Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Peeking into Houses

I have always loved exploring houses, whether they belong to family and friends or complete strangers present or past. There is something about peeking into rooms where people live their daily lives that fascinates me. I try to imagine how they use the rooms, what they do in there, who they spend the time with, what their decor inspiration was. Most of all, I think I like to imagine how I would live in that space.

So, when The Travel Belles asked today what my favorite museum is, I knew immediately.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
(Sorry for the awful picture quality.) This is The Breakers mansion in Newport, RI -- a place I visited many times throughout my childhood. As a kid, I always told my parents that someday I would live in The Breakers, not understanding the hold the Historical Society of Newport has on the place.

This was the summer "cottage" (yes, that is what these monstrousities were called) of the Vanderbilts back at the turn of the 20th century. They would travel from New York City up to Newport in the summer months to relax and socialize with all of their fellow New York elites. I can't remember how many rooms are in this residence, but suffice to say, it's a lot, including rooms with gold-leaf accents. Oh, and let's not forget the life-size doll house for the young Vanderbilts or the carriage house down the street. The myriad of acreage is astounding (what did they do without ride-on mowers, let along gas-powered mowers???), and the backyard overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, where the waves break on the rocks far below (hence The Breakers).

If you are ever in Newport, I highly recommend visiting The Breakers and a few of the other mansions down there. The admission can be pricey, but I like to think of it as my contribution to preserving these giant pieces of American history. They also did away with the live tours -- tour guides always have unique and interesting stories to share on their tours -- in favor of a self-guided audio tour, but still check it out.

While this is probably my favorite because it's so local, I love these types of museums anywhere I go. When I visited Key West, FL, for a day on a cruise, the one item on my must-see list was Heminway's house, and it was amazing.

Do you like to peek into other people's homes -- past or present -- and imagine how they live? What's your favorite museum?

3 comments:

Kristin said...

A life size doll house? That's enough to make me want to visit it!

Ocean Dreams said...

I definitely love touring homes and this "cottage" looks lovely. There's a castle in Northern CA that I really want to see called Hurst Castle. There are always new places and adventures to be found!

Holly said...

i should check out the ones around here, for some reason ive never dont much of this!