Saturday, May 24, 2014

The House Was Nice, But The Tree Was Amazing

Today we visited Chateau-sur-Mer.  It was the first of the grand Bellevue Avenue mansions, and its grand scale and lavish parties ushered in the Gilded Age of Newport.  It was the most palatial residence in Newport until the Vanderbilt houses were built in the 1890s.
The house was less ornate than the other houses in regard to marble and tapestries and gold covering every surface, as the style of decor was different than the other houses, but it did have some really amazing elements.  Incredible stamped, gilded and painted leather wallpaper in the dining room, stained glass ceiling in the center hall, and a seven-foot-wide mirror (a width of mirrored glass that was unheard of in that day and extremely impressive to guests) in the ballroom.

Two rooms - the library and the dining room - featured carved elements by Luigi Frullini.  The pieces in the library, the woodwork on the walls, the bookcases, tables and desk and amazing coffered ceiling, was all carved in Florence, Italy and shipped to the home to be assembled there.  Frullini also made the table and chairs in the dining room, the carved panels on the walls, a ceiling that featured bunches of grapes and frolicking cherubs, and an amazing fireplace and incredible sideboard.

But the most amazing thing about this house wasn't even in the house.  It was a tree.

This tree, which you can see on the left in the picture above and on the right in the very last picture, is a Weeping Beech.  It was the most amazing tree I've ever seen.  

It was fifty feet tall and the canopy underneath was forty-five feet in diameter.  Being underneath was like being in one of those childhood fantasy movies.  Ed said, "You can live under this tree."

If you click on the photo below, you can see a much larger panorama shot of the inside.  The kids in the photo give you some perspective on its size.

In closing, I'd have to say we really did like the house.  Each one, with their stories (this house had an guided tour, as opposed to the others which had self-guided audio tours), paint such a vivid picture of this time period and the people who lived here.

Each story is as amazing as the last.  The houses are phenomenal.  And the trees are spectacular.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Doubling The Gold In Wyoming

2012: Down Louisiana Way, Where The Blue Dog Resides
2011: Crossing The Park To 5th Avenue
2010: All Work, All Play
2009: Was My Mother Hot, Or What???
2008: The Fiddleheads Of Maine
2007: Fifteen Dollar. We Make Nail Nice. No Probrem.
2006: Road Testing The Girl
2005: Ed Time


Heather said...

I'm glad someone else loves that amazing tree as much as I do! I'd love to live under there! Jim and I like to take trips up to Newport and walk the cliff walk and see different mansions at least once a summer. We only live a couple hours away so it's an easy day-trip. If you get a chance take one of the behind the scenes tours that tells what it was like for the maids and gardeners. One of the houses the man of the house would take a walk in the morning and then the gardeners would have to rake all of the pathways so that when the lady of the house took her morning walk it looked like no one had walked there yet. The ladies with their several dress changes each day. Crazy.
If you're coming down 95 in CT and want to get out of the truck awhile let me know. We live 20 minutes from the TA in Branford. Have a great weekend!

The Daily Rant said...

HEATHER: Yes, I do love that tree! Actually, the trees on many of these properties are magnificent. Over 100 years old. HUGE trunks. Canopies of leaves that feel like you're under a giant umbrella. I'd love to sit under a tree like that in the summer, drinking lemonade or iced tea. Of course, doing it in a bazillion layers of clothing with a giant dress might not please me too much. LOL

I am amazed at how many times the women changed. I love the idea of all that clothing, and getting dressed up for dinner and tea, etc. but the idea of a "bathing costume" with wool stockings? You've got to be kidding me.

We didn't do the Cliff Walk on this visit - several sections were closed, they were repairing some damage - but may attempt it on another visit. We also want to visit Rough Point, Doris Duke's home. That isn't part of the ticket we bought (we saw all the houses we could with the membership we bought) so we'll plan on doing that another time. That house looks amazing too.

We're heading north after this, but how very nice of you to extend an invite to us! We've actually met a few of my readers in person and it's always a cool experience.

Hope you had a good holiday weekend. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. Have a great week!