A few summers back I had a quick visit to Newport Rhode Island, a bit too quick! While I was able to do the infamous Cliff Walk, I didn’t have time to tour any of the mansions. Well, my life seems to be turbo charged, and yet again I found myself with a chance to briefly visit the Newport area. This time I had my heart set on visiting the quirkiest mansion in the area, Green Animals Topiary Garden [380 Corys Ln, Portsmouth, RI 02871].
While not technically in Newport the mansion is still on the general mansion tours ticket. The reason I wanted to visit this particular mansion wasn’t for the house itself (I’ve been on my fair share of historic home tours), but for the splendid garden! Yes the estate has some vibrant flowers,
but what makes a topiary garden special are the intricately carved Alice In Wonderland-like hedges. I giggled my way through the greens from giraffes to sailboats, swirls and jockeys, plus lions and bears…oh my!
This is the most northern and oldest of topiary gardens in the United States and it was a blast to stroll around. On a hot summer day we cooled down in the shade, feeling like kids on the adorable rocking chairs.
We made our way to the vegetable garden where slightly creepy manikin friends were waiting for us.
Wanting to see every last bit of the grounds I suggested a frolic on the great open grass of the front yard. There were more rocking chairs, a few little topiary delights, a solitary swing under a shady tree, and some adjacent railroad tracks.
I looked both ways and hopped across the tracks to get a better look at the glimmering Narragansett Bay. There was a little rocky beach with boat launch and a hiking trail just down the way if you’re looking to extend your day. We however, headed into the mansion to take a quick peek. A docent was outside and gave us brief history of the original owners.
Inside was typical to many other historic homes, beautiful period furnishing. Upstairs had a funky collection of antique dollhouses and paintings.
Maybe someday I’ll pass through Newport again and make it to The Breakers. Hold on to your ticket, it is good for a discounted price on another mansion and never expires!