These “summer cottages” were no rustic cabins in the woods. They were 50- to 70-room estates with large stables, spacious lawns, gardens and greenhouses, immense palaces of marble, limestone and granite. Start with The Breakers, which just introduced a new family tour that describes a day in the life of a Vanderbilt child. Constructed in 1895 for railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, it took more than two years and a hundred workers to complete the building. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, he died three years after his dream house was finished.
Back on Bellevue, you’ll pass Chateau-sur-Mer, built for William Wetmore who amassed a fortune in the China trade, William and Alva Vanderbilt’s sumptuous Marble House, and Rosecliff, the famed mansion designed by the illustrious architect Stanford White in 1900 and seen in the film, “The Great Gatsby.” The Breakers and Marble House offer audio tours for families to view these amazing estates.