Coaching Ball a Gilded Age Evening at The Breakers


In the evening, the wrought iron gates at the entrance to The Breakers,

Cornelius Vanderbilt's iconic Newport mansion, each of which weighs about five thousand pounds, opened to admit five hundred fifty  guests from the U.S. and United Kingdom,  who arrived in black-tie attire for an evening of dinner and dancing. Guests disembarked from their modern-day coaches at the porte cochere and were greeted in the foyer by the evening’s hostesses, Mrs. David B. (Pamela) Ford, Mrs. Mark (Leslie) Hull, Mrs. David J. (Beverly) Little, Mrs. Brian (Pamela) Ross Owens, and Mrs. Guy F.C. (Mary) Van Pelt.


In the great room, guests greeted each other warmly and admired the splendor of their surroundings. While sampling hors d’oeuvres  some attendees took up dancing in the music room, and others gathered in the main hall and in the loggia. Outside, a tent was set for dining (chilled summer corn velouté with lobster medallions and filet mignon were two of the evening’s offerings), and soaring bouquet centerpieces and trees strewn with lights that cast a pattern of gnarled branches onto the canopied roof added an enchanted feel.


Co-chairs Leslie Hull, Mary Van Pelt, Pamela Owens, Pamela Ford & Beverly Little

The elegant event, which is hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport County to honor the “whips” visiting Newport, is a great favorite, and it caps off a weekend that features Coach and Four demonstrations and parades through the city and a bevy of private dinner parties.


After dining, the guests retired to the music room for dancing.


Seen were: Bill Cunningham, the famed photographer of The New York Times, Tinsley Mortimer, Topsy Taylor, Trudy Coxe,  George Jacobs, Jody Saarmaa, Captain and Mrs. Nicholas Brown, Alice and Jim Ross, Patricia Estes, Ellen Barnes, John and Elizabeth Brooks, Meredith Wood-Prince, Wynn Laffey and Michael Sullivan.

                                                  -- Written and photographed by Ali Gainor



Exquisite table settings



Floral arrangements & spectacular lighting



Trudy Coxe & Philip Pelletier


Gary & Mary Garabedian with Carol & Tom Simjian


William & Cynthia Cagney, Kenneth & Renee Bitting, Leigh Lombardi & Patrick McGeeney


Patricia & Leo Orsi



Ellen Barnes, Barbara Caldwell, John & Elizabeth Brooks


Anne Nitze


Alysa Boyle with cucumber rounds with curried cream cheese & peppers


Edward Ankudavich & Rosemary Ponzo 


Rosemary Ponzo


Melyora & Kendrik deKoning and Michelle & Steve Sullivan


Brenda Nienhouse


Bob Hardwick of the Bob Hardwick Orchestra


Dancing in the Music Room



Jane & Peter Elebash


Captain & Mrs. Nicholas Brown


Andrea Carneiro


Topsy Taylor & John Peixinho 


Pandy & Luke McDonough



Tully Ross, Spencer Anton, Elizabeth Ross, Harling Ross & Neva Little


Patricia Estes


Peter Harris, Kate Hamilton & Peter Kiernan



Jennifer Royall & Meredith Wood-Prince


Alice & Jim Ross


John Paul Primiano & Kristina Ugent


Wynn Laffey & Michael Sullivan


Robert Belcome & India Belcome


Catching up with Bill Cunningham



John Brown (Coachman of England) & Rich O’Donnell


Bill Bailey, John Kleinheinz & Roger Kass


Linda Hickox


Pebs Brown, Penny Hunt & Babs Robinson


Gregory & Kimberly Dryer with Jae & John French


Nonie Madden, Paul Madden & Anapaula Watson



Bonnie Weber, Nancy Parker Wilson, Leslie Grosvenor


Kristina Ugent, John Paul Primiano & friend


Dinner is served!


Monique Coleman & Isabelle Lirakis


Finley Ohrstrom


Kaleta Blaffer & Gordon Hieldleston


Tracy Hagney



The Breakers Grand Hall


  To purchase a high-res print of an image, contact Linda (a)  All images copyrighted.











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