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Best Tourist Attraction in NewPort.

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Newport’s history has been closely tied to the ocean, from its beginnings as a shipbuilding port to today as America’s yachting capital. Newport was famous for its extravagant displays of wealth and New York society mansions were designed to maximize the stunning views.

Locals may claim that the mysterious stone tower, which stands high above the harbor, was constructed by the Vikings. It is more likely that it was constructed as a mill in 1600s. However, it has been added to the many outrageous stories of the Vanderbilts and Astors, who have contributed hundreds of years of Newport folklore.

Newport isn’t just famous for its sailing. It also has the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum , located in an historic building that was home to the 1881 US National Championships. Newport has many buildings dating back to the colonial period, including nine buildings that were built prior to 1700, and entire areas of pre-Revolutionary buildings.

Newport has something for everyone. It offers art, culture and history as well as beaches, tennis, shopping, and great shopping in its many boutiques. Our list of top attractions in Newport will show you the best places to visit and things to do.

The Breakers

The Breakers

Cornelius Vanderbilt’s wife, his wife, and their construction of what would be – exactly as they intended – the most iconic Newport Gilded Age mansion was no small feat. Richard Morris Hunt, an architect, designed the 70-room “cottage”, which is located on a cliff top for Vanderbilts’ and their staff (33% of the rooms were originally built to accommodate them), to be decamped from their New York home each summer.

It is impossible to miss the intricate details of the mansion’s decoration. The stucco and carved wood flourishes are everywhere, as well as the lavishing attention paid to every surface. The house is fascinating, but the kitchens and pantries can be toured to show the splendor of their lives. You can also visit the gardens and stables.

Address: 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.newportmansions.org

Walk along the Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk offers some of the most spectacular views of Newport mansions. This is the side that was used as a backdrop for the elegant lawn and garden parties of the Gilded Age. The preferred location is between Bellevue Avenue to the sea. It is shared by Marble House, The Breakers and Rosecliff.

Cliff Walk must navigate through the rough cliffs on the shoreside overlooking Rhode Island Sound. The path is accessible from the bottom 40 steps (at the end Narragansett Avenue), and you can also start at Easton’s Beach, on Memorial Boulevard.

Official site: www.cliffwalk.com

The Elms

The Elms

The Elms, although not as extravagant as The Breakers is, is more refined than The Breakers. It has clean lines and an airy, bright feel. The foyer’s stairway is supported by marble columns and rimmed with a scrolled iron railing.

The Elms was built to house the collections and wife of a Philadelphia coal magnate. The tours offer fascinating insights into the inside workings of the house and household. The gardens are now restored to their original splendor.

Address: 367 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

Marble House

Marble House

Marble House, which was designed by Richard Morris Hunt just before he created The Breakers in 1892, was built. It was presented by William K. Vanderbilt as a birthday present to his wife Alva. She kept it after he divorced her and moved to a Bellevue Avenue mansion.

The house was inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles and is filled with lavish details, including ceiling murals and chandeliers. But the most extravagant detail in the house is the ballroom. Its design was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, which is almost entirely covered in gold. Alva built a Chinese teahouse on the grounds in 1913. It can be seen from Cliff Walk.

Address: 596 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

Rosecliff

Rosecliff

Rosecliff was designed by Stanford White, “architect of the stars”, at the turn of 20 century. It is based on Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon in Versailles. Rosecliff belonged one of Newport’s most flamboyant characters Tessie Oelrichs.

Rosecliff is the most liveable mansion of the estates, despite being designed for entertainment – Tessie was a famous Newport hostess. It boasts Newport’s largest ballroom and is the location for many of Newport’s most extravagant parties. One such party was where Harry Houdini, the famed magician, entertained the guests.

Rosecliff was the location for the films The Great Gatsby, and True Lies.

Address: 548 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

Go to the Beach

Easton’s Beach

Newport is surrounded water. Fortunately for tourists, a lot of the coastline is covered in sandy beaches. Easton Beach is located right in the center of town at the start of the Cliff Walk. This three-quarter-mile stretch sand has rolling waves that welcome body surfers as well as boogie-boarders.

Continue along the shore to reach Second Beach. This is the longest beach in Rhode Island with 1.5 miles of soft, white sand and calm waves. Continue along the shore to Third Beach. This cove has very little wave action. The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is located between the two. It has more than 200 bird species and miles of nature trails.

Ocean Drive continues around the coast from the opposite end of Bellevue Avenue. It passes a cove with Gooseberry Beach. It is protected by boulders offshore and has a point of land, similar to Third Beach. The beach is accessible to all, even though it is a private club.

At the opposite end of Ocean Drive is a small beach called Fort Adams State Park that overlooks Newport Harbor. This is a great place to swim for children, with its calm waters and roped off area. In season, all of these beaches have lifeguards.

Rough Point

Rough Point is one of the oldest mansions that was opened to the public. It also happens to be the last to be inhabited. Doris Duke, the heiresse, lived here from her death in 1993. She left it to Newport Restoration Foundation to preserve heritage properties.

The home, her personal art, antiques, and grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead reflect a different time and style in Newport’s history. They can be seen today just as they were when Doris Duke lived there.

Address: Newport, Rhode Island, 680 Bellevue Avenue

Official site: www.newportrestoration.org/roughpoint

National Museum of American Illustration

The Vernon Court Mansion is home to the National Museum of American Illustration. It’s located on Bellevue Ave in Newport’s historic district. The museum is dedicated to the “Golden Age” in American illustration. It spans the period from the 1870s through the 1950s. This period saw illustrated books and publications such as the Saturday Evening Post that featured the best pieces of illustration art from artists like Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, Violet Oakley and Howard Pyle.

The museum houses the largest collection of Maxfield Parrish originals in the world, as well as the second-largest Norman Rockwell collection. The museum also has memorabilia and artifacts such as paintbrushes, tools and other supplies that were once used by Rockwell or Parrish. Vernon Court exhibits are accompanied by period furniture, decorative art, and some notable sculptures, in keeping with its historic setting.

Address: 492 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.americanillustration.org

Cruise with Newport Sailing Tours

A cruise of Newport Harbor and Narragansett bay with experienced sailors is a great way to experience the Sailing Capital of the World. You’ll be able to see Newport’s iconic mansions and the largest fleet of America’s Cup 12-meter yachts in the world, as well as some private yachts owned by wealthy summer residents. The tour lasts 75 minutes.

You’ll be able to hear insider stories about the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, regattas and other escapades on land and at sea during your cruise. Learn to sail or improve your skills by taking advanced, intermediate or basic sailing classes taught by experts.

Address: 5 Marina Plaza Goat Island Marina Dock A5, Newport Rhode Island

Official site: www.newportsailing.com

Touro Synagogue

Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1763. It is the oldest synagogue of the United States, and it is also the only one that survived the colonial period. A simple brick façade conceals a dramatic interior designed by Peter Harrison. Harrison was America’s first professional architect. It combines the best of classical architecture and the Sephardic Jewish practice.

The synagogue is a national symbol for civil liberty. It has a rich architectural history and a Jewish history. George Washington assured it in 1790 that the new country would ensure religious freedom for all religions. The National Historic Site also contains a historic Jewish cemetery that dates back to 1677.

Address: 85 Touro Street, Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.tourosynagogue.org

Ocean Drive

The magnificent mansions of Newport don’t stop at Bellevue Avenue. Ocean Drive begins at the end of the fabled street. It is marked by an abrupt turn, and the whimsical gatehouse of Rough Point.

A few older mansions are mixed with some from the Gilded Age. Some semi-hidden behind gates and walls, others are hidden away. Before reaching Brenton Point, you’ll pass Bailey’s or Gooseberry Beach. Ocean Drive curves to the south along Aquidneck Island.

Visit Brenton Point State Park on the grounds a former estate. Nearly 100 acres of the park are open for walking, fishing, picnicking and admiring the views over the ocean. The Portuguese Discovery Monument is dedicated to the navigators who mapped the first trans-ocean routes.

You’ll find the U.S. Coast Guard Station beyond the Brenton Point turn. Then, on a hill overlooking the ocean, you’ll see Hammersmith Farm. This is Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home and the scene of her wedding reception.

Fort Adams State Park has a beach with lifeguards and showers. There is also free parking. Guided tours of the fort’s complex defenses, officers’ quarters and underground tunnels under the walls are just a few of the many things you can do there. You can also visit the Summer White House of President Eisenhower on certain days.

Chateau-sur-Mer

Chateau-Sur Mer was originally built for William S. Wetmore in 1852. It has been through many reconstructions and today it is a catalogue of almost all major Victorian architectural styles. The fortune of the Wetmores stemmed from the China Trade. They arrived in Newport early, when it was the retreat for wealthy families of culture, intellect, and money.

Richard Morris Hunt was hired by their son to renovate the house and expand it. Hunt turned the house into a showcase for Eastlake’s geometric Eastlake style. Their later Italian designer crafted the library and dining rooms. A sitting area upstairs was inspired by Turkish motifs. The most striking architectural feature is the 45-foot tall central hall with stained glass skylights.

Address: 474 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

Museum of Newport History

Visit the 1762 Brick Market, another design by Peter Harrison, for a comprehensive overview of the city’s history. The Museum of Newport History has exhibits that cover a variety of topics.

Information on 17th-century English settlers, whose community was founded on religious tolerance, as well as the African Americans, Jews and Quakers who followed them, Greeks and Italians, the displays also include information. Take a look back at the Gilded Age and board an 1890 replica omnibus to take a video tour along Bellevue Avenue. You will also learn about the backstories that helped put many attractions and their contents into perspective.

Address: 127 Thames Street Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.newporthistory.org

Trinity Church

Trinity Church, a New England village church, stands at the edge a large lawn. The gracefully teered spire of Trinity Church is a Newport landmark. Its interior is just as beautiful as its exterior. Box pews, vaulted ceilings and the gallery where slaves worshiped (Newport was an important port in the notorious Triangle trade) are all found beside the organ loft.

George Frideric Handel used to play the 1733 organ. You will find evidence that the organ was once Church of England. This is the church of the Crown and its colonies. While most of them were destroyed by patriots during Revolution, you can still see a crown over the organ and paneling in Union Jack shape above the back seats. The Queen Anne bell is believed to have been the first New England church bell.

Address: Queen Anne Square Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.trinitynewport.org

Samuel Whitehorne House

This elegant 18th-century residence of a wealthy merchant is Newport’s finest example of Federal-style architecture. It had been converted to a tenement and its interior was altered greatly. However, enough of its structure and details remained – even fragments from original silk wall coverings – that restoration crews were able restore it to its original appearance.

Samuel Whitehorne House is home to an amazing collection of period furniture, decorative pieces and other items. It is one of New England’s most prestigious museums. It is worth taking a walk through the restored period garden.

Address: 416 Thames Street Newport, Rhode Island

Official site: www.newportrestoration.org/whitehornehouse

Kingscote

Newport was a popular summer destination for wealthy southerners who came to escape the heat. George Noble Jones, a Southern planter, commissioned Kingscote, one of the earliest “cottages”. Richard Upjohn, an architect, created a Gothic Revival-style cottage with a lot of gables, turrets and pointed roofs. It is a classic example of American Gothic Revival design.

Kingscote was sold by the Jones family to William Henry King in 1864. His nephew hired McKim Mead and White to expand it. The addition of a new dining room was notable. It features Colonial American details mixed with modern materials like cork tiles and Louis Comfort Tiffany glass bricks. Original family pieces include Victorian furniture, oriental paintings and rugs as well as porcelain.

Address: 253 Bellevue Avenue Newport, Rhode Island

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