Not far from the capital city of Providence (nothing in Rhode Island is really very far away) is the popular tourist destination of Newport, Rhode Island, once the summer playground of the very rich, families such as the Astor’s and the Vanderbilt’s. As leaders of high society in America, they built beautiful and expensive summer cottages (really, elaborate mansions), especially along Bellevue Avenue in order to display their wealth and to host elaborate summertime parties. Many of these chateaux have now been purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County and maintained and operated as tourist sights. There are also other 19th century mansions open to the public.
The most popular and also some of the most opulent homes include The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff.
Also in the city is the Touro Synagogue National Historic Site which preserves the last remaining Jewish house of worship from the colonial era. It is also the oldest synagogue in the United States. The building dates back to 1763.
Newport is an extremely pleasant city to walk, especially around the waterfront area with its many shops and restaurants. There always seems to be some sort of event going on, so that the charming and lively port city has become a year round destination. My walking tour of the city can be found in the archives of the website – look at the 10-3-08 entry.
1. For a different perspective on the mansions of Bellevue Avenue, stroll along Cliff Walk for great views of the rocky Rhode Island coastline and peeks at the backyards of some of these mansions.
2. Take Seven-mile drive from Bellevue Ave to Thames St for an incredibly scenic look at the rocky and picturesque southern Rhode Island coast and a look at even more estates.