JUNE 2-6, 2024 (SUNDAY - THURSDAY)
Join Champlain Tours as we travel back to the Gilded Age! Mrs. Astor herself will show you what it takes to be a member of New York society in the 1880’s. Play a social game of croquette, learn how to prepare for a debutante ball, and the proper etiquette for luncheon. Visit the filming locations of the popular TV series The Gilded Age by Downton Abbey’s Julien Fellow’s. The authentic scenery for this historic drama was filmed at The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, and Chateau-Ser-Mer. The Gilded Age tells the story of “old money” New York elites and their escalating feud with nouveau riche neighbors who threatened the establish social order.
Premier Motor Coach transportation
4 nights Hotel lodging
Highlights: Guided tour by local historian portraying Carolyn Aster, dining etiquette demonstrations, Luncheon & 18th century etiquette of a Cotillion dance, Newport Harbor Bay Cruise, and more! All admissions: statsburgh State Historic Sight, Vanderbilt Mansion, Lyndhurst Mansion, Château-Sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House, Blithewld
10 meals (4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners)
Full-time tour manager companion
Gratuities (tour manager, driver)
Lunch on day 1 & 2
DAY 1 (SUNDAY) -
Travel to Vanderbilt Mansion, Poughkeepsie, NY Begin your “Gilded Age” adventure with an early morning departure. Following the final local pick-up point depart by private motorcoach and travel to Staatsburgh State Historic Site & Museum overlooking the Hudson River. Experience what it was like to be a servant in the 1880’s and prepare the dining room for a formal dinner. Stops will be included along the way for a morning, afternoon, and lunch break.
Before arriving at our overnight hotel accommodation, (Hampton Inn, or similar) in the Tarrytown area of New York, enjoy a guided tour of the 50-room, classic style Vanderbilt Mansion, built in 1898. Step back into the 19th century and completely immerse yourself in a world of luxury and affluence.
Following an included dinner, the remainder of the evening is at your leisure. (D)
DAY 2 (MONDAY) -
Continue our journey to Newport, RI After a hearty breakfast served at the hotel, check out and as we travel toward Newport, RI our first stop of the day will be at Lyndhurst Mansion.
Lyndhurst’s story began before the gilded age had even begun, however a large portion of its history was defined by its gilded age owners and the society they lived in. In season one of HBO’s The Gilded Age, the Lyndhurst lawns and grounds were used and doubled as Central Park, and the Carriage House was transformed into The New York Globe newspaper offices! Off topic, the Lyndhurst Mansion was used in the series Dark Shadows, and more recently the home of the Westminster Dog Show.
Following lunch on your own we will continue our route to Newport, Rhode Island. After checking in to your deluxe hotel accommodation for the next three nights, there will be time to refresh before an included 3-course dinner near the hotel. (B, D)
DAY 3 (TUESDAY) -
Time to Meet Mrs. Astor Following breakfast served at the hotel it will be time to meet our costumed guide for the next few days - Mrs. Caroline Astor, the Grande Dame of Newport and New York Society and the head of “The 400.” Her ballroom could only accommodate 400 guests; therefore, no one else was worth knowing in society. Mrs. Astor will guide you through 18th Century Newport where you will see centuries old architecture, Bellevue Avenue’s historic Gilded Age “cottages” and many locations where the series “The Gilded Age” was filmed.
We’ll continue our travels through the Gilded Age with a tour of Chateau-sur-Mer, one of the first grand Bellevue Avenue mansions of the Gilded Age in Newport. A landmark of High Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. It was the most palatial residence in Newport from its completion in 1852 until the appearance of the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s. It was the scene of memorable entertainments, from the "Fete Champetre," an elaborate country picnic for more than 2,000 guests held in 1857, to the debutante ball for Miss Edith Wetmore in 1889.
Savor your included lunch at one of Newport’s historic restaurant venue’s which has long been a premier choice for social gatherings through the years.
“Anyone for Croquet”? Learn the art of Croquet before traveling to The Elms where the kitchen was featured many times in the hit TV show. The Elms and gardens were the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d'Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.
Return to the hotel and following time to refresh, dinner is on your own on the Newport waterfront where you will find some of the best restaurants, cafes, and casual eateries in the area. (B, L)
DAY 4 (WEDNESDAY) -
Visit the “Summer Cottage” of Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt Following a leisurely breakfast enjoy the pleasure of “Mrs. Astor’s’ company for the next eight hours where she will continue to enlighten us on the fascinating stories of the people who lived and worked in these grand houses!
Board the motorcoach and travel the short distance to The Marble House, the “Summer Cottage” of Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt, and an important social and architectural landmark of Newport society. Mrs. Vanderbilt and her daughter, Consuelo who had married the British Duke of Marlborough of Blenheim Palace, was one of the newest additions to Mrs. Astor’s “400”. Blenheim Palace is just north of Highclere Castle, the film site of Downton Abbey and sequel to The Gilded Age.
Continuing our journey through this opulent time, our next destination is The Breakers, the grandest of the Newport Cottages and summer home for one of the richest men in America, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Breakers was everything a millionaire of the Gilded Age could want in a summer getaway. A classic Italian palazzo design, the finest American and European craftsmanship, views of the sea, and modern technology combined to make the ideal setting for luxurious living and entertaining.
Board the motorcoach and travel to an included lunch served at a local upscale, but casual venue overlooking Easton’s Beach where musicians will play softly in the background. Gentlemen - don’t forget your white scarf or boutonniere. Ladies, your tiara and pearls as you will learn the 18th century etiquette of a Cotillion dance, acceptable dress code, proper patterns of speech and movement of body by “Mrs. Astor herself”!
Next, travel the short distance to the harbor and relax and enjoy your narrated cruise along the Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor. View the mansions from another prospective as you revel in the panoramas of the bay and the fresh sea breezes while sipping on your favorite drink.
There will be time to freshen up before you gather with your travel family for your included Farewell Dinner in one of Newport’s historic, premier restaurants. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 (THURSDAY) -
Head home Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out and preparing for your journey home. On route we will make a stop at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Estate for a guided tour and early lunch. A fusion of architecture, landscape architecture, horticulture, and decorative arts, Blithewold is among the few late 19th and early 20th century New England estates that retain their integrity and authenticity down to the details of plant materials and interior furnishings.
In the gilded day and age when summer “cottages” were seldom lived in…and showcases of their owners’ wealth and importance in society, Blithewold was instead, a home – grand and luxurious to be sure – but lived in throughout the summer and other holidays and thoroughly enjoyed.
The grounds were designed to create a varied landscape that was very useful in terms of their leisure activities and pleasure. Because of the owner’s interest in horticulture, an arboretum and gardens were cultivated and because of their love of the site, the views were preserved and enhanced. The lawns were part of the package and served to knit the different landscape elements together.
Following your included luncheon, continue your journey and take home all the memories of the Gilded Age and what is what like to be an Astor and Vanderbilt! (B, L)
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Receive your travel packet with all your travel details 1-2 weeks prior to departure.
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