Newport: Gateway to the Gilded Age

Now I get why the Vanderbilts called their Bar Harbor dwellings “cottages.” Compared to the summer homes they built here in Newport, those shacks in Maine could barely be considered broom closets.

Today we toured both the Breakers and Marble House, two of the many homes owned by the Vanderbilt family. Both were built around the turn of the century and represent the height of the Gilded Age, when the ultra rich spared no expense in their quest to flaunt their wealth and imitate European royalty. These homes were nothing short of palatial. It's crazy to think that they were only used in July and August.

That marriage match game last night was something else. The host wanted one newlywed couple, one that had been together for at least 25 years, and one that had been together for at least 50 years. The latter two were easy, but for the newlywed category they had to settle for a couple that had been married for 16 years — tells you something about the crowd on this ship.

Anyway, the newlywed couple was Joe and Sandy from New Jersey. He apparently volunteered them for the game while she was in the restroom, and she was not at all happy to be up on stage. I mean not AT ALL happy. So naturally they provided most of the comedy. When the women left the room and the men were asked to describe what their wives were wearing, Joe thought for a minute and finally said, “She might be wearing a bra, but I'm not sure” (no). When the women were asked about their husband's worst habit, Sandy instantly blurted out, “Scratching his junk.” Classy.

We sail for New York tonight and fly home from LaGuardia tomorrow. Back to reality…