Today’s visitor experience at The Breakers begins with a stop at either a carnival-style ticket booth or in a canvas tent--unless you have an urgent need to use the restroom, which is in a small trailer in a grove of trees. The only refreshment is available from two vending machines in a shed.
Originally, tickets to The Breakers were sold inside the house itself or under the porte-cochere. But by the 1970s, the volume of visitors precluded continuing that practice. The original view of the front entrance was altered just beyond the main gate by paving part of the original Ernest Bowditch greenway and erecting a white, wooden 10 ft x20 ft building, with two bank teller-type windows facing the original sidewalk.
About a decade later a special use permit was issued to allow soft drink machines to be sheltered by a green shed located in an historic grove, also dating to the Bowditch era.
By 1999, traffic had grown to the point that lines formed at the ticket booth and stretched out the front gate and down the east side of Ochre Point Avenue. The outside lines, exposed to hot afternoon sun in summer and harsh elements in inclement weather, became nearly daily fixtures for months at a time. In 2000 a tent was pitched in the laundry yard behind the Caretaker’s Cottage, opposite the ticket booth. Visitor lines moved off the public street and into some shelter, but zoning precluded anything but a dirt floor.
By 2006, the aging of the population began to require more immediate access to rest facilities than afforded by the then-modernized restrooms in the basement of The Breakers itself. To meet zoning requirements a small temporary trailer was at first leased,and then purchased, to relieve the demands from the public. The trailer is not ADA-accessible so handicapped visitors still must use facilities in the main building.