor & Narragansett Bay. This cruise also includes your choice of complimentary local favorites: Del’s Lemonade or Coffee “Cabinet” Shake or Coffee Ice Cream. Your knowledgeable guide will enthusiastically share the legends and rich history of this amazing seaport.
Then head to Newport Vineyards for a tour and tasting. Tour the vineyard, which was originally established in 1977 with the goal of producing fine wines as a way of preserving agricultural land from rapid development. Today, they produce a variety of quality, award winning wines which you can sample after the tour.
Dinner is included tonight at a local favorite, Johnny’s Restaurant at the Wyndham Resort. Located on the historic grounds once owned by John Clarke, one of the founders of Newport, Johnny’s is a reincarnation of Newport’s legendary Atlantic Beach Club. Johnny’s features a diverse menu in an upscale casual setting overlooking Easton’s Beach.
After dinner, Mrs. Astor will speak with the group about “Breaking the Rules of Gilded Age Society.” Mrs. Astor, thought she was uniquely qualified to uphold the manners and mores of Gilded Age America. Wherever she went, Mrs. Astor made her judgments, dictating proper behavior and demeanor, men’s and women’s codes of dress, acceptable patterns of speech and movements of the body, and what and when to eat and drink. The ladies and gentlemen of high society took note. “What would Mrs. Astor do?” became the question every social climber sought to answer. Mrs. Astor will engage the group in a lively, humorous discussion by asking them their ideas about how proper etiquette rules could be broken. A gentlemen partner will present the men’s code of behavior. (B,D)
Day 3 – Newport Mansions Touring – Chateau-sur-Mer – The Breakers – The Elms & Servant Tour – Dinner at La Forge Casino Restaurant – Gilded Age Cotillion
Today, is filled with Newport Gilded Age Mansions. The New HBO series, “The Gilded Age,” from the creators of “Downton Abbey,” filmed on location in Newport at the three mansions you are touring today.
Start this morning at the Chateau-sur-Mer, a landmark of High Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. It was the most palatial residence in Newport from its completion in 1852 until the appearance of the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s. It was the scene of memorable entertainments, from the “Fete Champetre,” an elaborate country picnic for more than 2,000 guests held in 1857, to the debutante ball for Miss Edith Wetmore in 1889. Chateau-sur-Mer’s grand scale and lavish parties ushered in the Gilded Age of Newport.
Next, visit the Breakers Mansion, the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages.” It is a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn-of-the-century America. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century.
After a break for lunch on your own, the afternoon features a tour of The Elms, 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.
Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds’ collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.
The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were developed between 1907 and 1914. They include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house and garage. These gardens were recently restored.
Also included with your visit to the Elms is The Servant Life Tour. See and hear how the other half lived as you take the Servant Life Tour at The Elms. This tour will highlight the stories of some of the men and women who worked to service the social whirl of Newport during the Gilded Age.
Dinner this evening is included at the historic La Forge Casino Restaurant on Bellevue Avenue. Enjoy a delicious meal while overlooking the tennis courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame where Gilded Age society once played croquet and tennis.
After dinner, enjoy a recreation of a Gilded Age Cotillion with live music and easy dance steps. (B,D)
Day 4 – Depart for Home
After breakfast, depart for home. (B)