Newport has been many things to many people over the years, but most famously, it was the summer playground for many of America’s wealthiest and most prominent families during the Gilded Age. A poignant reminder of this period of American history are the mansions that are visited by droves of tourists each year. Newport’s historic mansions are easily considered to be the top attraction in Newport. There’s another, perhaps lesser known, but still just as beautiful, historic home worth touring the next time you’re in Newport. Belcourt of Newport, which in recent years underwent dramatic restorations, is a beautiful reminder of Newport’s storied history. Book your room at our Newport Bed and Breakfast today, and step back in time to one of America’s most opulent periods of history in Newport.
Tour Belcourt of Newport
Belcourt of Newport, formerly called Belcourt Castle, was built in the 1890’s by architect Richard Morris Hunt, and is an extraordinary example of Gilded Age architecture. Tours of Belcourt Castle began again in May, 2017, after extensive renovations. These 45-minute tours are available by reservation only, and take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10AM.
Belcourt of Newport’s history hasn’t always been so nice, though. Throughout it’s tumultuous history of owners, Belcourt served as a failed auto-museum, an unpopular host to the Newport Jazz Festival, and, most recently, a Gilded-Age pastiche, filled with garish decorations. The house was rented out for ghost tours and parties, many of which displeased the neighbors. In the late 1990’s, it was even at the center of a very public family-feud. It was at this point that the house fell into a state of disrepair, and several years later was purchased by now-owner Carolyn Rafaelian, of Alex and Ani fame.
Though the restoration work still isn’t completed, some of the things accomplished so far include revamping the library, adding solar paneling to the roof, and restoring Alva Vanderbilt’s bedroom to its Gilded Age glory. Once finished, Belcourt of Newport is intended to be a history museum, and a tribute to Alva Vanderbilt, who spent much of her life and fortune fighting for women’s rights. You can follow along the restoration process online with Belcourt of Newport’s Webseries.
Next time you’re in Newport, consider scheduling a tour of this incredible building. We’re happy to help you make the most out of your time in Newport. Book a room at our historic Inn today, and come see why we’re rated the #1 Bed and Breakfast in Newport!