Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The main house at Casa de Shenandoah is where Newton and his family lived for
decades.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)By Matt Long / LandLopers
For years
residents of Las Vegas drove past the giant golden gates of the estate and
wondered.
They wondered what exactly was behind those gilded walls, what
exactly was Casa de Shenandoah"— Wayne Newton"s massive 55-acre estate
— really like inside? Up until recently that was a mystery left
unsolved, but in September 2015, Mr.
Las Vegas started tours of his estate and
for the first time anyone could visit the property of this legendary
showman.
While in Las Vegas recently I made sure that I included a stop at the
Casa de Shenandoah, excited to see a bit of kitsch and camp.
But what I
actually discovered surprised me — and in the process taught me a great
life and travel lesson.For years all residents saw of the estate were these
golden gates.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Wayne Newton and Casa de
ShenandoahAs shocking as it is to me, there are some younger folks out there
who may not be familiar with one of the quintessential performers of the
20th"century, so allow me a moment to briefly explain who Mr.
Newton is and
why he became so very famous.
Exhibiting great talent at a very early age,
Newton made the rounds as a teen performing with some of the great talents of
the era like Jack Benny, Bobby Darin, George Burns and Jackie Gleason.
Early
on Newton became a Las Vegas lounge singer and for decades Wayne Newton was
(and is) and staple of the Vegas entertainment scene.
He"s perhaps best known
for his song "Danke Schöen," which has been used in scores of TV shows
and movies.His estate, Casa de Shenandoah, was named as a tribute to his
birthplace in Southwestern Virginia.
Newton bought the first five acres of the
land in 1966, back when Vegas was popular but nothing like it is today.
The
mansion was built in the 1970s and is the centerpiece of what is now a 55-acre
estate that includes eight homes, two barns, 60 horse stalls, three arenas,
and a plane.
At $50 million, it"s also one of the country"s priciest celebrity
retreats and touring this opulent compound is a rare opportunity to look at
how the other half truly lives.
I was there on a mission though, I wanted to
see exactly what touring this house was like and what oddities I would
find.Related: Not Just Sin City: 10 Reasons to Leave the Las Vegas StripPart
of the massive gardens at Casa de Shenandoah.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)The
TourThere are several different tour options when visiting the estate of Wayne
Newton and while none are particularly inexpensive, I later realized that
they"re actually well worth the cost, believe it or not.
Regardless of which
package you book, the tour starts across the street from Casa de Shenandoah at
the Wayne Newton visitor center with a 15-minute video all about the life of
the singer.
Although I certainly knew who this American icon was before
visiting, I confess I didn"t actually know a lot about his life, and the video
instantly gave me a lot more respect for the man than I ever thought I"d
have.
It was the first chink in my armor of sarcasm that I had specially
constructed for the day, the first inkling I had that visiting the estate
wouldn"t be the campy experience I anticipated.Newton has large stables where
he breeds his special Arabian horses.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Shuttle
buses whisk visitors across the street and through those massive gates in what
honestly is an exciting moment.
It"s like the beginning credits of Lifestyles
of the Rich and Famous and knowing that so few have had this same opportunity
made everything a little bit more special.
What happens next depends entirely
on the type of ticket booked, but regardless of your level of entry it"s hard
to miss the love that Wayne Newton has for his Arabian horses.
Almost since he
first built Casa de Shenandoah, Newton has been breeding horses, and he has
personally named every one of the 1,000 born on property.
If you booked the
highest-level ticket, you"ll be taken to a special horse pool, built to
exercise the horses.
The grandstands surrounding the pool may be a little
optimistic, but I couldn"t help but smile when I saw the thoroughbred walk up
and be escorted through his daily routine.
Swimming is one of the best ways
for horses to get the exercise they need, without risk of injury and was
definitely a first for me.
Newton"s love for animals doesn"t end with horses
though, he also has a small zoo with several exotic species.
But I wasn"t
there to visit a zoo.
No, I was there to take a peek inside the house of Wayne
Newton himself, to see what over-the-top opulence in which he had spent
decades decorating his house.It"s hard not to be impressed walking up to the
main house itself.
Immaculately manicured lawns and gardens lead guests
through the massive main doors of the house, and believe it or not but "Danke
Schoen" is pumped through an outside speaker system, just to add to the effect
of entering the sanctuary of Mr.
Las Vegas himself.
Walking through those
sparkly front doors — Baccarat crystal is everywhere throughout the
house — that sense of awe and wonder was everything I had hoped for and
more.
Twin staircases frame the entranceway and the eye is immediately drawn
to the main room of the house, with windows featuring the gorgeous grounds of
the estate itself.The massive door to Casa de Shenandoah complete with crystal
finishings.
"(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Main hall and entrance to Casa de
Shenandoah.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Walking into that main room I
anticipated something more like Liberace with the excess, but instead I was
surprised.
Sure, there was a lot of gold and crystal, but there were also
family photos and mementos placed lovingly not only in the family room, but
throughout the house.
That was the first clue I had that this wasn"t meant to
be a museum to all things gaudy, instead it was much more like a normal house
than I had expected.
Still, those moments of familial love were tempered by
antique Lalique crystal billiard tables and a special set of German-made china
that Newton himself designed.
But in spite of those moments of kitsch, my
impression of the estate and of Newton himself had somehow changed.
This
wasn"t the home of an over-the-top showman; it was the home of a family man
who knew what he loved in life, namely his wife and kids.
The upstairs was as
normal a house as I"ve ever seen.
The kids and parents" rooms may have had
large closets, but they were more like my house than the Jungle Room at
Graceland.
Leaving the house and closing the door, I was impressed by the
design and overall homey feeling of the main house; all of that desire to make
fun of it had vanished completely.Related:"You Can Actually Rent These
Celebrity Vacation Homes (And Yachts)The main living area at Casa de
Shenandoah.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Photos and mementos from Newton"s
life can be found throughout the house.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Game room
complete with crystal-lined pool table.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)The
dining room features German tableware designed by Newton himself.
(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)The private office of Mr.
Las Vegas, Wayne Newton.
(Photo:
Matt Long/LandLopers)The master bedroom includes the clothes worn by Mr.
&
Mrs.
Newton on their wedding day.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)
Touring the
massive estate of Casa de Shenandoah doesn"t end with the house though,
there"s also a small museum developed specifically for these tours that
contains many of the awards Newton has received over the years, as well as
letters and other important souvenirs from his life, including a massive car
collection.
Then there"s the plane.
A Fokker 100 airplane has been restored
and inside you"ll see how Mr.
Las Vegas once traveled the country, with
leather seats and enough room for everyone to be comfortable.
For an aviation
guy like myself, it was one of the highlights of the tour and put the
exclamation point on the overall experience.Clothes worn by Newton onstage
during his early days of performing.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)An avid car
collector, Newton has dozens of priceless automobiles.
(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)At one time this was Newton"s private plane, now
restored.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Inside Newton"s private plane.
(Photo:
Matt Long/LandLopers)
Leaving the estate I was embarrassed that my opinion of
Wayne Newton had not been higher previously.
He does personify an era of Vegas
that has long since disappeared, but he"s also more real and down to earth
than I would have imagined.
He"s spent millions supporting Native American
charities (he"s part Native American), as well as thousands of hours visiting
U.S.
troops overseas throughout a variety of wars and conflicts.
While Casa de
Shenandoah is large, it"s an oasis in the desert and re-creates a kind of
pastoral calm that is usually found in Virginia and certainly not Nevada.
The
tour humanized Wayne Newton in a way I didn"t expect, making the entire
experience much more enjoyable than I ever could have imagined and easily the
best activity I enjoyed during my most recent visit to Sin City.Related: Soon
You Can Apply to Tour Hunter S.
Thompson"s House
I had only enough time to
spend an hour touring Casa de Shenandoah and I wish I had more time to see
everything.
While the ticket prices may be more than you"re used to, in Vegas
terms they"re a bargain especially considering the fact that one could quite
honestly spend hours strolling around and exploring everything.
If you"re like
me and bore quickly of the casinos and neon of the Las Vegas Strip, this is
the perfect off-Strip alternative and just a wonderful way to spend an
afternoon in always surprising Las Vegas.WATCH:"Hotel Insider: Down Home at
Dolly Parton"s Dollywood ResortLet World traveling club Travel inspire you
every day.
Hang out with us on"Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and
Pinterest.
Check out our original adventure travel series, "A Broad Abroad.""
The main house at Casa de Shenandoah is where Newton and his family lived for
decades.
They wondered what exactly was behind those gilded walls, what
exactly was Casa de Shenandoah — Wayne Newton's massive 55-acre estate
— really like inside? Up until recently that was a mystery left unsolved,
but in September 2015, Mr.
Las Vegas started tours of his estate and for the
first time anyone could visit the property of this legendary showman.
While in
Las Vegas recently I made sure that I included a stop at the Casa de
Shenandoah, excited to see a bit of kitsch and camp..It"s hard not to be
impressed walking up to the main house itself.
Immaculately manicured lawns
and gardens lead guests through the massive main doors of the house, and
believe it or not but "Danke Schoen" is pumped through an outside speaker
system, just to add to the effect of entering the sanctuary of Mr.
Las Vegas
himself.
Walking through those sparkly front doors — Baccarat crystal
is everywhere throughout the house — that sense of awe and wonder was
everything I had hoped for and more.
Twin staircases frame the entranceway and
the eye is immediately drawn to the main room of the house, with windows
featuring the gorgeous grounds of the estate itself.The massive door to Casa
de Shenandoah complete with crystal finishings.
"(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)Main hall and entrance to Casa de Shenandoah.
(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)Walking into that main room I anticipated something more like
Liberace with the excess, but instead I was surprised.
Sure, there was a lot
of gold and crystal, but there were also family photos and mementos placed
lovingly not only in the family room, but throughout the house.
That was the
first clue I had that this wasn"t meant to be a museum to all things gaudy,
instead it was much more like a normal house than I had expected.
Still, those
moments of familial love were tempered by antique Lalique crystal billiard
tables and a special set of German-made china that Newton himself
designed.
But in spite of those moments of kitsch, my impression of the estate
and of Newton himself had somehow changed.
This wasn"t the home of an
over-the-top showman; it was the home of a family man who knew what he loved
in life, namely his wife and kids.
The upstairs was as normal a house as I"ve
ever seen.
The kids and parents" rooms may have had large closets, but they
were more like my house than the Jungle Room at Graceland.
Leaving the house
and closing the door, I was impressed by the design and overall homey feeling
of the main house; all of that desire to make fun of it had vanished
completely.Related:"You Can Actually Rent These Celebrity Vacation Homes (And
Yachts)The main living area at Casa de Shenandoah.
(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)Photos and mementos from Newton"s life can be found throughout
the house.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Game room complete with crystal-lined
pool table.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)The dining room features German
tableware designed by Newton himself.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)The private
office of Mr.
Las Vegas, Wayne Newton.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)The master
bedroom includes the clothes worn by Mr.
& Mrs.
Newton on their wedding
day.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)
Touring the massive estate of Casa de
Shenandoah doesn"t end with the house though, there"s also a small museum
developed specifically for these tours that contains many of the awards Newton
has received over the years, as well as letters and other important souvenirs
from his life, including a massive car collection.
Then there"s the plane.
A
Fokker 100 airplane has been restored and inside you"ll see how Mr.
Las Vegas
once traveled the country, with leather seats and enough room for everyone to
be comfortable.
For an aviation guy like myself, it was one of the highlights
of the tour and put the exclamation point on the overall experience.Clothes
worn by Newton onstage during his early days of performing.
(Photo: Matt
Long/LandLopers)An avid car collector, Newton has dozens of priceless
automobiles.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)At one time this was Newton"s
private plane, now restored.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)Inside Newton"s
private plane.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)
Leaving the estate I was
embarrassed that my opinion of Wayne Newton had not been higher previously.
He
does personify an era of Vegas that has long since disappeared, but he"s also
more real and down to earth than I would have imagined.
He"s spent millions
supporting Native American charities (he"s part Native American), as well as
thousands of hours visiting U.S.
troops overseas throughout a variety of wars
and conflicts.
While Casa de Shenandoah is large, it"s an oasis in the desert
and re-creates a kind of pastoral calm that is usually found in Virginia and
certainly not Nevada.
The tour humanized Wayne Newton in a way I didn"t
expect, making the entire experience much more enjoyable than I ever could
have imagined and easily the best activity I enjoyed during my most recent
visit to Sin City.Related: Soon You Can Apply to Tour Hunter S.
Thompson"s
House
I had only enough time to spend an hour touring Casa de Shenandoah and
I wish I had more time to see everything.
While the ticket prices may be more
than you"re used to, in Vegas terms they"re a bargain especially considering
the fact that one could quite honestly spend hours strolling around and
exploring everything.
If you"re like me and bore quickly of the casinos and
neon of the Las Vegas Strip, this is the perfect off-Strip alternative and
just a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in always surprising Las
Vegas.WATCH:"Hotel Insider: Down Home at Dolly Parton"s Dollywood ResortLet
World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us
on"Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Check out our original
adventure travel series, "A Broad Abroad.""
The main house at Casa de
Shenandoah is where Newton and his family lived for decades.
They wondered
what exactly was behind those gilded walls, what exactly was Casa de
Shenandoah — Wayne Newton's massive 55-acre estate — really like
inside? Up until recently that was a mystery left unsolved, but in September
2015, Mr.
Las Vegas started tours of his estate and for the first time anyone
could visit the property of this legendary showman.
While in Las Vegas
recently I made sure that I included a stop at the Casa de Shenandoah, excited
to see a bit of kitsch and camp.

0 commentaires:

Post a Comment

Travel Club. Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts

Popular Posts

.