Entertaining at Newport's turn-of-the-century seaside "cottages" (read: "humongous mansions") was clearly not a casual affair. But after last year's austere holiday party season, we must admit that we find the over-the-top opulence of these dining rooms kind of appealing, even if there aren't exactly any formal banquets looming in our future.
The mansions of Newport were built as summer residences for the barons of the Industrial Revolution and are open to the public year round, but are especially fun to visit this time of year when they are gussied up for the holidays. The first dining room is at the Breakers, a grand 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palace built in 1893 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The second is at The Elms, built in 1901 and modeled after a French chateau. The third is at Marble House, inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.
For hours, admissions information, and a listing of holiday events, visit the Newport Preservation Society website.
(Images: 1: John Corbett photo courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County, 2: Ira Kerns photo courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County, 3: Franco Rossi photo courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County, )