“Rough Point”, Newport, Rhode Island
During our visit to Newport, Rhode Island, we decided to tour the former “summer home” of Doris Duke, daughter of James Buchanan Duke, a wealthy American electricity and tobacco industrialist.Â The construction of the original “Rough Point” was completed in 1892 and served as a “summer home” for Frederick William Vanderbilt. Two wings were added by Mr. Duke after he purchased the home in 1922. His wife wanted more light and wanted more room for entertaining.
Doris Duke died in 1993 and the home is now owned and managed by the Newport Restoration Foundation which opened the home for public tours in 2000.
Photography is not permitted inside the building so I was feeling a bit constrained.Â THen, part way through the tour of the first room, the fire alarm went off, everyone was ushered outside onto the driveway and I got to photograph the Newport RI Engine Truck No.2 and crew in action.
False alarm, I guess! Possibly something related to the maintenance/construction work in the back.
We had to wait awhile before the “All Clear” signal was given and the tour was resumed. It was in interesting tour and I could imagine spending a month or two in a “summer house” like this, especially if I didn’t have to mow the lawn. Despite its 50+ rooms, it seemed to be just about the right size :-). In this respect, I had somewhat the same feeling when we visited the Vanderbilt Mansion on the shores of the Hudson River earlier this year.
I could probably even get used to having Bactrian Camels grazing my lawn or giving my groundskeeper or security guards a nip from time to time. The camels are no longer out grazing the lawn of Rough Point but two camels did do just that when Doris Duke was alive.Â The camels were included to gain closure on the sale of a Boeing 737 to Ms Duke and spent their summers at Rough Point when Ms Duke was in residence and their winters at Duke Farm in New Jersey. The topiary-like camels that are there now (pictured below) consist of a wire frame and various hardy, drought resistant sedums and look pretty real from a distance.
Once we had completed the tour of the inside of the home (sorry no pictures), I headed outside to take a look around the yard and gardens (and release the built-up stress that going an hour or so without pressing a shutter :-)).
The vegetable garden.
The rock garden
A view of the rear.
Photographed a few more things in Newport, RI before heading back out on the highway and on to Cape Cod.