Hi friends, welcome back to the conclusion of our time in Newport, Rhode Island! Our last mansion of the trip was the Chateau-sur-Mer, “Castle by the Sea” in French, and we didn’t love this tour. There was no interior audio guide, only a guide of all the trees and plants on the property, so we went through pretty quickly. This Chateau was a family home and lived in year-round unlike most of the Gilded Age mansions.
This Chateau was built in 1852 and was the original mansion in Newport. It was built for William Shepard Wetmore, a China trade merchant. The home features a lot of porcelain and artifacts from his time in China displayed around the house. William was worth about $1 million ($36M in todays dollars) when he died in 1862. Compared to his future neighbors, that was a relatively modest sum.
William left the house and fortune to his son George and daughter Edith. While George and his wife were on a trip to Europe, the entire home was remodeled by architect Richard Morris Hunt (same architect as Breakers and Marble House). He added a new three-story wing, moved the entrance to the side, added a porte-cochere, and added the four-story tower.
The Great Hall is 45 feet tall and the balconies overlooking are pretty neat. We went on an overcast day and it just felt dark and dreary inside compared to other homes we toured.
This room with the marble flooring was the original entrance, but they removed the doors and put in a bay window.
George went on to be the governor of Rhode Island and a US Senator before passing away and leaving the house to his two daughters who never married. They sold the house to the Preservation Society in 1969 and it became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
We went to Fort Adams afterwards and it was a bust. It was really hot, so that didn’t help with us wanting to walk around, but you couldn’t go in anything so it didn’t seem worth the small cost of admission. If it wasn’t so hot a guided tour would’ve been a much better option.
I did love the views of the harbor though.
We then drove around the iconic Ocean Drive in the nice a/c admiring the ocean views and beautiful homes.
We stopped along the side of the road to get some pictures and I didn’t know it at the time, but we caught glimpses of Jay Leno’s recently purchased home.
We ended our trip with a delicious dinner at Thames Street Kitchen. We were seated at the bar and it was fun watching the chefs preparing each dish. I ordered the Rose and Jon picked the Rhode Island iced tea (black tea infused rum, avua ambruana, peach, lemon, mint). Cheers to a wonderful and relaxing vacation!
We shared the ravioli, fluke crudo, and warm bread with cacio e pepe butter for appetizers and they all tasted delicious. The warm bread dipped in the ravioli sauce was excellent! I ordered the seared tuna with snap peas, mustard greens, and yuzu vinaigrette and it tasted so fresh and delicious! I eat raw tuna in sushi/sashimi, but I rarely order it out. I need to change that.
Jon opted for the pork belly with coco beans, pork fat mojo, and bruleed orange. I had a bite and it was so tender and flavorful!
For dessert we got a chocolate mousse type creation that was the perfect finishing touch. We ended the night sitting on a bench overlooking the harbor and soaking in every last minute of vacation.
In the morning we grabbed massive coffees from Nitro Bar, and they were delicious! I got a caramel latte and Jon got a basic cold brew. They made the drive home a little better. We beat all the traffic and had the rest of the day to do laundry, grocery shop, and get organized. We even saw the Macy’s Fireworks form our living room and listened to the broadcast on Tv. It was the perfect fourth of July weekend!
I hope you enjoyed this series! I highly recommend spending a long weekend in Newport in the summer. It was a relaxing trip that we didn’t feel like we needed a vacation from. Hopefully one day I’ll make it back to see the homes decorated for Christmas 🙂
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25 thoughts on “Newport, Rhode Island – Chateau Sur Mer, Fort Adams, & Ocean Drive”
That’s too bad it was so hot when you tried touring Fort Adams; we went one October for a homeschooling field trip with my sister, her kids, and some friends of ours and did the guided tour option. It was decorated for a Halloween theme they had and we got so freaked out in the tunnels– it’s so pitch black down there that we wondered how they saw where they were going without getting lost! If you’re ever back there in the summer there are a few boat cruises we’ve taken too that were amazing and taught us a lot about the history of the area and the various homes you can see from the harbor.
That would be creepy around Halloween! It seems like it could be a very good haunted house. I’ll have to visit the fort another time, Mabye the morning would’ve been better. A boat cruise sounds nice too, I always love being out on the water. Now I’ve got a few reasons to go back 🙂
This has been an enjoyable trip! Thanks for taking us with you! 🙂
So glad you enjoyed!!
I did!! 🙂
Too bad about the final tours. There will always be one underwhelming experience on vacation it seems, one where you say, why did’nt we see this one first and the better ones last. It does look like a great trip and how cool is that to see the fireworks from your front window. Thanks for sharing your trip Lyssy. Allan
I usually save the best for last, but not the case here. We had extra time so figured why not look around. It was a great, relaxing trip for sure! There is a restaurant & bar on the top floor of our building and they were charing $250 to watch the fireworks up there with “light snacks” and no drinks included. I’ll take the free view 20 floors below…
Thanks for sharing all the photos.
I’m sorry the last one wasn’t as intriguing as the others, but I enjoyed seeing your pictures. As a collector (hoarder-LOL) of dishes, I would be particulary interested in the china cabinets and their contents. I also find it interesting that the owner’s daughters never married. Newport is definitely on our list, so I’m saving your posts for future reference.
It’s amazing how many dishes they had! It seems they had one for every day of the summer they were there. Haha dishes are fun to collect, especially all the cute cocktail cups and seasonal plates. I hope you make it to Newport soon so I can relive the memories through your blog 🙂
After reading this wonderful series on Newport I definitely want to visit sometime and tour the gilded mansions like you. Thanks so much Lyssy for bringing Rhode Island to my attention and have a great weekend.
So glad you enjoyed reading about Newport, hope you can visit soon! Hope you have a great weekend too 🙂
It’s too bad that there wasn’t an audio guide for Chateau Sur Mer to learn more about the property as it looks very beautiful. The views of the harbour look lovely. I can’t imagine what it would be like to own one of those properties along Ocean Drive.
Maybe one day they will make an audioguide because they are really helpful. It would be a dream to own one of those properties and wake up to those views every day! Sitting on a nice patio with a cup of coffee and harbor views sounds like my kind of morning.
I’ve never had New Port on my travel wish list but seeing from your post how much there is to see and do, I would love to explore it one day. Especially to go on Ocean Drive and experience the life of high society in turn-of-the-century America inside the meticulously maintained former summer “cottages” of America’s wealthiest. Thanks for sharing and have a great day 🙂 Aiva xx
I hope you can explore Newport one day, it’s a wonderful town with so much to explore. It is so fun to see how the uber wealthy spent their summers and imagining what it was like. Hope you have a great weekend Aiva!
Thanks for sharing your outing. Such an amazing site..we should visit there sometime soon. Anita
This is such a beautiful and elegant chateau, and I love the beautiful rich tones and designs in it! It is also neat that it was lived in all through the year.
It’s a shame about Fort Adams, but at least you got to visit Chateau-sur-Mer, which is absolutely stunning. I’d love to have a wonder inside; it looks so grand.
It sounds like a mixed last day – the mansion still looks beautiful, but I can see why you didn’t enjoy it as much as the others and Fort William being a bust sucks. On the plus side the harbour views (and Jay Leno’s house) look amazing!
This house sure looks quite different from the other ones, even though it obviously belonged to a rich person, it is definitely not as much “out there” as some others of your series! The views from the Ocean Drive are soo beautiful too! I loved discovering these places so thanks for taking us along!
Another fine mansion with a solid history and well-to-do occupants. The wooden cabinets of crockery is mad, which plate to choose for one’s dinner? Sorry to hear about Fort Adam though the drive looked pretty cool. And of course the food… of the food. I would devour that Pork Belly plate and probably consider ordering another.
I’ve been to Newport on a two day trip, but it was winter. I did not make it up to the mansions. It is a beautiful area.
I’m as disappointed as you in Chateau-sur-Mer, Lyssy. I love this style of architecture – especially the mansard roofs – and your first photo of the exterior suggested much lighter, grander spaces than you found inside. I did like the painted treatment of the underside of the staircase (never seen that before), and the ceiling treatments above the landings. The china collection is impressive and displayed nicely. Otherwise, not much to look at, at least compared to the mansions you’ve already shared.
The views of the harbor made the visit to Fort Adams worthwhile (at least to your readers – ha). And perfect Newport entree choice in the seared tuna!