The Breakers, Newport, RI, is located at 44 Ochre Point Road in this southern New England, island resort town. It is one of numerous historic landmark mansions that was built here at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th Century. It is located along the famed Ocean Drive or Ten Mile Drive winding tour of southern Newport and is just off the Sea Cliffs walkway.
This mansion was the Vanderbilt family's summer cottage. In 2009, a new tour of this site was launched after ten years of research around the house. This tour and other mansion tours are run individually or in multiple site packages by the Newport County Preservation Society which own this and 10 other local sites.
The Preservation Society was granted funds by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2003 in order to convene a panel of scholars to study the various aspects of the Breakers. This led to the recently changed tour which includes an audio tour option.
The Breakers, Newport, RI, was commissioned for construction by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, inheritor of the Vanderbilt railway fortune in 1893, after the wooden house on this site he had purchased previously had burned to the ground. Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the Italian renaissance mansion, styling it after 16th Century palaces. Allard and Sons of Paris provided furniture and adornments. Sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculptures and the Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family living areas and bedrooms.
In 1948 then owner Countess Gladys Scechecnyi, a Vanderbilt descendant allowed the house to be opened to the public to raise funds for the Preservation Society. The Society has owned the house and its Estate since 1972.
The Breakers, Newport, RI, and other Preservation Society sites admit children under 6 free of charge. This mansion is open to the public daily throughout the year, with extended hours in the summer months.
The Stable and Carriage House here are only open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is also open daily from August 17 to 21. Entry is granted with admission to any of the various mansions under the management of the Preservation Society.
The Breakers is wheelchair accessible. Strollers however are not permitted in the mansion. There is parking available.
A tour of the property requires approximately 90 minutes of time. Tours are available in several languages upon request at arrival. No advance reservations are necessary or accepted. Still and video personal photography are permitted on the grounds and of the exterior but not inside of this mansion. No commercial photography is allowed without prior consent in writing.
In September an Annual Food and Wine Festival is held at the mansions which includes and evening of drinking and dining in the extravagant atmosphere of this site.