The Beechwood Mansion, Newport, RI is located at 580 Bellevue Avenue in this southern New England island resort town only 40 minutes from Providence.
This former home to the Astor family is unique from many of the other mansion attractions in Newport as it features living history. A theatrical troupe staffs the Beechwood, clad in period dress and playing the part of servants and Newport elites from the Gilded Age.
Evening theatrical performances of formal plays are also held here. May through December visits to the house are accompanied by live music performed by the Beechwood Theater Company.
On winter and early spring tours, visitors are received as applying new staff members while in May through the summer, when the Astors are found at home, visitors arrive as their guests, a part of their elite social circle.
The Beechwood Mansion, Newport, RI was first constructed for a New York City merchant, Daniel Parrish. In 1881 William Backhouse Astor Jr. purchased the estate.
The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, was hired to re-make the mansion for two million dollars, a sizable fortune at that time, yet little for the vast Astor fortune. In 1911, John Astor IV married his second wife here in the Ballroom. He would later die on the Titanic though his wife Madeline, pregnant at the time, survived.
Children under 6 years old are admitted free of charge to this theatrical museum/mansion. Tours at varied times and days mean different interactive theater settings. Murder mystery and evening social parties are among the options for a mansion visit here. Even private parties of 30 to 60 to dine privately with the Astor family are among the menu of events to choose from in the summer months here.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea tours are all available for varying prices. They are only available for groups of 30 to 60 people however and not for walk in visitors.
Big Band Nights and Christmas concerts are also among the activities that can come with admission. Some of the special events throughout the year include wine and hors d'oevres with the price of admission.
The Beechwood Foundation, which functions out of the mansion, awards arts-related grants to local schools since it was founded in 2002. Free improvisational theater workshops are provided by this foundation to local schools.
The privately owned Beechwood Mansion, Newport, RI is also available for wedding ceremonies and receptions or corporate events. The mansion can provide its own wedding planning and events staff to assist in preparations.
In the colder months there are no tours on Mondays or Tuesdays. During the rest of the year the mansion opens seven days a week. Tours begin at 10 AM. Evening events begin at 7 PM although dinner parties with the Astors begin prior to these events.