Newport's Mansions and Historic Homes:
Would you like to tour some of the famous Newport mansions? The Preservation Society of Newport County maintains a total of eleven properties that represent more than 250 years of Newport social and architectural history, including The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau-sur-Mer, Hunter House and Chepstow. You may tour individual properties or take advantage of several multiple-site passes and tours.
Other Historic Sites:
The Newport Historical Society, formed in 1854 and located at 82 Touro Street in the heart of downtown Newport, is home to one of the finest local historical society collections in New England. Holdings include Fine and Decorative Arts, Furniture, Musical Instruments, Textiles and Clothing and Artifacts of Everyday Life. The graphics collections contains more than 200,000 photographs, postcards, prints, architectural plans and drawings and maps. The Society Library includes approximately 12,000 volumes and has microfilm, files and catalogs that reflect the settlement and development of Newport County.
The Society offers walking tours of its buildings, and you can preview several sites on the internet. Learn about the Museum of Newport History; The Newport Colony House (statehouse for the colony that was built between 1736 and 1739); the Great Friends Meeting House (built in 1699); the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House (the oldest surviving house in Newport, built in the 1670s); and The Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House (built in 1730). Call (401) 846-0813.
For more ideas on historical sites to visit, check out Captain Vic's list of 40 top historical sites. You can also join him for a virtual walk along Bellevue Avenue, the longest and widest street in Newport, and one filled with history.
Newport Art Museum:
National Museum of American Illustration:
Walking Tours of Newport:
There are other established walking tours of Newport. Harbor Walk North covers Newport's Point Section, the original colonial center of the city and waterfront. This area still has many colonial homes dating in the 1700s as well as several wonderful Victorians. Harbor Walk South covers Newport's active waterfront area with sailing, entertainment, history, and night-time action. You will find a variety of sites and activities: from T-shirt stores to trendy boutiques, antique shops, restaurants, tall ships and the International Yacht Restoration School - which can teach you how to pour brass marine fittings and bend oak ribs.
Sightseeing by Bus, Boat or Train:
Viking Tours (401-847-6921) offers several tour packages - the Newport Scenic Overview bus tour, Grand Mansion bus tour, combination "Deluxe" tour, or the Land and Sea combination including a harbor cruise on the Viking Queen.
Newport Harbor cruises are offered by several operators. You can see yachts, racing sailboats, warships, commercial fishing vessels and cargo ships from around the world as you cruise by historic buildings along Newport's waterfront, Goat Island, the Newport Bridge, Rose Island, Jamestown, the Clingstone, Hammersmith Farm, Fort Adams, John Nicholas Brown's Estate and Ida Lewis Yacht Club. All of the cruises last approximately one hour.
Your choice of vessel and departure point includes the Viking Queen, departing from Goat Island Marina (adults $8) (401-847-6921; the Motor Vessel Amazing Grace leaving from Oldport Marine on Sayer's Wharf at The Newport Yachting Center (401-847-9109); the Rum Runner, a restored 49 passenger motoryacht built in 1929, operating out of Bannister's Wharf (401) 847-0299 ($17 for the narrated cruise or $22 including complimentary rum beverages); and the Spirit of Newport, boarded at Bowen's Wharf ($9 for adults) (401-849-3575). Each tour covers the Newport Harbor area and a portion of Narragansett Bay.
Another way to see the area from the Bay is from a passenger ferry. The Jamestown & Newport Ferry, (401-423-9900) operates between Newport and Jamestown, leaving every 60 to 90 minutes in the summer. The ferry makes additional stops at Rose Island, Fort Adams and Goat Island. A $15 all-day pass allows the passenger to get on and off, as often as desired. One way fares are also available. Alternatively, you can take the Providence/ Newport ferry operated by RIPTA, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. The ferry leaves from Perrotti Park, which is just a short walk from the Gateway Information Center (adjacent to the Marriott Hotel). There are five round trips on Fridays and Saturdays, four the other five days of the week. The trip takes about an hour and a half each way. The regular adult fare is $4 each way, with discounts available for seniors and children.
If you would like to tour the harbor in a gorgeous 78-foot classically designed schooner accommodating up to 60 passengers, the Adirondack II is available. This vessel was built in 1999 specifically to provide day sailing for individuals and private charter groups. There are four scheduled departures per day with cruises lasting 1 1/2 to two hours. Reservations required. Call 401-846-3018 or email from the web site. Six departures per day - $23 per person.
Another sailing vessel tour option is the Madeleine. Five cruises per day are offered in the summer at a cost of $25 per person. The vessel is 72 feet long, with a 16 foot beam and can hold 49 passengers. Her two 69 foot high masts can hold 2000 square feet of sail. (401) 847-0298.
Sightseeing trains are operated by the Old Colony and Scenic Railroad (401-624-6951). They leave from the Depot at 19 America's Cup Ave, across from the Newport Convention and Visitors Bureau & Bus Station.
Looking for more information on things to do in Newport? Do you need to know more about restaurants, hotels, B&Bs and current entertainment offerings? Try any or all of the following sites that focus on Newport and its environs: The Newport County Convention & Visitor's Bureau, the Newport Best Read Guide, ThinkNpt, NewportRocks, Captain Vic's Guide or Newport This Week.
Check out the Newport County Convention & Visitor's Bureau Calendar of Events and/or the Calendar compiled by OnAquidneck.com to get advance notice of special events - click on any month and find out what is scheduled. Thinknpt.com has handy monthly and weekend calendars updated through Thursday at 6 pm to help you plan the weekend or find something interesting at the last minute.
For current news and information, see the Newport Daily News.
For more perspective on the community, try the aptly-named Newport Life Magazine.
Things to Do Beyond Newport:
Jamestown is on the other side of the scenic Newport (Pell) Bridge - only ten minutes away but a significant change in pace. Shop and eat in the East Ferry area or tour the island stopping to see Beavertail lighthouse, the old Jamestown Windmill, or enjoy nature and history at Watson Farm.
There are many more things to see and do in South County, Providence and other nearby areas. If you wish, you can leave your car in Newport and take a ferry to Jamestown, Providence or even scenic and sandy Block Island.
Ocean State Online can help you learn about restaurants, night clubs, interesting places to visit and special events throughout Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
This map is provided for general
orientation. To see a more details of any part of the
Newport area (and get driving directions, if
needed) use MSN MapPoint's interactive map. After the
interactive map window opens, zoom out to see more of the
city (and beyond); then click on the part of the map that
most interests you to re-center the detailed map around
your chosen point. (Hint: As you zoom in, more streets,
street names and landmarks will appear).