MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend…

Ascend:  verb:  to go or move upward upon or along; climb
From the gangplank of the Mayflower and stairs at the Edison Museum in NJ in the first row..
to NYC.. High Point monument in NJ.. and mansions of Newport , RI.. in second row..
to rock sculpture at Grounds For Sculpture in NJ… and climbing at mall in NY…
to assorted stairs…
and finally the ceiling at a Newport, RI mansion…. these are my ascend choices.

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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)


Newport, RI – Part 1 – Marble House…

As you may have guessed from the clues in the previous post ‘April Road Trip’.. our trip was to Newport, Rhode Island to visit the mansions of the Gilded Age.  And gilded they were.

Mansion #1- Marble House.



According to Wikipedia :  “The mansion was built as a summer “cottage” retreat between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was a social landmark that helped spark the transformation of Newport from a relatively relaxed summer colony of wooden houses to the now legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. The fifty-room mansion required a staff of 36 servants, including butlers, maids, coachmen, and footmen. The mansion cost $11 million ($260,000,000 in 2009 dollars) of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet (14,000 m³) of marble.”

The tours are audio guided which lets you progress at your own speed…  also now photos are allowed with smart phones.  You can use SLR’s without flash with written permission when you get there.  I used my SLR digital camera as well as my smart phone.   Let’s step inside now and begin the tour of Marble House…

Foyer and staircase….


Around the house..

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marble house
marble house

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Alva was big in the Women’s Suffrage movement, you can find this ‘Votes for Women’ china in the gift shop.


One cannot leave Marble House without walking around the grounds and visiting the Chinese Tea House on the back lawn.


pizap.com14624870194831This is only a sampling of the many pictures we took.  This house, escuse me ‘summer cottage’ is incredibly beautiful and interesting.  To read more about it and the original owners, William Kissam Vanderbilt and his eclectic and interesting wife Alva… CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

Coming next… the ultimate ‘summer cottage’.  Can you guess which it is ?

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)

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Thomas Edison Nat’l Historic Park …

Headed out this past weekend to go here…

Thomas Edison Nat’l Historic Park

in West Orange, New Jersey


to see Thomas Edison’s home, Glenmont, all decked out for Christmas.


But it was sold out so my daughter Deb, her friend Dawn, and I decided instead to tour through  the laboratories. I don’t know why I haven’t visited this treasure before… but I’m glad I finally did.



Got our tickets and off we went…


All the building center around The Courtyard which was used for many purposes from motion picture set, test site, photography backdrop, greeting area and sometime parking lot.


Off to one side of the Courtyard stands a replica of the ‘Black Maria’… the world’s first motion picture studio.


Notice the track that runs around the building.   That was so the building could be turned to follow the sunlight.

This was only the beginning of our afternoon of awe and delight… let’s see  what’s behind some of the doors !


In 1887 this was one of the best equipped chemical labs in the world.


Another door…. the music room…


The pattern shop …


Join me for the next installment when we climb these stairs and see what wonders await !


See ya 🙂