Board your mini-coach for a scenic drive to Rough Point, the magnificent English manor estate of famed heiress Doris Duke. Built by Frederick W. Vanderbilt in 1889 on a windswept promontory overlooking the Atlantic, Duke's father purchased the home in 1922 from the widow of railroad magnate William Leeds for less than $200,000. He spent an additional $700,000 enlarging the house to 105 magnificent rooms. Preserved with Duke’s original furnishings, the home showcases her extraordinary collection of European art, French furniture, Turkish carpets and Chinese artifacts. Among the treasures is a 15th century collection of Ming Dynasty porcelain, 16th century tapestries from Brussels, and a number of Gothic and Renaissance paintings.
Watch for the ivory inset side tables bearing the marks of Catherine the Great in the Yellow Room. Duke died in 1993, bequeathing Rough Point to the Newport Restoration Foundation, along with all clothing, jewelry, and furniture in the house. What sets this tour apart from the other Newport mansions is that until her death, Duke occupied the home so it still feels lived in and although grand, it maintains a feeling of hominess. At the completion of your tour, enjoy a scenic drive back to the tender pier.
Need to Know:
Note: This tour requires a minimum number of guests to participate in order to operate. Expect 1 1/2 hours of slow walking and standing while touring the house.