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There’s controversy in Newport over an attempt to build a visitor’s center outside the opulent Breakers mansion – and it has some people in a tizzy:

(They’re) not happy now that the local preservation society, in the name of progress, has proposed a visitors center — with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and prepared food — on the grounds of the most visited mansion, the Breakers, where the Vanderbilt family’s carved oak dining room table could seat 34 and at least one daughter changed her outfit up to seven times a day.

OK, it sounds like a cute story, one that could only occur in Newport and among the remaining uber-rich still living in their Dowton Abbey fantasy world and calling their dads papa, etc.

But then you read that the proposed visitor’s center would actually be a “3,650-square-foot glass pavilion” with what sure sounds like a restaurant, not just a place for dispensing “prepared food.”

Suddenly, it’s not as simple a story as one might think.

Btw: Members of the Vanderbilt family still live in the “cottage.”

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Updated: January 2018

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