Experience Newport, Rhode Island Attractions Like a Tourist and a
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 7/31/18.
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Thames Street in Newport.
Those who think of Newport, Rhode Island, conjure up
images of wealthy America, given the famous mansions and lavish
lifestyles that went on inside those oversized cottages. Today, you can
still see the lifestyles of the rich and famous through a mansion tour,
but Newport has evolved in different ways to please tourists. There's a
wealth of shopping, dining, lodging, recreation and, yes, traffic that
makes this legendary community a bustling, New England tourist
destination. Of course, there's endless scenic coastal views that can
never be taken away, no matter how much Newport develops as an
international vacation destination. A prime example: The
Cliff Walk that extends a few miles
above the sea, affording amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Ciff Walk in Newport.
Newport indeed has something for everyone. We prefer the
so we'll start with some of the more natural, relaxing settings.
Recreation enthusiasts will love Easton's Beach (175 Memorial Blvd), a
of sand and waves three quarters that also
features a carousel, snack bar with twin lobsters and lobster rolls,
a ballroom (great wedding venue!), summer concerts, a skateboard park,
playground, covered picnic pavillion and a beach and souvenir store.
Easton's Beach, Newport.
course, there's the revered Ocean Drive, a great place for a scenic
coastal drive. Located at the mouth of Newport Harbor is Ft. Adams
State Park. Famous for its folk and music festivals, Ft. Adams State
Park is worth a visit any time of year, as it's a grand New
England-flavored experience with different seasonal panoramic
perspectives of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett
Bay. It's a great spot for picnicking, fishing and boating. Fort Adams
State Park is best known for its world-renowned summer Jazz and Folk
Ocean Drive in Newport.
Wide and narrow streets some with charming cobblestone -- as well as
scenic wharves that only New England could offer -- provides seemingly
endless shops, including boutiques, gift shops and art galleries. Brick
Market Place, between America's Cup and Thames Avenues, is one of
Newport's better shopping districts with over four acres of shopping!
There are many small shops at the Market Place with often an upscale
presence. Dining will not disappoint,
either, from the informal landmark Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant (140
Thames St.) and casually upscale waterfront
dining gems like the Black Pearl (Bannister's Wharf) for lunch or
Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant in Newport.
Bannister and Bowen's Wharfs, near Thames St., provide plenty of
dining and shopping options from the picturesque harbor right up to the
Fine lodging choices abound in Newport, including stately inns,
historic bed and breakfasts and upscale hotels. Some notable places to
stay: the historic Hotel Viking, America's Cup Inn, and Vanderbilt
Hall, as well as the Castle Hill Inn and
Resort and Newport Harbor Inn
and Marina for
amazing water views.
America's Cup Inn
If you're a museum lover, Newport delivers with the International
Tennis Hall of Fame (194 Bellevue Ave.), Newport Art Museum and Art
Association (76 Bellevue Ave.).
Museum of Newport History (127 Thames St.).
Of course, Newport offers the aforementioned, spectacular mansion tours.
The tours include famous
homes like the Breakers, The Elms. Marble House and the
particularly like the Breakers (the Vanderbilt's home), a 70-room
Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th-century palaces
of Genoa and Turin. It just incredible that families lived in these
homes that seemingly rival the size of Rhode Island. Pay careful
attention to the details of the homes -- it's the moldings, the high
ceilings, the sweeping staircases, the outdoor gardens that give these
homes true personality. After all, how many big, modern,
mass-produced "McMansions" have you seen that have a unique
personality? It's all in the craft and pride of the builders, as
evidenced by these spectacular Newport mansions.
The Breakers in Newport.
The mansions are certainly a primary travel attraction in
I believe the true appeal of Newport, Rhode Island however, is to treat it like a
small town. Yes, there are myriad attractions but we've found the best
way to enjoy Newport is to pick just a few attractions and spend the
rest of the day soaking in the atmosphere. That could mean having
an outdoor lunch at the Black Pearl, exercising with a stunning view of
the Atlantic Ocean at the Cliff Walk, or just admiring the old buildings and
ultimately give Newport its personality. In other words, you could make
Newport a place to shop, rush from one attraction to another, and cross
"things to do" off your list one-by-one.
Newport RI (Photo Credit: Onne van der Wal)
That would be missing
the point, however, of visiting Newport, Rhode Island; There's a personality to
the community, a vibrancy, a unique character in every piece of
cobblestone that will make you say to friends, "You had to be there."
So while articles like this try to cover the appeal of Newport, you can
never really fully explain why Newport is a wonderful travel
destination. It's just there to experience and enjoy, the way it was
before all the shops and attractions came in, and families were just
happy to eat a burger and ice cream at Newport Creamery (181 Bellevue
Ave., #4)) and then just
walk to the beach from a simply laid-out hotel. You can still
lead that type of simple life in Newport, but like the rush hour
traffic, corporate board games, overuse of video games, computers, cell
phones and televisions, and all the stuff you were trying to get away
from, please realize that you can fall into that same stressful
trap if you don't plan your Newport vacation with some sanity in mind.
So relax, know that whatever you do will be fun, and plan to come back
many times to do other things in this amazingly diverse, expansive
Rhode Island travel getaway.
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