Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age was the beginning of the era in which the Untied States was becoming an economic powerhouse. During the 1880s, robber barons, who characterized this period,  built some of the most magnificent summer homes in Newport, Rhode Island. Their goal was to show off their new wealth. It became a competition among this handful of tight-knit families. These abodes are not the McMansions of our age. The Newport residences are the real things....true American castles.

While these families no longer own or oversee these homes, what these people left us with is some of the most enchanting architectural treasures found in the USA. If you are awed by runaway opulence, self-indulgence and royalty level crash pads then this is the tour for you. 

The Gilded Age is the era written about in the novels of Edith Wharton.  She wrote as much about her society's opulent wealth, as she castigated them for their rules, their machinations and their hypocrisy. You can see one of her novels transformed onto the big screen by Martin Scorsese in the movie The Age of Innocence.

Perhaps instead of the Gilded Age, history should really call this the Age of the Gilded Birdcage.

There really is nothing like the present for women of the western democratic world. Think how lucky we are to be in the here and now. No matter how magnificent those houses happened to be, it's not what the walls projected, but in reality its what happened inside those walls, when the doors were closed, that counted.

Qi en Pace,


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