The Asheville/Newport Connection


What Do These Towns Have in Common?

Here’s a working fisherman’s boat, hobnobbing with its bigger cousins, the cabin cruisers, the luxury boats in the harbor in Newport, Rhode Island.



People who hear we live in Rhode Island always say:  “Oh, I’ve been to Newport…” as if Newport defines Rhode Island.  Well, Newport (a city on Aquidneck Island) is a distinct entity in and of itself, whose reality defies the myth that ‘Folks are super-wealthy in this town.’  In other words, most of its residents are ordinary, working-class folks. 

Its mega-mansions are a reflection of that former era, when the Carnegie’s, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilt’s, the supposed Robber Barons of America  (who ironically don’t look so bad right now, considering their contributions to museums, galleries, and libraries) built ‘summer cottages’ along the Newport coastline that vie in size and grandeur with Asheville, North Carolina’s Biltmore House (“Largest” and “Most Visited Home in America,” still owned by the Vanderbilt’s).

Most Newport mansions are now open to the public and are considered historical markers. Some, too, continue as private residences, but they’re in the distinct minority, and some live by a sweet negotiation whereby some sections are open to the public, while other portions remain ‘private.’ 

Ticket sales offset the cost of maintenance and taxes.  The very rich determined it’s just too expensive to live in such opulence without affecting their bottom line.

But what does Newport have to do with Asheville?

The Vanderbilt family built both Marble House and the Breakers in Newport and Biltnore House in Asheville.  Both locations offer spectacular scenery–the mountains in one, the ocean in the other.

Below is a photo of Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina; the second is a nighttime shot of that house with luminaries at Christmas time (everyone’s favorite time to visit); and the third is a look at the library. 

Have you been to the homes in Newport and Asheville? (I’ll do a post on this town in the near future). Impressions?

And then, click on this link to discover the latest findings as to “Where Do the Uber-Rich Live” today?

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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