What is it about Newport, RI that I love so much? I asked myself that question the entire ride up there today. Sure, part of the answer is the emotional connection I hold to it. Hubby proposed there, it will always hold a special place in my heart. But it’s more than that. Something less concrete that I haven’t exactly been able to pinpoint until today.
Lacking the brilliant sunshine and warm weather you’d typically associate with summer homes, I was somewhat glad to see the mansions in a more rugged environment, with the winds blowing and the waves crashing hard against the cliff. I thought it would in some way take away from their grandeur, make me see them as just homes, properties, historical landmarks. I was wrong. in fact, I’m certain the rain somehow added to their magical allure.
One of the biggest draws for me is the history that lingers between those brilliantly built walls. Some of the most glorious years of people’s lives were lived there, among shamelessly flashy and ritzy material goods, surrounded by the calming, powerful ocean. There is something about the rhythm of the waves crashing against the cliff that grounds you to this world. I suspect it’s why they all loved it so much. Why they made it their summer home away from home.
Despite the ridiculously gorgeous architecture, the gold leaf patterns, the high back chairs and grand pianos, I like that on the Bellevue strip, time doesn’t exist. I could close my eyes and still hear the whispers and shuffling feet in the ballroom. The violin that played on the terrace with the orchestra. I could see, in my mind’s eye, the beautiful hostess walk down the curved staircase on the plush red carpet, her long day dress sparkling, her hair perfectly perched atop her head as she greeted guests in powder rooms. And when I opened my eyes, they were all gone.
Newport is this amazing little bubble, where time simply froze, where the ghosts of the past somehow still affect the present. I truly loved every second of it.
And as the true adventurist I am, I not only toured 2 mansions, I also hiked the cliffwalk. I don’t mean the nice, boardwalk like path fenced in for your viewing pleasure either. I mean, hiked the cliffwalk, pushed through mud and jagged rocks, faced 25 mph winds and crashing waves at my feet with nothing to seperate us but air. I got some great shots from where I stood. And I feel like a superhero, pumped with adrenaline and pride. What a way to spend the day.
Enjoy the pictures I took. They’re blurry, the day wasn’t great for pics, and I took them on my camera phone. But they’ll do. 😉