Newport Rhode Island is a famous and desirable destination. With its rich history of sailing and tennis, to its Gilded Age Mansions that line Bellevue Avenue, Newport has been a sought after vacation location for generations. Though the stately mansions of the Gilded Age are now museums, we have found an inn where you can experience the elegance of Newport without having to be a Vanderbilt.
The Hamilton Hoppin House also known as Villa 120 is a beautifully restored Italianate villa style mansion. Built in 1856, the house which is built in the wooden “stick style” is on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Richard Upjohn, a famous 19th Century architect who helped popularize the Italianate design in the United States. He was the founder of the American Institute of Architects, and designed many houses of worship and did extensive work in the Northeast including in the Hudson Valley. Italianate style is known for its square or rectangular design, a flat roof with an overhang supported by corbels, and large oversized first floor windows. All of those details are here, as well as a beautiful large covered front porch supported by arched columns.
As lovely as the grounds and exterior of the house are, when the front door swings open, you know immediately you are in a special place. The wide front hall runs from the front door to the back of the house. You have to stop and take in the high ceilings, the complex wood floor, and the beautiful staircase lined with rich millwork.
Three large rooms are found on the main floor including a dining room, the breakfast room and the music room. All are connected to the main hall by tall, grand hardwood double doors. The 8 bedrooms are located on the second and third floor of the mansion. As you ascend the stairs you will notice the stain glass window that illuminates the stair and hall. The second floor hall is wide and nearly as grand as the first floor.
We stayed in the Aquidneck room, which is named for the island on which Newport is located. The room is large and painted a soft relaxing shade of blue. Though renovated, the room still retains its historic charm with hardwood floors, and large windows with wooden shutters. The king size bed is lined with crisp white sheets and comfortable pillows that ensured a restful sleep. Modern touches included a renovated bath with shower, wi-fi, and a large screen tv with cable. A gas fireplace in the corner is the perfect romantic touch to this room.
Breakfast is included and the guests can gather on the first floor where coffee, tea, juice, muffins, fruit and other items are available. You can also order eggs and sausage if you so desire. The owner was present both days and entertained the guests with wonderful stories of the house, Newport and his own experiences. It made our breakfast very special.
The house is only a short 5 minute drive into downtown Newport. There you can park and explore the narrow historic streets lined with 200 year (and older) homes. There are also great shops, bars, music venues, and restaurants along Thames Street and down on the wharves. Of course Newport offers great scenery from a ride along Ocean Drive, to the famous Cliff Walk. As Newport becomes a destination for collector car enthusiasts with two car museums, and the success of Audrains Concours Motor Week, the demand for upscale lodging will be high. With ample parking and minutes from downtown, we can see the Hamilton Hoppin house being a future gathering place for auto enthusiasts.
Though the mansion is grand, it still is able to convey a special warm and intimate atmosphere. These qualities makes it the perfect spot for an event, a small wedding or just a romantic getaway. For a short time you can experience the history and grandeur of Newport by staying at the Hamilton Hoppin House.
The Hamilton Hoppin House (Villa 120)
20 Miantonomi Ave, Middletown, Newport, Rhode Island
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