Tour the Vanderbilt family's summer cottage in Newport, Rhode Island.
Construction for the Marble House began in 1888, and it was completed in 1892 as a summer "cottage" for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. Newport slowly transformed from a quiet summer getaway with smaller wooden houses to lavish stone palaces starting with this architectural landmark. Vanderbilt was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune with steamships and the New York Central Railroad. The mansion cost $11 million, $7 million of which was used to purchase 500,000 cubic feet of marble. When the house was ready, Vanderbilt gave it to his wife as a present for her 39th birthday.
In 1920, after William Vanderbilt passed away, she built a Chinese Tea House in the back of the mansion, where she held rallies for women's right to vote. The Tea House used to be much closer to the cliffs, but it has since been moved back to ensure its preservation. Marble House was sold to Frederick H. Prince in 1932, and the Preservation Society of Newport County acquired the house in 1963. This has been a National Historic Landmark since 2006, and the home features stained glass windows, mural ceilings, and beautifully carved marble fireplaces.
A few movies such as The Great Gatsby, The Buccaneers, and 27 Dresses were filmed here. Regular hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, but check their website to make sure they will be open during your trip. Come and take a self-guided audio tour of this magnificent house and stop by the gift shop for a souvenir before you go. The Tea house sells drinks, snacks, and food if you need a refreshment. The Marble House is a must-see if you're vacationing in Rhode Island.