We had all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see some of the houses of Newport. We saw less than half of them. The weather here has been on the hot side, so we picked the air conditioned houses to see in the afternoon. Boston was a bit hectic and crowded. Even our Holiday Inn Express there was unusually crowded at breakfast time. The staff said it’s always that way. Things were more laid back at our HIE (and way cheaper, after that music festival was over) in Newport.
Income, property and inheritance taxes stopped people from keeping or building more of the great houses. Breakers, Marble House, Biltmore, as well as many other homes were built by the grandchildren of the person who originally made the fortune. Today’s inheritance tax still applies to more than 5 million, and building homes like these would be in the 100 million area. Only the original fortune maker could do it, and they’re often too busy making the money.
Nearly all the museum houses are owned by non profits. Biltmore is still owned by the family. They do that by using the house privately only one day per year for a family get together. The other days its expenses are business deductions.
People argue over how blatant or excessive the Newport mansions were. I think Sue had it right when she said the builders were like Isabella Stewart Gardiner in Boston. Their original intentions were different, but they all used the houses for their own residences before passing them on for future generations. Besides, I thought it was cool to have four faucets for the tub. They didn’t forget the hot and cold running salt water.
Newport still is a resort town, with many people using the beach. There’s a real touristy downtown with restaurants and resorts on the water. We didn’t see much of that part this time, but maybe we’ll come and stay in one of the resorts in the future. We see a lot of places we want to return to, and Newport is one of them.