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The Lure of Newport ~ A moment in time captured today
Linda S. Manning, Author and Photographer
Fog Surrounding Tall Ships in Newport Harbor 2004 Photos Courtesy Linda S. Manning
For hundreds of years, Newport, Rhode Island has lured
a varied population of inhabitants. With her glorious 22 miles of
coastline surrounded by Rose, Gould and Coaster Harbor Islands, she is a
magnificent picture of beautiful beaches, harbor side cafes and
boutiques dressed up with gas lit lamps on cobblestone streets. With its
centuries of appeal from the Colonial days of the 1600’s to a venue for
the rich during The Gilded Age in the late 1800’s, Newport also boasts
the birth of the most popular summer time activity, yacht racing in the
Today, Newport is as diverse as it was years ago
offering a profusion of activities, historical sites, restaurants,
mansions and museums, accommodations and abundant year round activities.
Newport is 11 square miles in total with 7.7 square
miles of land and 3.3 square miles of inland waters and home to some of
the oldest public buildings. The White Horse Tavern c1673, the
Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House c1675, Friends Meeting House c1699, Trinity
Church c1725 and Touro Synagogue c1763, are still in existence today. As
a tourist, you may view these spectacular historical sites on a daily
Historically, first to arrive in 1636 was Anne
Hutchinson who was driven out of Boston for her religious beliefs. She
followed the path of Roger Williams. Her group purchased Aquidneck
Island (Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth) from the Native Americans
who had inhabited the area for over 5,000 years embellishing it with
superb land management and fishing opportunities.
Anne Hutchinson settled in the northern portion of the
island called Pocasett. In 1639 when the settlement split, William
Coddington and Nicholas Easton, English settlers moved to the south of
Newport to form the establishment of Newport. At that time, it bustled
with diversity and religious tolerance.
Today winter time population of over 26,000, Newport
has become a year round destination with tourists originating from all
corners of the world. Contrasting to its naissance in the 1600’s her
population at that time was comprised of English settlers who wanted to
escape the apron of Mother England and her religious infringements.
The Quakers and Jews inhabited the island in the
1650’s. The formation of The Society of Friends was established in the
early 1700’s where the Quakers dominated. The Society comprised of
highly skilled craftsmen such as Townsend and Goddard.
During the 18th century, Newport was well known for
the trading of exports of rum, candles, fish, furniture and silver.
There were hundreds of wharves and shops and it was known as an
epicenter for the development of modern capitalization. Newport was one
of the leading five ports in Colonial America at that time.
Throughout the 1760’s there was a building boom and
such architectural marvels as Trinity Church, Colony House and Redwood
Library were erected.
The later part of the 1800’s found many pillars of
society, the Vanderbilt, Berwinds and Oelrich’s in yet another building
boom of the famous Newport Cottages along picturesque Bellevue Avenue.
Becoming part of the list of 400 was an honor bejeweled with prestige.
The 1900’s brought about many changes. With the onset
of the auto, airplane, railroad and cruise liners, Newport again became
a bustling harbor and a site to visit.
In the present day, Newport is
set apart from any other seaport by way of Naval Station
Newport, The Naval War College, Surface Warfare Officers School,
mansions, museums, yacht racing, sail regattas, as well as
Coaching, Polo and The Tennis Hall of Fame.
Such properties as The Inn at Castle Hill,
Hammersmith Farm and The Newport Bridge decorate its landscape.
Panoramic vistas from every angle can be captured by means of a
Harbor Tour on one of the colossal schooners or clippers as well as
chartering a private motor boat .Set sail with a few or many, depending
on your style. In addition to boat tours exists sailing and power boat
lessons where you get to be the Captain for the day. Such opportunities
are not well publicized, conduct your search by talking to the locals.
Sailing Regatta off Gould Island
As a tourist today you can expect activities throughout the year.
Log on to www.gonewport.com
for a calendar of events. There are numerous places to stay such as
lush hotels and quaint B&B’s. Log on to
www.newportribedandbreakfast.com web site for a list of
enchanting and charismatic B&B’s along with fine restaurants and
things to see and do while visiting Newport.
Stepping back to yesteryear during the time of glitz and glamour
is magnificently exemplified by the elegant and grand mansions owned
by The Preservation Society. The most ornate and electrifying is The
The Breakers, a 70 room estate was built by Richard Morris Hunt,
a leading American architect for the affluent Cornelius Vanderbilt
II, patriarch of Americas wealthiest family. With its magnificent
ocean views, The Breakers offers open air terraces and rich
interiors. For a complete list of the Preservations Societies
collection of America’s grandest summer places, log on to
There are so many points of interest; it seems as if almost
everywhere you see the symbol of hospitality noted by its pineapple
which in Colonial times was a signal of the seafaring captains
returning home from West Indian ports and the Triangle Trade Route.
Explorations are vast with another site to visit on every corner.
Take one of the walking tours of Historic Hill and The Point
sections of Newport to view over 200 restored homes. There, history
has its foundation. Stroll the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk along the coast
beginning at Easton’s Beach and ending at Bailey’s Beach or visit
Historic Fort Adams, the largest 19th-century U.S. coastal
And lest we forget, the beaches and vineyards for all to enjoy
along with the hundred’s of shops and restaurants. A few of the
favorite restaurants of the locals are La Forge Casino, 22 Bowen’s,
Canfield House, The Mooring, Puerini’s, The Red Parrott, Cheeky
Monkey, The Inn at Castle Hill and Bistro styled cafes such as
Percy’s. Visit hundreds more just a footstep away.
Some of the greatest arts and antiques can be found on the
streets of Newport such as Franklin Street, Spring Street, Bellevue
Avenue and Thames Street.
Numerous activities are scheduled every month of the year.
Summertime’s best is the Music Festival, Jazz and Folk Festivals,
Newport International Polo, Newport International Film Festival,
Black Ships Festival, Irish Festival, Gallery Nights, Newport Arts
Festival and many more.
As you can see, not only does Newport possess the finest of
everything, there are activities for the young and old, summer,
fall, winter and spring.