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The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island – Vanderbilt Mansion

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island - Vanderbilt Mansion

Newport, Rhode Island, is a picturesque seaside city with a rich history and stunning architecture. One of its most famous attractions is The Breakers, a grand mansion built by the Vanderbilt family in the late 1800s. This iconic mansion is a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

In this article, we’ll explore The Breakers, its history, and its many features. We’ll also provide tips for planning your visit, including information on tours and tickets. Let’s get started!

History of The Breakers

The Breakers was built between 1893 and 1895 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a member of one of America’s wealthiest families. Vanderbilt had inherited his fortune from his grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in shipping and railroads.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design The Breakers. Hunt was a prominent architect of the time and had previously designed several other Vanderbilt family homes, including Marble House and the Vanderbilt Mansion in New York City.

The Breakers was designed in the Beaux-Arts style, which was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This style was characterized by its grandeur, symmetry, and use of classical motifs. The mansion was built on a 13-acre estate overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and features 70 rooms spread across five floors.

Over the years, The Breakers played host to many notable guests, including President Theodore Roosevelt, who visited the mansion in 1902. The Vanderbilt family used the home as a summer residence until 1948 when it was sold to the Preservation Society of Newport County.

Features of The Breakers

The Breakers is a masterpiece of Gilded Age architecture and design. The mansion’s exterior is clad in Indiana limestone and features intricate carvings and ornate details. The mansion’s interior is equally impressive, with rooms that are lavishly decorated and filled with fine art and antiques.

One of the most stunning features of The Breakers is the Great Hall. This grand entrance hall is 45 feet tall and features a marble floor, a stained-glass ceiling, and a massive fireplace. The room is flanked by two smaller rooms, the Morning Room and the Library, both of which are decorated in a similar style.

The mansion’s other rooms are equally impressive. The Dining Room features a table that can seat up to 34 guests, and the Billiard Room has a carved oak ceiling and intricate wood paneling. The Breakers also has several bedrooms, each decorated in a unique style.

The mansion’s grounds are just as impressive as its interior. The estate features several gardens, including a formal garden and a Japanese-inspired garden. The property also has a carriage house and stables, which have been converted into a visitors’ center and gift shop.

Planning Your Visit

If you’re planning a visit to The Breakers, there are several things you should keep in mind. First, be sure to book your tickets in advance. The mansion is a popular attraction, and tickets often sell out quickly, especially during peak season.

There are several tour options available, including self-guided tours, audio tours, and guided tours. Guided tours are led by knowledgeable docents who can provide additional information about the mansion’s history and features. Audio tours are also available in several languages, including English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as the mansion’s tour route covers several floors and requires a fair amount of walking. And don’t forget to bring a camera! The Breakers is a stunningly beautiful mansion, and you’ll want to capture as many photos as possible.


The Breakers is a true American treasure and a testament to the grandeur of the Gilded Age. With its stunning architecture, opulent interior, and beautiful grounds, it’s easy to see why The Breakers is one of Rhode Island’s top tourist attractions.

If you’re interested in history, architecture, or just appreciate beauty, a visit to The Breakers is a must. You’ll be transported back in time to an era of luxury and excess, and get a glimpse into the lives of America’s wealthiest families.

With its unique history, breathtaking architecture, and picturesque location, The Breakers is a destination that should not be missed. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Newport or a seasoned traveler, a visit to this iconic mansion is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

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