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NEWPORT - America's First Resort
just a 45 minute drive from Providence
is a beautiful seaside city in Rhode Island that is famous for its mansions and for hosting the America's Cub races,
Newport Folk Festival
and the Newport Jazz Festival. Cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks accent an upscale touristy harbor area with many, many shops, galleries and restaurants. Newport sits on the southern end of Aquidneck Island and features several fine beaches, rocky cliffs and much history including an old fort.
Newport is a great town for walking. Most of the restaurants and shops are packed into the harbor area, perfect for walking.
Newport has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation, in the downtown Newport Historic District, one of three National Historic Landmark Districts in the city. Many of these homes were restored in the late 20th century through grants made by Newport resident Doris Duke, founder of the
Newport Restoration Foundation
, as well as other local efforts such as Operation Clapboard. As a result, Newport's colonial heritage is well-preserved and documented at the Newport Historical Society. In addition to the colonial architecture, the city is known for its Gilded Age
, which have also received extensive restoration from both private owners and non-profits such as the Preservation Society of Newport County.
Another National Historic Landmark District, Bellevue Avenue, is the home of the
International Tennis Hall of Fame
, where important tennis players are commemorated, as well as a number of mansions dating back to the Gilded Age, including The Breakers, Belcourt Castle, Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff, Rough Point, and the William Watts Sherman House. Some of these are open for guided tours. The nearby Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum has a fine collection of trees and plants, including the largest sequoia on the East Coast. With coastlines on the west, south and east, Newport is a maritime city. Its harbors teem with commercial fishing boats, power and sail pleasure craft. It is known as the sailing capitol of the United States. Many defenses by the
New York Yacht Club
yachting prize took place here. Newport Country Club was one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association; it hosted the first U.S. Open and the first U.S. Amateur, both held in 1895. The Newport Country Club hosted the 1996 U.S. Amateur Open, made notable by Tiger Woods' third consecutive win of said Open and concurrent entrance to the PGA. In June 2006, the city hosted the U.S. Women's Open. In June it also hosts the annual Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships tennis tournament as part of the ATP Tour (it is traditionally the last grass court event of the season). Each August the International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup is held; this event is part of the Outback Champions Series.
On West Marlborough Street, is the
White Horse Tavern
, built prior to 1673, and considered to be one of the oldest surviving taverns in the United States.
Newport is also home to the Newport Tower, Salve Regina University, Hammersmith Farm, Prescott Farm, and the
, the oldest Jewish house of worship in the Western hemisphere, as well as the Newport Public Library,
Redwood Library and Athenaeum
, the nation's oldest lending library. George Washington had given a speech at the Touro Synagogue extolling the virtues of freedom of worship and that the Jews were allowed to live and worship freely in the United States. This speech has often been referenced by American Jews to show gratitude and admiration for living in the United States.
Newport plays host to a number of festivals during the summer months, including the Newport Jazz Festival, the Sunset Music Festival, the Newport Folk Festival (where Bob Dylan shocked the crowd by playing an electric guitar), the Newport International Film Festival, and the
Newport International Boat Show
Aquidneck Island is home to many beautiful beaches, most public and a few private. In Newport, the largest public beach,
or First Beach, has a view of the famed Cliff Walk. Second Beach, in neighboring Middletown, is a fantastic beach for waves, with a surfer's beach abutting. There are three private beaches in Newport, Bailey's Beach (Spouting Rock Beach Association), Hazard's Beach, and Gooseberry Beach, each highly exclusive and located on Ocean Drive. The Newport
is considered one of the most popular attractions in the city. It is a 3.5 mile (5.6 km) public access walkway bordering the shoreline, and has been designated a National Recreation Trail.
Brenton Point State Park is also an excellent spot for the family, with exquisite vistas, and is home to the annual Brenton Point Kite Festival. Fort Adams, an historical fort dating back to the War of 1812 houses the Museum of Yachting and hosts both the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival annually. It too has spectacular views of Narragansett Bay, and is a perfect location for family picnics.
Since Newport has a strong maritime heritage, water based recreation is a primary attraction. Options include sailing, sea kayaking, and windsurfing. For many years Newport was home to the series of yacht races for the America's Cup. One can
charter 12-Meter yachts
that have raced in the America's Cup for a pleasure cruise on Narragansett Bay.
Newport Concours D'Elegance
Newport Waterfront Festivals
Newport Secret Garden Tour
Newport Polo Club
Newport International Boat Show
Things to see
Famous Cliff Walk
Newport 10 Mile Drive (Ocean Drive)
Norman Bird Sanctuary
Coastal Wine Trail
International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino
Museum of Yachting
Samuel Whitehorne House Museum
Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Newport Art Museum
Newport Restoration Foundation
National Museum of Illustration
Herreshoff Marine Museum
Things to do
Newport Sailing School
SCUBA Diving, The Newport Diving Center
12 Meter Charters
Newport's Public Beaches:
Eastons Beach - Memorial Boulevard. This beach is best known as First Beach, and has a wonderful view of the beautiful Cliff Walk. The carousel, playground, and aquarium are perfect for children.
Kings Beach - Wellington Avenue. This beach is fairly small. It has a great view of the Newport Bridge. Kings Park also offers picnic tables and areas to barbeque. Fort Adams State Beach - Located in Fort Adams State Park on Ocean Avenue.
Sachuest Town Beach - Sachuset Point Road, Middletown. Known as Second Beach to locals, this is the largest beach in this area. Here you can find great surf and fine sand.
Third Beach - Third Beach Road, Middletown. This beach is known for its calm surf, which is perfect for water sports and small children.
Newport's Private Beaches:
Gooseberry Beach - Ocean Avenue. This is a private beach club open to the public.
Bailey's Beach - Ocean Avenue. This beach is one of the most exclusive beaches on the East Coast. This private beach club has historically been a summer getaway for rich Newport families. Tennis Courts are available to members.
Hazard Beach - Ocean Avenue.
Newport National Golf Club
Montaup Country Club
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Newport Jazz Festival
Sunset Music Festival
Newport Spring Boat Show
Newport International Boat Show
Taste of Rhode Island
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
Newport is one of the state's most quaint sea towns. It harbors some of the finest sea-food restaurants in the area. However, if sea-food is not your style, Newport still has plenty of other fantastic dining options.
22 Bowen's Wine Bar & Grille, 22 Bowens Wharf
The Clarke Cooke House
Castle Hill Inn & Resort, Ocean Drive
Dining at the Viking. Hotel Viking
White Horse Tavern
, Marlborough and Farewell Sts.
Flos Clam Shack, 4 Wave Avenue
Tucker's Bistro Paris
Mooring Restaurant, Sayers Wharf
Brick Alley Pub, 140 Thames Street
Newport is known for its lively night scene. Whether you want to enjoy a quiet cocktail, hang with the locals, or dance along to a live band, you will find a place in Newport to suit your preferences. "Downtown" Newport has bars all within walking distance of one another.
One Pelham East, 276 Thames St
Studio 3, 3 Pelham St.
Newport Blues Cafe
, 286 Thames St.
Boom Boom Room, Bannister's Wharf
The Porch, Bannister's Wharf
Buskers Irish Pub
Vincent's On the Pier/The West Deck, 1 Waite's Wharf
22 Bowen's Wine Bar and Grill, 22 Bowen's Wharf
Le Bistro Newport, 41 Bowen's Wharf
Jimmy's Saloon, 37 Memorial Blvd.
NEWPORT - Filled with history . . .
Newport's Colonial Period
Newport was founded in 1639. The settlement soon grew to be the largest of the four original towns of Rhode Island. Newport soon grew to become the most important port in colonial Rhode Island. In 1658, a group of Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal were allowed to settle in Newport. The Newport congregation, now referred to as Congregation Jeshuat Israel, is the second oldest Jewish congregation in the United States and meets in the oldest standing synagogue in the United States, Touro Synagogue. At the same time, a large number of Quakers settled in Newport. The evidence of this population can be seen today in the fact that many streets in the oldest part of town known as the "The Point", are named after trees. The Quaker meetinghouse in Newport (1699) is the oldest house of worship in Rhode Island. In 1727, James Franklin (brother of Benjamin) was printing in Newport; in 1732, he published the first newspaper, the Rhode Island Gazette. In 1758, his son James founded the Mercury, a weekly paper. Throughout the 18th century the famous Goddard and Townsend furniture was made in Newport.
Throughout the eighteenth century, Newport suffered from an imbalance of trade with the largest colonial ports. As a result, Newport merchants were forced to develop alternatives to conventional exports. Newport was a major center of pirate activity during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. So many pirates used Newport as their base of operations that the London Board of Trade made an official complaint to the English government. The most famous pirate who made Newport his base was Thomas Tew. Tew was very popular with the locals; after one of his pirating voyages, it was reported that almost the whole town came out to greet him. In the 1720s, colonial leaders, acting under pressure from the British government, arrested many pirates. Many were hanged in Newport and were buried on Goat Island.
During the colonial period, Newport was the center of the slave trade in New England. Many of the great fortunes made during this period were made in the slave trade. The Old Brick Market in Newport was the scene of many slave auctions.
American Revolution and 19th Century
During the American Revolution, Newport was the scene of much activity. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Ellery, came from Newport. In the fall of 1776, the British, seeing that Newport could be used as a naval base to attack New York (which they had recently occupied) took over the city. Because most of the population was pro independence, the British allowed them to leave. The city was repopulated with loyalists and British soldiers. For the next three years, the whole of the Narragansett Bay area became one large battlefield, with Newport being a British fortress. In 1780, the French under Rochambeau landed in Newport and for the rest of the war Newport was the base of the French forces in the United States.
By the time the war ended (1783) Newport's population had fallen from over 9,000 to less than 4,000. Over 200 abandoned buildings were torn down in the 1780s. Also, the war destroyed Newport's economic wealth, as years of military occupation closed the city to any form of trade. The Newport merchants moved away, some to Providence, others to Boston and New York.
It was in Newport in 1791 that the Rhode Island General Assembly, acting under pressure from the merchant community of Providence, voted to ratify the Constitution and become the 13th state.
Newport's Guilded Age
Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, wealthy southern planters seeking to escape the heat began to build summer cottages on Bellevue Avenue such as Kingscote (1839). Eventually wealthy Yankees such as the Wetmore family also began constructing larger mansions such as Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) nearby. Most of these early families made a substantial part of their fortunes in the Old China Trade. They were followed by the richest families in the country, such as the Vanderbilts and Astors who constructed the largest "cottages", such as The Breakers (1895) in the late nineteenth century.
Until 1900, Newport was one of two capitals of Rhode Island, the other being Providence. The state legislature would alternate its sessions between the two cities. John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in St. Mary's Church in Newport on September 12, 1953. Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower both made Newport the sites of their "Summer White Houses" during their years in office. Eisenhower stayed at Quarters A at the Naval War College, while Kennedy used Hammersmith Farm. In the 20th century, immigrants from Portugal and the Caribbean began settling in Newport, adding to the rich diversity of the city.
The city has long been entwined with the U.S. Navy. From 1952 to 1973, it hosted the Cruiser-Destroyer Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and subsequently it has from time to time hosted smaller numbers of warships. It held the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy during the Civil War, when the undergraduate officer training school was temporarily moved north from Annapolis, Maryland. It remains home to the U.S. Naval War College and the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), the center of Surface Warfare Officer training, and a large division of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
To get into Newport, or anywhere on Aquidneck Island, you can take one of three bridges: The Newport Bridge (Claiborne Pell Bridge), from Jamestown, The Sakonnet River Bridge, from Tiverton, or the Mount Hope Bridge, from Bristol.
T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick offers many low cost and regular flights to many cities in the United States. Boston's Logan Airport (BOS) is much larger and is generally used for most international flights.
Newport State Airport, Phone: 401-846-9400. Located in nearby Middletown, this airport is small and does not offer commercial flights. It does accommodate small private planes and helicopters.
There are many marinas in Newport harbor that offer dock space for sailboats, powerboats, million dollar yachts, and even cruise ships that set anchor in the harbor.
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