Of course, it is a little more difficult for American fans of the show to get over to England to get the grand tour. Luckily, there are some alternatives closer to home. The mansions of Newport will certainly satisfy Americans' thirst for an inside look at aristocratic society in the early part of the 20th century. The wealthiest families in the country--at the time--built their cottages on the seaside, and would move their households there during the summer months, servants and all.
Many of the mansions have been open to the public for decades, but most of the tours focused on the wealthy families. And while the history of these families is certainly fascinating, Downton has shown us that what happens behind the scenes can be just as scandalous, mysterious, and fascinating. The Newport Preservation Society has been digging into the archives to learn more about the servants of Newport, and have discovered photos, documents and family histories. As a result, many new tours have been created about the help.
|The Elms. Source: Newport Discovery Guide|
As someone who is interested in historical tours, and is riveted by the show, I would definitely take a trip to Newport to check out these mansions. And a servant-focused tour would certainly be in order, because, let's face it, that's where the real stories come from.