I visited The Breakers, the most opulent of all the mansions,
I saved the Cliff Walk for Sunday morning. I wasn't sure how much of the walk I'd do because I read that some of it was challenging, and as there is no Cliff Walk Aptitude Test I'd have to evaluate in the moment what they meant by "challenging." The popular part of the walk is a sidewalk running along the edges of many of the famous mansions' enormous back lawns with the rough, rocky ocean on the other side.
|The easy part of the Cliff Walk|
|The Breakers, as seen from the Cliff Walk|
|breakers with a small 'b'|
It's gorgeous, really, and very popular with what seems to be locals and tourists alike. Some of the privately-owned mansions have erected fences to keep Cliff Walkers from gawking at their homes, but most of the rest are visible. There's also a university taking up residency in one of the mansions formerly owned by a titan of industry, now known as Salve Regina University. Their commencement was being held under a huge white tent adjacent to the Cliff Walk on my Sunday morning amble.
|The giant commencement tent is further down the walk.|
|That's not Bambi; that's a Newport dog with an impressive stick|
The boulders linked to more sidewalk, some gravel areas, and more boulders. Every now and then there would be a tunnel going under mansion property or a grandiose fence. It was such a unique and scenic walk!
One tunnel went under the Chinese Tea House which belongs to Marble House. This tea house was built for Alva Vanderbilt to hold her women's rights meetings, but now refreshments are sold there.
|The Chinese Tea House and the tunnel to the left|
I considered turning around when I got to Rough Point, a mansion built by Vanderbilts and eventually inherited by Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress, who died in 1992. It's now open for tours.
I started back. At one point I turned around to take in the vista I had just climbed down. Look for the tiny people near the top to get the scale of this (and the magnitude of my accomplishment):
But gosh, it was beautiful! It took me a couple days to recover from this exhilarating walk, but it was worth it! (And I did not have to be rescued.) Later I calculated that I walked/climbed about five miles which is my usual walk in the park, actually, but without boulders...