Blonde4ever Takes a Tour of Casa de Shenandoah
Ever since I heard that Wayne Newton’s former residence Casa de Shenandoah was open to the public I have been longing to visit. I have seen pictures of it and could tell that his taste was right up my alley. If there is ever a choice between modern and antique, I choose antique every time.
I had purchased tickets for a bargain price from Groupon. Due to budget restraints, I had not sprung for the full tour of the barns and their inhabitants, the cars, and the museum, but should I ever go again I would certainly want to have the full experience. As it was our tickets only included a pre-tour movie and a full tour of the house.
When you arrive at the Visitor’s Center, you can purchase your ticket or hand in your Groupon printout as was the case for me. We were given wristbands to denote which tours we were a part of. We were a little early, so we had time to wander through the pricey but appealing gift shop and study all the pictures on the walls. We were given a picture of Wayne and his monkey, but I wish they would give those out at the end of the tour as no one wanted to carry it around all day and it wound up folded and shoved in my purse.
At the appointed time we were led into the theater to see a 20-minute movie to learn some history about Mr. Newton and his many accomplishments. Next, we were led out to a tour bus to be driven across the road to the estate itself. I felt a surge of excitement as we approached the gilded gates. I love seeing how the “other half” live. I was amazed at how lush and green the landscape was around the house. We learned that Wayne had originally intended for there to be an underground parking area and in digging for it had hit artesian wells. After some struggle, the water was declared his and that explains the many lakes and fountains you see all over the property.
As we approached the house I spotted what I thought were peacock decorations on an upper railing. I was stunned when they moved. Wow! How many people do you know have live peacocks as house adornments?
Our tour guide had been with the family for years and knew every detail of Wayne’s mansion and all its furnishings. We progressed slowly through the house. I am sure every article and picture in his “red room” or study had a story to it. I particularly loved the crystal footed pool table in the next room. Wayne had an amazing collection of Margaret Keane “Big Eyes” paintings on the wall of this room. I am well known for loving all things ornate and/or sparkly; almost everything in that mansion was ornate and sparkly. I oohed and ahhed my way from room to room. The dining room was incredible, the main living room breathtaking. It is hard to come up with enough superlatives. Yes, the style is of an earlier era but that does not detract from its beauty.
When we left the mansion we were allowed to spend a few minutes with the pheasants, bunnies, Boo the Capuchin monkey, the otters and all the myriad of creatures that are in the mini zoo there. At one pint a tiny chihuahua ran over to me. It has to be the cutest thing I ever saw; apparently, Boo the monkey has his own dog. We only got to see the Arabian horses from a distance but I would love to see them up close. Next time.
Pictures don’t do this place justice. I recommend going yourself and buying the full tour. I came away with more knowledge and more respect for Mr. Wayne Newton.