MV Obsession

…Martha's Vineyard and other obsessions …


Newport, RI – Part 2 – The Breakers…

The Breakers – if you only have time to see one mansion/summer cottage, this the THE one to visit.

From wikipedia: ” The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. The Breakers was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Breakers is the architectural and social archetype of the ‘Gilded Age’ a period when members of the Vanderbilt family were among the major industrialists of America. Vanderbilt was the President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, and was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Commodore made the family fortune in the steamship and railroad industries.In 1895, the year of its completion, The Breakers was the largest, most opulent house in the Newport area.”

CLICK HERE to read more….

This was the original Breakers which was destroyed by fire in 1892.  A modest summer cottage…


Vanderbilt commissioned famed architect Richard Morris Hunt to rebuild it and  insisted that the building be made as fireproof as possible and as such, the structure of the building used steel trusses and no wooden parts.

And this is the Breakers in 1895… somewhat different from the original, wouldn’t you say.




Great hall …



Around the ‘cottage’… 2 sitting rooms – music room – library – bathroom – dining room.

In the library the fireplace, taken from a 16th-century French chateau  bears the inscription “I laugh at great wealth, and never miss it; nothing but wisdom matters in the end.”

mosaic2d3c178bc4b28b48496f16dc95b9f9c94d6d87e4Back of grand staircase – ceiling – gilded door – portrait – platinum wall paper – chandelier.

‘The kitchen, unlike others in the time period, was situated on the first floor away from the main house to prevent the possibility of fires and cooking smells reaching the main parts of the house.’ You can understand why after the original Breakers burned down that they’d want the kitchen further away. This kitchen is gorgeous, it could even tempt me to whip up a cake or something.  Maybe.


The grounds … you never know what you might see out there🙂


The Breakers is amazing… not just in its beauty and opulence but in the thought and foresight that went into building it.

Just a few more pictures, really, just a few🙂


If you haven’t been to the Breakers I hope you get to go.  In the mean time CLICK HERE for the Breakers and HERE to find out more about Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

Coming next … what mansion came within weeks of being torn down !!

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)

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March Calendar Pictures …

pizap.com14513497203761My wall calendar picture on the left was taken at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, New Jersey when I visited it a year ago.  CLICK HERE to find out more about it.

My desk calendar picture on the right is one of the windows in the John & Priscilla homestead in Duxbury, MA.  I visited there last October… CLICK HERE to find out more about it.


G. Washington Slept Here …

In honor of George Washington’s birthday which is February 22nd I’m re-blogging this post from 2014. I read in the paper today that George Washington’s birthday was actually February 11, 1731 but when the calendar was changed to Gregorian his birthdate changed to the 22nd. Which means he was born an Aquarius but became a Pisces ! Wonder what that did to his astrological chart🙂
Happy birthday to our first President, George Washington.

MV Obsession

In honor of Presidents Day I thought I’d write about our first president.

I don’t know if George Washington ever slept on Martha’s Vineyard but he certainly slept his way around New Jersey.

He arrived at Ford Mansion in Morristown, NJ in Dec of 1779 and stayed until June of 1780.  His troops of 10,000 men were encamped at nearby Jockey Hollow during the harshest winter of the war.

Morristown, New Jersey


This description of the mansion is from Wikipedia:

‘The Ford Mansion has a Georgian style exterior, but the interior kitchen and framing shows evidence of Dutch influence. The mansion was made with palladian window above the door and a stylish cornice. The fancy architecture was not created to look appealing, but to showcase the wealth of the family who owned the building.’
My creation

Built between 1772 and 1774 it was the home of Jacob and Theodosia Ford.  The following…

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Newark, New Jersey (Banks)…

The above pictures (thanks to Google) are of The Howard Savings Institution bank in Newark, New Jersey. I’m guessing that these pictures are from the early 1900’s !   The Howard Savings Institution received its charter in 1857 and met its demise in Oct 1992.  (That’s a whole other post).   I worked at the Howard in the mortgage department from Feb 1960 until Feb 1964.

Last weekend I was in Newark and I took the following pictures of what this once beautiful and stately bank building looks like now… it’s very sad.


IMG_2292The columns are gone and the Howard Savings Institution is gone from the front of the building but look closely along the top… the lion heads of different colors remain !

The next time I go back to Newark I think I’ll go inside the store that’s there now and see if any remnants of the inside of the bank remain ! I think not though.
IMG_2290Wandering a little further down Broad Street we come to the National Newark & Essex bank building which is where my mother worked.

      The following information was taken from an article on Google – “The beginning of the rebirth of the 744 Building, now referred to as the “National Newark Building” began in November 1997 when the Helmsley estate sold the 744 Broad Street building to Cogswell Realty Group, which announced that it would restore and reconstitute the building to its former glory.

The end result was a $55 million total renovation of the building and the integration of 21st century technologies that converted the building into an ideal and inviting modern office environment.

Among the new improvements were 1,500 new openable thermal windows, 15 high speed elevators, removal of the escalators, and the lobby given a complete facelift with restored 25 feet high plaster ceilings and grand chandeliers.

The classical style facade in the lobby was scrubbed and repainted and the art deco interior and giant mezzanine level murals restored.”

The restored building slowly has been regaining its earlier popularity and has been referred to as the “crown jewel of Newark’s renaissance.”

IMG_2288The details on this building are incredible… look at the door handles on the front entrance…

IMG_2293 The article that I cited before also mentioned..”Among the new improvements were 1,500 new openable thermal windows, 15 high speed elevators, removal of the escalators, and the lobby given a complete facelift with restored 25 feet high plaster ceilings and grand chandeliers”.

I remember those chandeliers from my childhood when I used to visit the bank with my mother.

IMG_2285I am hoping during my next trip to Newark that I can go inside the bank which was closed the Saturday I was there… and see if I can step back in time.

I’m also looking forward to doing future posts about more of the rebirth of my home town, Newark, New Jersey


Vineyard Februaries …

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard in February and I love it.  I love it any time but February is as different from summer on the Vineyard as you can possibly get.

There’s a  cold crispness in the air, the colors are more vivid, the Island is quiet and yet speaks volumes to those who take the time to look, listen and drink in the beauty and wonder that is the soul of Martha’s Vineyard.

February 1989…  a light dusting of snow made everything look like powdered sugar had fallen all over the Island.


February 1995…  no snow that trip but bitter cold.  Did not stop me from visiting the Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah on the western most tip of the Vineyard… or hiking through the woods of Christiantown to visit the tiny chapel there.


I also  experimented a bit with black and white film. From top left… Edgartown harbor, Christiantown stone wall..Sengekontacket Pond and South Beach.


February 2007… bitter cold, dusting of over night snow, icy ponds and harbors… and brilliant sunsets.

My birthday is in February and sadly the only one I’ve ever spent on the Vineyard was in 1950 when my beloved godmother, Gertrude Norris passed away.  But I’m not anywhere near done having birthdays so who knows what the future will bring🙂

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NYC Matinee Day …

My daughter Deb, our friend Dawn and I went to NYC last Saturday to see…tah dah… the funniest, most hysterical musical comedy I think I’ve ever seen… and despite the title… it was not rotten :)  Come along and join us on our matinee day in the city.


After getting coffee we headed to Times Square…


You can always count on seeing a lot of characters roaming Times Sq, for example take a look at the characters in the last picture, crazy looking bunch🙂

You might even see a proposal taking place, although I wonder if the one we saw was a real one or staged since there was a camera crew there !  At any rate it picture worthy.


 Next up was lunch.. Junior’s Restaurant & Bar was our choice and it was a good one… we all chose sandwiches which were huge and delicious, the side dishes of pickles and also beets were great…but the icing on the cake, or in this case the blueberries on the cheesecake was oh so good… one piece shared 3 ways was perfect.pizap.com14531643690312

and now the main event…  I present …’Something Rotten’..



Inside before the magic, and the laughter began…

IMG_2035And of course way too soon the laughter, the music, and the magic ended and it was out into the cold evening with memories of a fantastic, not rotten, matinee day in the city🙂