newport rhode island
just got back from a fantastic weekend in newport. it was filled with lobster, cliffs, rich white people, and the tackiest most opulent mansions i've ever seen (there were a lot of classy mansions too). the streets that weren't filled with mansions had colonial houses squeezed into every available space.
we did a 5 mansion tour which was fascinating, and at some points disgusting. the gilded age of newport really illustrates the theory that money can't buy taste. platinum covered walls, baccarat crystal chandeliers bigger than my bedroom, and marble on every surface that isn't already slathered with gold. no photos were allowed inside any of the "cottages", but there are a lot online if you feel so inclined. i thought the smaller gothic and victorian ones were more interesting than the palatial villas. the level of dedication that newport's preservation society puts into saving, restoring, and maintaining these is mind blowing.
i was particularly excited to see rosecliff, due to its prominent display in the 1974 movie of the great gatsby. it didn't disappoint. you can feel the parties that were held there like they happened the night before.
everywhere you look there are houses bigger than you could imagine. but i loved all the carriage houses and gardener's homes more. they're cute cozy versions of the monstrosities yet to come. they maintain their character, but have less crap all over the place so you can really appreciate the details to the fullest.
to break up the mansion gawking, we took a walk along the southern edge of the cliff walk, which runs along the coast. i must recommend that you wear good shoes- like a fool, i was in low heels and it's a miracle i didn't wipe out. it's not entirely paved, and at spots it's unruly. we packed a lunch of cheese, crackers and salmon pate (and a 1/2lb brownie!) and ate on the edge of the cliff while getting misted by the waves. sometimes you don't have to be rich to attain perfection.