Home to incredible sweeping views of the eastern coast, Newport is a quaint destination for a getaway. A mixture of nature, more mansions than you can imagine, and delicious food - it's a great place to indulge in whatever your heart desires (or all of the above? it's your vacation - why not?). There are plenty of things to do in Newport, Rhode Island.
History of Newport
The town of Newport was colonized in the 1600s by Boston settlers. People came to America for religious freedom, just to be welcomed by the Puritans. Many settlers left Boston, most notably Quakers and Jews, in the pursuit of fewer religious constraints. In the next century, the British moved in and kicked out many of the city's residents. The town eventually became a summer home for many of the U.S.'s richest families. The US Navy has been present in Newport since the 1860s. The Naval War College is located here. You'll see plenty of Navy members walking around town as well.
This is what I was most excited about - walking along the coastline breathing in the sea air sounds like a great treatment for quarantine. The Cliff Walk is a trail that runs 3.5 miles (a little over 5km) along the coast. It's a straight shot down from the top of the cliff to the water and only some of it is fenced off so be careful. You can get down to the water at 40 Steps. In the 1800s, David Priestly Hall crafted them for his children so they could reach the beach from the property. In 1840, he donated them to the city as a tourist. Now this beautiful walk is one of the best things to do in Newport!
Whether you walk by them on the Cliff Walk, take a Trolley tour as we did, or take a tour of the insides - the mansions of Newport shouldn't be missed. Currently, many of the mansions are closed for visitors. The Breakers and The Elms are open for tours.The Bells is a crumbling stone stable and carriage house. Carey Mansion was a stand-in for the series "Dark Shadows". Belcourt Castle was constructed by Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont (yes of the Belmont Cup) and is currently a museum of antiquities and architectural history. If you're a history or architecture lover, then a tour of Newport's historical mansions is one of the best things to do in Newport!
Tauro Synagogue & Cemetery
Newport has been a home for religious freedom for hundreds of years. It is home to a variety of religions - some dating back to America's creation. The Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the United States.
Grave of Ida Lewis
Ida Lewis was a famous Rhode Island lighthouse. In a time when women were expected to marry, have children, or pursue a womanly career like a lady's maid (and didn't have the right to vote!)- Ida was swimming and rowing boats! She is credited with saving at least 18 lives during her time as a lighthouse keeper. When you look out into the harbor, remember that she did all of these rescues in a rowboat typically during storms.
Claiborne Pell Bridge
Our first glimpse of Newport was through the elegantly-lighted Clairborn Pell Bridge. Construction began in April 1966 and finished in June 1969. It crosses the Narragansett Bay and is one of the most photographed landmarks in Rhode Island. While driving over this bridge is an experience, I do suggest viewing the bridge from the land as well!