A Gilded Age Christmas

Available Early December,  Thursday through Sunday

Tour Length: 4 Days/3 Nights

Day One:

Arrive by 12:00 pm in Newport, Rhode Island the sailing capital of the world and home to the famed Gilded Age mansions. Enjoy lunch on your own and time to explore the boutique shops that line Thames Street, the center of all the action in Newport!

Thames GlassAfter lunch, visit Thames Glass, where skilled glassblowers shape molten glass into hand blown vases, ornaments, snowmen, paperweights, perfume bottles and other original designs. Your visit includes a hands-on glassblowing session where you will create your own glass ornament!

Arrive at your waterfront hotel in historical downtown Newport. This historic hotel with sophisticated coastal ambiance and modern day amenities create a cozy retreat just steps away from the beach. There will be time to relax and refresh before dinner.

Dinner will be served at a family-owned and operated restaurant that is a favorite amongst the locals. The style and friendly atmosphere reflect the family's Irish heritage.

After dinner, return to the hotel for an evening of holiday cheer. Sing your favorite Christmas carols along with the Very Merry Dickens Carolers.

Day Two:

After breakfast in the hotel, join your local guide, dressed in costume as Mrs. Caroline Astor, the Grande Dame of Newport and New York Society. Travel back to the Gilded Age and beyond to 1920. Learn of the region’s rich history and historic landmarks. Travel along scenic Ocean Avenue and witness the incredible architecture. Enjoy a walking tour of The Point, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Newport and home to one of the highest concentrations of colonial houses in the United States. Witness the decorated front doors of these historic homes, as they participate in the Annual Newport Door Decorating Contest.

Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Bannister’s Wharf. Store windows, lavishly decorated for the holiday season, will inspire your spirit. Shop for that special holiday gift at one of the many boutiques that line the streets. Have lunch on your own at at one of the charming local eateries.

ElmsNext, visit The Elms mansion, the former summer home of Philadelphia coal magnate, Edward Berwind. Thousands of poinsettias, spectacular evergreens, fragrant trees, decorated wreaths, fresh flowers and 19th century style ornaments turn the house and its grounds into a Christmas wonderland. Dining tables set with period silver and china and mannequins dressed in authentic costumes complete the elegant setting. In keeping with the turn of the century tradition, each of the seemingly countless windows are lit with individual white candles, casting a warm glow throughout.

Travel a short distance to Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum. The Van Wickle family built this stunning 45-room English-style manor mansion in the early 1900's on 33 acres with sweeping views of Narragansett Bay. Every year during the holidays, the mansion transforms into a dazzling display where each room is filled with elaborate holiday decorations. Embark on a self-guided tour of the mansion and then gather in the formal dining room for High Tea. Savor the flavors of a selection of freshly prepared finger-sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and a variety of pastries and treats.

Return to the hotel and "out your Betty on." Gather for a Gilded Age Cookie Decorating Contest. From silver sprinkles to gold sanding sugar do your best to make your cookie shine as the Chef picks the best! The winner receives a white chef’s Apron!

Next, it's time to don your holiday best for tonight's activities. Begin with a savory dinner elegantly served in a private room at the hotel. Taste the fruits of your labor, as your decorated cookies are part of dessert!

After dinner, participate in a re-creation of a traditional Cotillion. Popular in the 18th-century, this social dance was originally made for four couples in square formation. It was a courtly version of an English country-dance and in the United States, the square dance. Learn the basic steps of the Waltz, Circle Dance and Line Dance then join hands with  your partner and dance to music of the era.

Day Three:

After breakfast at the hotel, board the coach and travel to the Hearth Designer Wreath Sale. Shop for beautiful holiday wreaths and tabletop decorations created by local designers, artists, gardeners and florists.

marbleNext, step through the doors of the Marble House, the “Summer Cottage” of Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt. The minute you walk in, the glitter of gold and the sparkle of silver will dazzle you. Dining tables set with period silver and china, Christmas trees reflecting the individual room décor, fresh flowers and thousands of poinsettias will transport you back to a bygone era! Each window is lit with an individual white candle, to keep with the colonial tradition.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” when you visit Bowen’s Wharf. With its brick walkways, granite quays and 18th century commercial wharf buildings, Bowen’s Wharf is one of the finest natural harbors in New England and is the anchor of Newport. Explore the unique shops all decked out for the holidays, and have lunch on your own.

After lunch, visit Seamen’s Church Institute. Founded in 1919, this institute’s mission is to provide men and women of the sea and people of the community a safe haven in which they may find comfort, recreation and benefit. It is here, during each holiday season, the locals come to write Christmas cards to the men and women serving our country overseas who cannot come home for the holidays. Join them and send a card filled with some holiday joy!

This afternoon, embark on a guided tour of the oldest Episcopal parish in the state. Trinity Church is a National Historic Landmark and was built in 1726. It is the only church in America today with a center-aisle, freestanding, triple-decker pulpit.

Now it’s time to walk off those Holiday treats! Late afternoon, join a local guide and embark on a walking Holiday Lantern tour. Hear the history of early American holiday traditions as you visit the exquisitely preserved neighborhoods of Newport’s Historic Hill.

Savor the flavors of New England fare served in a warm, elegant and charming historic building. Your dinner destination, The White Horse Tavern is the oldest continually operating tavern in the nation. Originally constructed in 1652, The White Horse Tavern, is where businessmen in the distilling industry would meet for meals and drinks while conducting trade negotiations.

breakerscarolersAfter dinner, visit The Breakers, the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages.” This mansion is a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Enjoy the music of the live symphony as you stroll through this magnificent house, decorated for the holiday season.  A working, garden scale model of the Vanderbilt family’s New York City Central Railroad will be on displayed. The train travels through a village made up of gingerbread replicas of the Newport Mansions, created by local pastry chefs. Light refreshments will be served.

Return to the hotel and “snuggle in bed with visions of mansions dancing in your head.”

 Day Four:

After breakfast, pack your bags and check out of the hotel. Before you depart Newport, visit St. Mary’s Church, Rhode Island’s oldest Roman Catholic parish. This Gothic Revival Church, featuring magnificent stained glass windows that were craft in Austria, is recognized as one of the most beautiful churches in New England. It is also where President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were wed.

Your last stop is at Thames Glass, where you may pick up your self-made glass ornament. Then, get ready to “Have yourself a merry little Christmas."

Detail

Available Early December, Thursday through Sunday

Tour Length: 4 Days/3 Nights

Your Package Includes:

  • 3 Nights Accommodations
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • Visit to Thames Glass including hands-on glassblowing session
  • Christmas Carol sing-a-long
  • Newport City tour with Mrs. Astor
  • Time to shop on Bannister’s Wharf
  • Visit of The Elms
  • Visit to Blithewold Mansion including High Tea
  • Gilded Age Christmas Cookie Decorating Contest
  • Private, Cotillion including a dance lesson
  • Time to visit the Annual Wreath Sale
  • Visit to the Marble House
  • Time to shop on Bowen’s Wharf
  • Time to write Christmas Cards to the men and women serving overseas
  • Guided tour of Trinity Church
  • Holiday Lantern Tour
  • Holiday Evening at The Breakers
  • Visit to St. Mary’s Church
  • Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per traveler
  • Accommodations and breakfasts for the coach driver
  • Taxes and gratuities (Note: Gratuities for the coach driver and local guides are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)

Pricing Information:

Call for custom pricing.