June 23, 2016
Rhode Island is an ultimate New England summertime destination for sure! The mansions in Newport are breathtaking to say the least! The Elms is one of nine mansions in Newport, which was Mr. and Mrs. Edward Berwin’s “summer cottage”.
Yes. Summer cottage. Edward Berwind hired architect Horace Trumbauer to design and model his Bellevue Avenue summer residence after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris. The Elms measures 60,000 square feet and contains 48 rooms.
It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and today is open to the public.
The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost of $1.4 million.
These are some of the lovely statues that are scattered around the grounds.
Lovely, and spooky!
I attended the Servant Life Tour, which I would recommend, yet only if one has seen the regular mansion tour. The Servant Life Tour does not show off the magnificent rooms: the living rooms, sitting rooms, ball rooms, etc. Instead, the tour starts at the four-story marble back staircase which goes up to the third floor where about 40 staff lived.
In the middle of the hallway is one of the house’s three “annunciators,” a wall box that could be rung from 29 different places in the house. It moved a little labeled flag telling servants where to go. A cow, jingle and tea bell indicated specific rooms.
Pictured below is a portion of the glass floor.
The servants’ quarters opens onto a roof deck where the mansion’s 10-acre grounds can be seen, along with Newport Harbor.
The tour heads back down the stairs and into the basement kitchens, laundry rooms, boiler room ice making room, and coal cellar.
There is a railroad track in the cellar that travels through a tunnel leading to the street where coal was delivered.
The Servant Life Tour was exciting, unique and full of interesting behind-the-scenes stories. Take a trip back in time at the Elms, then head over to Flo’s for fresh seafood and spirits! See ya there!