When my husband and I visited Newport, Rhode Island in October 2021, three of the most popular mansions were open: Marble House, The Breakers, and The Elms. I have written about each of them in separate blogs.
The Elms Mansion
The Elms “summer cottage” was completed in 1901 for Edward and Sarah Berwind. Edward Berwind made his fortune in coal, which — as pointed out by the Newport Mansions app — was used to fuel Vanderbilt Railroads, the New York Subway, and the United States Navy. At the Berwind’s request, Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer modeled The Elms after a 1750 grand home outside Paris called the Chateau d’Asnieres (open for tours).
Classical Revival Architecture
The architectural style of The Elms home and gardens is known as classical revival. It is a style heavily influenced by ancient Greek and Roman designs; in other words, think symmetry, balance, columns, fountains, and lots of bronze and marble statues.
Despite being named The Elms, there are no mature elms on the property. Sadly they were killed by the dutch elm disease that swept through New England prior to WWII. However, the Newport Preservation Society is planting disease-resistant elms that will take a few decades to mature.
French and Italian gardens of the Renaissance and Antiquity eras influenced the design of The Elms’ landscaping. The formal grounds are symmetrical and often highlighted with fountains and statuary.
The Sunken Garden
From the house, a series of descending terraces and paths were created to lead down to a sunken garden. During the Berwind’s time, it took a dozen men to take care of the grounds — without the benefit of gas or electric-powered machinery.
My husband and I enjoyed walking out and around from the sunken garden to discover hidden treasures.
I will take you inside The Elms to show you the conservatory. It is a room designed to bring the outdoors in. It has stone floors, wicker chairs, mirrors to reflect the garden outside, and fountains. The room looks a bit crowded with statuary because the preservation society moved copies of some originals inside to protect them from the elements.
I hope you all get to visit The Elms one day. The inside of the mansion is as beautiful as the outside gardens.
Visiting The Mansions
The Breakers is open daily. Marble House is open for weekends only, starting FEB. 5TH. Beginning FEB. 19th, it will be open daily. The Elms and Green Animals Topiary Garden will open daily in APRIL. Rosecliff will open by the END OF MAY. They will also host an exhibit of Gilded Age objects starting May 27th, 2022.
All visitors must show proof of vaccination, including the booster. For the record, I STRENUOUSLY OBJECT TO THIS. Hopefully the restriction will be lifted this year so that EVERYONE can visit the Newport mansions. For more information, visit the Newport Preservation Society website.
Stay tuned for another blog. I’ll be returning to Massachusetts to continue my Traveling Massachusetts series. Please subscribe if you want to be notified of my next post and be sure to share. Thank you!