UNITED STATES - APRIL 23: The Elms mansion, designed by Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938), Newport, Rhode Island, United States of America. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

De Agostini/Getty Images

The Elms

Top choice in Newport

Designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1901, the Elms is a replica of Château d'Asnières, built near Paris in 1750. Here you can take a 'behind-the-scenes' tour that will have you snaking through the servants' quarters and up onto the roof. Along the way you'll learn about the activities of the army of servants and the architectural devices that kept them hidden from the view of those drinking port in the formal rooms.

Taking the regular tour in addition to the behind-the-scenes variant will give you the best idea of how a Newport mansion functioned, although it is exhausting. Contact the Preservation Society of Newport County for advance reservations. Discount tickets providing entry into multiple houses are available.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Newport attractions

2. Kingscote

0.25 MILES

An Elizabethan fantasy complete with Tiffany glass, Kingscote was Newport's first 'cottage' strictly for summer use, designed by Richard Upjohn in 1841…

3. Audrain Automobile Museum


Little kids and big kids alike ooh and ahh at Newport's original musuem of flashy cars, which from the outside looks like a luxury car dealership. A…

4. International Tennis Hall of Fame

0.34 MILES

To experience something of the American aristocracy's approach to 19th-century leisure, visit this museum. It lies inside the historic Newport Casino…

5. Whitehorne House Museum

0.42 MILES

A few decades ago, Colonial Newport was decaying and undervalued. Enter Doris Duke, who used her fortune to preserve many of the buildings that now…

6. Ochre Court

0.55 MILES

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt and built in 1892, Ochre Court offers a grand view of the sea from its soaring three-story hallway. Elsewhere you can find…

8. Redwood Athenaeum

0.58 MILES

Founded by Abraham Redwood in 1747 as an important archive of American history and architecture, this beautiful neoclassical library was designed and…