This past weekend was the last one of summer, and people in New York were buzzing with anticipation for the next three days. Barbeques and long nights out were discussed and solidified, and you could hear the sounds of excitement and anticipation everywhere as friends and family made their plans. I walked home after work on Friday night and felt the air change. Another season was soon to be over.
I didn't feel like staying around the city, so to fill my Sunday, I drove up to Rhode Island to visit The Breakers, which has been on my bucket list for some time. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893, the mansion was a summer getaway for the Vanderbilt family up until the Preservation Society of Newport County bought it in the 1970s. Today, its doors are open for tourists to explore the main house and grounds. Implicative of the Gilded Age, it reminds me of Downton Abbey, Pemberley Estate, and Jay Gatsby's West Egg residence rolled into one.
When I arrived, it was a hot, muggy, overcast afternoon but I actually preferred it that way. I think the sunshine would have masked the true nature of the house, which was created during an era of tremendous growth but also much suffering for the American people. Inside, I saw measures of progress with telephones, electrical outlets, intercom system, and flush toilets. I stood underneath the three-story foyer and marvelled at the grandiose fixtures, art, and decorations. It looked like a fairy tale.
But it was also used as a place of refuge to escape the impending doom of the stock market crash that would devastate the entire nation. Here, things were none the wiser while chaos ensued outside. I stood on the brink of the backyard cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and thought about what this place meant for the family when they were here during that time. Avoiding something only keeps it at bay for so long. Eventually, it catches up to you and when it does, sometimes it can be worse than what you imagined because it's been so prolonged.
When you are hurting, you try so hard to find a place that will make you feel good again. You're confused and disoriented because what you thought you knew isn't what it is anymore. I think that's why I've been desperate to travel these past few weeks because for me, the timeouts help get me out of my head. After The Breakers, I left Newport and went up farther north to Providence, where I walked around RISD and appreciated the local scenes and sights. I wanted to drink it all in before I had to go back home and face what I was running away from.