When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, why not plan a trip to one of Newport, Rhode Island's historic mansions? Gorgeous at any time of the year, these historic vacation retreats of the turn-of-the-century American aristocracy are simply spectacular when dressed in Christmas finery and glowing with candlelight.
You're sure to forget all about the gifts still to be bought and wrapped, the cookies to be baked and all of your holiday chores when you visit one of the decorated mansions this holiday season.
Here are some highlights to start you dreaming of the elegance and extravagance of Christmases past and to help you plan your respite from modern holiday stress.
Newport Mansions Decked Out for Christmas
Newport, Rhode Island, offers an unparalleled array of historic homes to explore this holiday season. And, without summer's restaurant lines and crowded beaches, Newport is perhaps an even more charming and peaceful getaway this time of year.
Three mansions operated by The Preservation Society of Newport County officially open for the holiday season on November 19, 2016. The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House will be decorated and open daily through January 2, 2017. Hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at The Elms and The Breakers; Marble House opens at 10 a.m. Plan to arrive before 4 p.m., when the final tour begins at each property. The houses are closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, the 3 p.m. tour will be the last tour of the day at all three mansions.
Special Winter Passport tickets are available at any one of the houses, or they can be purchased online. This combination ticket for admission to all three houses is $29.49 for adults and $9 for children ages 6 to 17. Purchased separately, admission to The Breakers is $20.99 for adults, $6.99 for children 6-17.
Tickets to view Marble House or The Elms are $15.99 for adults and $6.99 for children 6-17. Call 401-847-1000 for more information.
For an extra special treat, plan to visit Newport's mansions during one of five special "Holiday Evenings at The Breakers" featuring live holiday music and elegant refreshments. These "Holiday Evenings" are slated for Saturdays, November 26 and December 3 and 10 and Fridays, December 23 and 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door (if tickets remain) for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 17 in advance or $15 at the door. There will also be a Holiday Evening Duet event at The Elms and Marble House on Saturday, December 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., when guests can see two houses for the price of one and enjoy musical performances.
Other special Christmas events planned at these three historic homes include visits from Santa Claus and a Holiday Dinner Dance at The Breakers. There will also be Nutcracker performances at a fourth mansion, Rosecliff, this holiday season.
If you go... Newport County Inns and Bed & Breakfasts Association, a consortium of Newport inns and B&Bs, is a tremendous resource for selecting one of the many cozy inns or hospitable bed and breakfast lodgings, such as the George Champlin Mason House (a.k.a. The Architect's Inn) or Cliffside Inn, from a wide array--most available at off-season rates!
Inns of Newport operates five classic Newport inns that are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Chanler, a luxurious mansion turned inn, is an uber-romantic holiday season hideaway. Or, Discover Newport provides information about a wide variety of Newport Getaway Packages.
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