The Breakers, the preeminent Gilded Age cottage, was alive with 550 people celebrating Coaching Weekend in Newport, R.I., at a dinner dance in honor of the Whips (coach drivers).
Guests of all ages enjoyed the beauty of the Great Hall during cocktails and dined on the terrace under an exquisitely decorated tent. The decor incorporated several Gilded Age elements, including palm fronds and fruits in the table centerpieces, signs of affluence during that period. Guests danced to the music of Bob Hardwick’s orchestra in the Great Hall, where ballroom classics gave way to pop dance favorites.
The party raised funds for The Preservation Society of Newport County.
Newport welcomed nine coaches, which were driven around Aquidneck Island with stops and lunches at several historic cottages, both private and public. Well over 1,000 people gathered on the lawn of The Elms Saturday to watch the demonstration of expert equestrian skills by the Whips. All enjoyed the wonderful pageantry of a past age with many people cheering along the routes as the coaches made their way through the town. Sunday’s drive included a turn through The Breakers and concluded with a lovely lunch at Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House.
Held every three years in Newport since 1968 – it was postponed last year because of the pandemic – Coaching Weekend is a cherished tradition which enables the community to appreciate the modern Sport of Coaching. It is the highlight of the Newport Summer Season.
Photographs by John E. Corbett/Courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County & David Thalmann.