10 Best Historic Hideaways of the Ultra Rich

  • Flagler College: St. Augustine, Florida

    Originally constructed by Henry Flagler as a hotel for the wealthy industrialists who flocked to St Augustine in the winter, Flagler College still speaks to its illustrious past.  A private tour reveals ornate dining rooms, oversized chandeliers, marble fireplaces, life-size oil portraits and many other accoutrements of the good life.

    Photo courtesy of manicmaya

  • Dining Room at The Breakers in Palm Beach

    The Breakers: Palm Beach, Florida

    During America's Gilded Age (from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the turn of the twentieth century), wealthy industrialists enjoyed recreational pursuits at a level most of us can't even imagine. Railroad tycoon Henry Flagler opened The Breakers under the name The Palm Beach Inn in 1896. Guests of his hotel were carried from place to place within the resort on chairs carried by servants.

    Photo courtesy of amanderson2

  • Jekyll Island, GA: Playground of the Wealthy

    Christophe du Bignon and his family ran a plantation on Jekyll Island in 1792. In 1888, his son Henri and his brothers opened the Jekyll Island Club, an ultra-exclusive winter getaway for only the wealthiest Americans. Each January from 1888 to 1942, club members (limited to 100) visited the island for biking, hunting, tennis and sun bathing, activities modern families enjoy on Jekyll Island to this day.

    Photo courtesy of pwbaker

  • Breakers Mansion

    Newport, RI: Where "Cottages" are Mansions

    During the Gilded Age, wealthy southern plantation owners began constructing extravagant summer "cottages" in Newport where they could escape the oppressive heat of the South. The town soon became a prime location for the wealthy to spend their summers, with families like the Vanderbilts summering here.

    Photo courtesy of Clara S

  • Hyde Park, NY: Another Vanderbilt Home

    The Vanderbilt family certainly didn't limit themselves to a single home. Another of their estates, this one located in Hyde Park, New York, is one of the oldest Hudson River estates still standing. Louise Vanderbilt's bedroom at the Hyde Park estate was modeled after Marie Antoinette's quarters at the palace of Versailles in France.

    Photo courtesy of westher

  • Anemone Cave Cottage

    Mount Desert Island: Vanderbilts, DuPonts, Morgans, Astors

    The town of Bar Harbor was once known as Eden, and that's exactly what it was for the wealthy aristocrats who summered in nearby Mount Desert Island. The du Ponts, Vanderbilts, Drexels and Rockefellers all had mansions here. In fact, John D. Rockefeller Jr. established a series of gravel paths for horse-drawn carriages to keep automobiles off the island. You can still find these paths in what is now Acadia National Park.

    Photo courtesy of InAweOfGod'sCreation

  • Biltmore House: George Vanderbilt's Ultimate Guest House

    Asheville's Biltmore Estate is perhaps the most extravagant vacation home ever built. George Vanderbilt designed the chateau as a country retreat where he could relax with family and friends. The immense structure contains 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, 43 bathrooms and a basement with a swimming pool, bowling alley and gymnasium.

    Photo courtesy of Michael

  • The Sagamore: Luxe Lodge on NY's Lake George

    Over one hundred years ago, when hotel operator Myron O. Brown sought to build an exclusive resort community on Lake George in the Adirondacks, he looked for support from four Philadelphia millionaires who were summer residents of the area. The result was the Sagamore, a luxury hotel first opened in 1883 and quickly became a major social center for wealthy residents of the area. 

    Photo courtesy of Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia

  • Nemours Mansion: The Ultimate Wedding Gift

    Alfred l. duPont built Nemours Mansion for his wife, Alicia after their marriage in 1907. Talk about an expensive wedding gift! The 300-acre estate in Wilmington, Delaware includes the chateau-style mansion with more than 70 rooms inside. A guided tour through the estate reveals just how extravagantly the residents lived, as the crystal chandeliers, tapestries, precious works of art and antique furniture demonstrate.

    Photo courtesy of Esther Westerveld

  • Viscaya: Deering's Miami Retreat

    Vizcaya in Miami was once the winter residence of James Deering, vice president of the International Harvester Company. The 34-room home was designed to look like an Italian estate, and more than 1,000 workers were employed to build it.

    Photo courtesy of tiswango