Newport’s status as a favorite summertime destination stretches back to the 19th century, when America’s most fabulously wealthy industrialists erected an unequalled collection of obscenely sumptuous mansions overlooking the Atlantic. Though Vanderbilt and his pals are long dead, their ‘cottages’ linger in excellent condition and are the area’s premier attraction. Also competing for your attention are a series of music festivals – classical, folk, jazz – which are among the most important in the US.
For those that detest opulent homes and good tunes, the city’s crooked colonial streets make for excellent strolling and feature several of New England’s most beautiful and oldest religious buildings. The nearby harbor remains one of the most active and important yachting centers in the country. Thames St, the principal commercial drag, teems with restaurants, bars and massive weekend crowds, day and night. Indeed, the town is packed all summer with young day-trippers, older bus tourists, foreign visitors and families whose cars pack the narrow streets, bringing traffic to a standstill.
Last updated: Jul 22, 2009