The Best Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Newport, RI


Nobody decked the halls like the Gilded Age’s 400. At the Newport Mansions,  grandeur lives on at The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House with newly imagined holiday décor on display through January 1. Thanks to dozens of volunteers who spent a month preparing, the historic homes are ornamented with 25 large Christmas trees, countless garlands, wreaths, and hundreds of live flowers (like poinsettias, lilies, azaleas, paperwhites, and mini-evergreens), on a scale of which the Vanderbilts and Berwinds would approve. New this year, professional event designers have created contemporary tablescapes at all three estates, so visitors can draw inspiration for decorating their own holiday tables.

Holiday magic is in full effect: the 15-foot poinsettia tree returns to The Breakers, accompanied by new nine-foot trees in the Vanderbilt family bedrooms. At The Elms, a cluster of angel-themed trees offers the perfect photo backdrop in the ballroom, and a collection of vintage holiday toys and Santas sparks our inner child in the basement kitchen. Marble House beckons with a 25-foot live tree decorated with white lights in front of the elevated driveway, leading to the opulence within.

Aside from the mansions’ cheer, Newport charms with its Christmas tree lighting on Bowen’s Wharf December 1, and you might just spot some decorated boats left over from the Holiday Harbor Lights Boat Parade in late November. Once you’ve soaked up all the twinkly magic, head to Clarke Cooke House to warm up with the homemade hot cider—served with a cinnamon stick and orange slice and spiked with dark Gosling’s rum, if it so strikes your fancy.