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New Mansions Tour Takes Visitors “Inside ‘The Gilded Age’”

Newport Buzz
Newport Buzz
 2022-08-11
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Photograph by Alison Cohen Rosa HBO

For a limited time only, The Preservation Society of Newport County is offering an exclusive “Inside ‘The Gilded Age’” tour featuring four of the Newport Mansions.

Fans of HBO’s popular historical drama can enjoy a guided visit to locations in the Newport Mansions where scenes from the first season were filmed. This four-hour tour, offered once on Fridays from August 12 through September 23, will take visitors to The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer. The tour is limited to a maximum of 12 people.

“They add a kind of luster to the program that we would be the poorer without,” said Julian Fellowes, creator of “Downton Abbey” and “The Gilded Age,” when asked recently about filming scenes at the Newport Mansions. “We very much benefited from that. There’s a pleasure in showing these houses, these rooms, this town to the American public, those of them who haven’t been there, and letting them know it exists. All of that, I think, is a win-win, really.”

Guides will show specific rooms used in the series – from the kitchen in The Elms where household staff worked and gossiped to the billiard room in The Breakers where railroad tycoon George Russell plotted his latest business deals. Visitors will learn about the real people who lived in these mansions and inspired many of “The Gilded Age” characters, as well as what it takes to host a major television production.

At The Elms, visitors will see Gladys Russell’s bedroom and the Russell family’s kitchen and pantry. Then it’s on to Marble House to see Mr. Russell’s bedroom, the grand bedroom that was the inspiration for Bertha Russell’s room, the back stairs, and Mrs. Astor’s kitchen.

During a stop at Chateau-sur Mer, the exterior of which was used as Mrs. Astor’s Newport cottage, visitors can inspect multiple locations where scenes were filmed, including the hallway, dining room and ballroom used during Mrs. Fish’s doll tea party. The tour will also show Agnes van Rhijn’s bedroom, Oscar van Rhijn’s bedroom, Mrs. Morris’ bedroom and Mr. Morris’ office. After a break for lemonade and cookies on the porch at Chateau-sur-Mer, the tour moves on to The Breakers, where the billiard and music rooms were memorably showcased in the HBO series.

The tour includes transportation to all locations, with pick-up and drop-off at the Gateway Visitors Center on 23 America’s Cup Ave. in Newport. Participants will also receive an individual Preservation Society membership and a 10 percent discount in the Newport Mansions Stores. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visit https://www.newportmansions.org/plan-a-visit/inside-the-gilded-age-tour to learn more.

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