Whether you’re out to experience the vibrant harbor area, relive the Gilded Age
in a Newport Mansion, soak up the stunning views on Ocean Drive, or trek the
famous Cliff Walk, then Newport RI is in a class of its own and your gateway to
all this… and much more.
Newport RI is located at the eastern mouth of Narragansett Bay. Either Newport Bridge from the west on route 138, or Mt. Hope Bridge from the North East on route 114 can reach it. Founded in 1639 Newport quickly became an important seaport with trading routes to the West Indies. It’s years as a major seaport ended with the British blockade in 1776. In the 19th century Newport once again attracted attention, but this time as a summer playground for the rich and wealthy of America, who also bought their yachts to race at Newport.
The center of the harbor area is Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharf’s. Here you can yacht “watch” while sipping your favorite beverage or savoring a few steamed mussels – my personal favorite. The alleys in the wharf area are full of specialty shops, restaurants, and open-air bars. In the summer this is a good area to visit mid-morning or late afternoon when it’s not so busy. To Really experience the harbor take “The Spirit of Newport” harbor cruise that leaves from Bowen’s Wharf. This is a one hour narrated tour and passes by many striking attractions.
For many their reason to visit Newport RI is the Newport Mansions. The mansions were affectionately called “summer cottages” by the original owners because they were only used 6–12 weeks of the year during the summer season. These are 70 and 80 room houses, and showpieces right down to the last beam of timber – or marble! There are about 13 mansions in all to visit in Newport RI, with most located on or in the vicinity of Bellevue Avenue.
The Preservation Society of Newport County operates ten of these and offers combo priced tickets. I suggest you try and visit no more than three in one day. The most popular Mansions are The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms. But to experience something different visit The Astors’ Beechwood, where you’ll literally be treated like a guest by role-playing hosts.
By Cliff Calderwood
To explore local events, attractions, and more to do in in Newport visit