Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marboo House

We visited Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island this weekend. I've written about it before:
The Greatest View In The World. It was a fine fall day; the sky had that pure blue look to it, with clouds in the most delicate shades of warm gray drifting languidly past. The summer's humidity has cleared out, and lends an air of crispness to long views normally partially obscured in a faint haze. The neighbor's Italianate cottage showed off the sunshine well.

At the gate:
Somewhere along the line someone lost interest in the place, and paved the circular drive up by the house with barbarous bituminous asphalt, and impressed brick shapes into it. It's amazing to see something so shabby next to such a stone confection. But then again, your average dry-cleaning magnate has more money and a bigger house these days than your odd Vanderbilt. The trees are very old, and very fine, though.

It's got your standard turn-of -the-20th-century/Beverly Hillbillies/White House/Neoclassical thang going on:

Any Roman would recognize this view:

It's the back yard that's got the real view:

And the Japanese Teahouse to take advantage of it:

There's a walk along the ocean there. They've put a barbed wire topped chain link fence along it to keep the riff-raff out of the palaces. I might be riff-raff, but I know better than to put barbed wire chain link anything anywhere that's supposed to a serene view. Better to skip it than ruin it. The interior version of barb wire was the replacement of the human docent with a headphone tour. Anyone that would wear headphones as a form of relaxation is... not me and my wife, anyway. We just wandered around and looked at things. It was far better, really. We know what everything is, mostly, anyway.

And of course: The Simpsons:


Anonymous said...


I went to a party there and it was very nice but I like your house better.


SippicanCottage said...


Aibhilin is my honorary niece.

Anonymous said...

I see by your 11/05 post that you return to that bedroom in the Marble House and try to catch a glimpse of your favorite view again. I also see that you know it won't happen again. I have an uncle who lives outside of Newport, and I go to one of the historical society's mansions and do the ocean drive at least every Thanksgiving. But I'll never forget the 1st one of those mansions I went into: the Elms. I was mystified by it for some reason. To this day it remains my favorite, and it's not even on the ocean front. The last person to live in the Elms (Julia Berwyn?) lived there into the 1960s, and when little kids used to play on the grounds, she'd have her butler bring them out cookies and milk. The fact that it was the first "Newport Cottage" I'd ever seen, coupled with the image of kids getting cookies and milk from a tasked butler long after the demise of the gilded age, makes none of the other mansions out there stack up in my mind, even though several of them are technically more marvelous homes.


SippicanCottage said...

bob: I see by your 11/05 post that you return to that bedroom in the Marble House and try to catch a glimpse of your favorite view again. I also see that you know it won't happen again.

Bingo. Window closed. Curtain drawn.

Ralph said...

Looks like they cleaned the mildew off the front columns. It's been owned by the historical society since the 60's--no doubt they repaved the drive cheaply.

My dad went to Navy War College there when I was 5, and I never went back 'til I was 40. I didn't remember the big houses, the Sound, or the town, but I immediately recognized the feel of the streets around the big houses.