January 13, 2012

Rhode Island Vacations

Although Rhode Island is the smallest state of the six states in New England it is full of historical significance, and architectural buildings. Rhode Island was also home to many historical figures.

Often referred to as “Little Rhody”, the state of Rhode Island is lined by over 400 miles of coastline and is home to 20% of America’s registered historic landmarks, including The Breakers and The Elms along 400 Club and St. Mary’s Church, all located in the heart of Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport RI – Sailing Capital of the World

Newport Rhode Island boasts that it’s easy to “fall” for its natural beauty. Located along the Atlantic Ocean this spectacular coastal town is highly hospitable. Some say it is the shining gem in New England’s coastal crown.

Newport Rhode Island is also famous for its Gilded Age mansions that once were home to prestigious families such as the Astor’s and Vanderbilt’s. Apart from the historical significance of these beautiful mansions, Newport Rhode Island also showcases its many seafaring adventures such as sailing, yachting and fishing. Tours of Coastal Forts, museums and historic sites round off any Rhode Island vacation to the yachting capital of the world.

Vanderbilt Summer Cottage – The Marble House

William Vanderbilt’s summer cottage known as The Marble House is located in the heart of Newport and is one of three highly recommended Rhode Island mansions worth visiting.

William Vanderbilt had William Morris Hunt design this mansion as a gift to his wife Alva on her 39th birthday. Built to completion in 1892, this extravagant palace totalled about $11 million at the time and features more than 500,000 cubic feet of beautiful marble.

The Vanderbilt’s were prominent members and hostesses during Newport’s Gilded Age and held many parties at the mansion. Unfortunately, the couple divorced just three short years after the completion of the mansion. Only in 1920 after William’s death did Alva reopen the Marble House.

Today the Preservation Society of Newport County opens the Marble House for daily tours of the mansion, including its Chinese Tea House and its immaculate grounds.

The 400 Club

Some of the cottages built in Newport Rhode Island were eligible for entering the elite country club known as the “400 Club.” The requirements for joining the 400 Club included having $3 million in cash (equivalent to about $100 million today) and a ballroom that was big enough to host 400 people. The Breakers and The Elms are two other popular mansions worth visiting on Rhode Island vacations. They can be found while driving through the streets that were originally home to the 400 Club.

St. Mary’s Church

This Roman Catholic parish is the oldest of its kind in Rhode Island. Established in April 1828 it likely became famous when John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier decided to be married in the building in 1953.

Father Robert Woodley, who was newly ordained at the time, was given the task of exploring the possibility of starting a church in Rhode Island. After investigating he decided on Newport because of its enthusiastic residents. Today St. Mary’s is designated as a National Historic Shrine and many Rhode Island tourists admire its second period Gothic style, said to be one of the most beautiful structures in all of New England.

Rhode Island Attractions are Part of New England Fall Tours

Rhode Island vacations are included in Caravan Tours’ New England Vacation packages, which also include a tour of the Vanderbilt’s summer cottage The Marble House as well as a sightseeing tour through 400 Club and St. Mary’s Church.

Caravan Tours has specialized in fully escorted tours since 1952. Check availability for the New England Fall Vacation Packages or call 1-800-CARAVAN to reserve your space today!

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