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Friday, October 30th, 2009

Oakwood – where history and elegance combine

Oakwood, Rhode IslandAmerica’s East Coast has traditionally displayed more European influence than any other part of the country and this cultural link is particularly obvious in the beautiful country estates that characterise this quiet, refined corner of the world.

Perhaps the most prestigious is the Oakwood estate in Newport, Rhode Island; an historic property that dates to the immediate post-Civil War period when it was owned by Mary Alida Astor, daughter of William Blackhouse Astor.

Yet this is not a place inconvenienced by its illustrious past, as are so many nineteenth century buildings that have failed to match the expectations of modern living. A ballroom has been converted into a generously proportioned living area and air-conditioning has been installed throughout. Oakwood has all the charm and glamour that one might demand of a country estate coupled with the ease and comfort that might be anticipated of a much newer property.

Oakwood’s quality is evident even from the entrance gates, adorned with gold leaf, stained glass and illuminated by coach lights. The exterior of this Italianate mansion is a work of art, but the interior is even more enticing. The 24 rooms include seven family bedrooms, one of which features a large bedroom, two dressing rooms and two bathrooms. The dining room is a living example of baronial splendour, from the sheer scale of the room to the magnificent tapestries that lend the space an air of European grandeur.

Oakwood, Rhode IslandFully renovated in 2006, Oakwood’s attractive features are too numerous to mention, but a few outstanding touches are the gourmet kitchen complete with butler’s pantry, which has the capacity to cope with the most elaborate dinner party or the largest of garden parties, a beautiful conservatory, an elegant study complete with bay window and a spacious family room that is situated next door to a home cinema.

Oakwood stands on six acres of land, more than enough space to comfortably contain a circular woodland trail, a lawn tennis court, croquet lawn, ornamental fountains, a reflecting pool, a six-hole PGA-standard putting green and a fabulous mosaic swimming pool with slate patio surround.

One of America’s most iconic properties, Oakwood has been featured in Architectural Digest and is currently on the market. Owned until 2004 by British businessman Peter de Savary, its current owner is a Pennsylvania-based property developer, who hopes that this grand old lady of Rhode Island will attract an appreciative new chatelaine.

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