DINE WITH ALVA IN BELCOURT CASTLE
Tye’s Top Tour & Travel presents:
Lunch with Mrs. Tinny and Alva at Belcourt Castle


Join Judy Martin as Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt Belmont in “Let me set the record Straight” This witty hostess will delight you and answer all of your questions about life in the Gilded Age and the early days of the women’s movement to gain the right to vote, as you tour this estate. Learn about the social life and how divorce was unthinkable during this period. Remember that you will be an invited guest and must present your invitation upon entering. If you are not an invited quest then extra help is always needed in the kitchen.


Unique among the mansions of Newport, “Belcourt”, a Louis XIII style hunting lodge, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, “the Dean of American architects”. The sixty-room summer cottage cost 3 million dollars in 1894, a figure of approximately seventy-five million dollars in 2010. Three hundred skilled European craftsmen were employed in Belcourt’s creation between 1891 and 1894. In the original plan the mansion had one bedroom with bathroom, no guest rooms and no kitchen. There were sleeping quarters for thirty full-time servants. The entire first floor was devoted to a fine carriage collection and a stable with 30 luxurious stalls accommodating prized coaching horses
Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt Belmont
The hostess for Belcourt’s opening ball in 1895 was Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt, wife William Kissam Vanderbilt. In that same year, Alva organized the marriage of her daughter Consuelo Vanderbilt to the ninth Duke of Marlborough, and divorced Vanderbilt. In January 1896 Alva Vanderbilt became Mrs. Oliver Belmont, taking up summer residence as lady of the castle, favoring Belcourt over Marble House, her 11-million-dollar thirty-ninth birthday gift from Mr. Vanderbilt. After Oliver Belmont died in 1908, Mrs. Belmont became a generous patron of the arts, and donated large sums to hospitals. She organized the Political Equality Association and the National Women's Party convention in 1915. Her long and vigorous personal involvement- and monetary support - in the women's suffrage movement, both in England and America, was instrumental in getting the Federal statutes changed to allow women equal rights with men in government and business.

Hot Lunch and tour of Belcourt Castle included

In the afternoon before returning home we will visit Sweet Berry Farms for fresh baked scones, bumble berry jam and coffee. The products in the gift shop are sure to provide you with a unique souvenir.

Tye's  Top Tour & Travel, Inc.
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