Tue, 07 Apr 2009 12:43:46
By 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.
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’s, 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.
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 Breakers.
The Breakers, a 70 room estate was built by Richard Morris Hunt, a leading American architect for the affluent Cornelius Vanderbilt II, patriarch of America’s 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 www.NewportMansions.com web site.
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 fortification. www.fortadams.org.
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.
Visit Newport as your next tourist destination.