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Introducing Newport

Established by religious moderates fleeing persecution from Massachusetts Puritans, ‘new port’ flourished to become the fourth richest city in the newly independent colony and the harbor remains one of the most active and important yachting centres in the country. Downtown the Colonial-era architecture is beautifully preserved along with notable landmarks such as Washington Square’s Colony House, where Rhode Island’s declaration of independence was read in May 1776.

Fascinating as Newport’s early history is, it struggles to compete with its own latter-day success when, bolstered by the boom in shipping, wealthy industrialists made it their summer vacation spot and built opulent country ‘cottages’ down lantern-lined Bellevue Avenue. Modelled on Italianate palazzos, French chateaux and Elizabethan manor houses, and decorated with priceless furnishings and artwork, they remain the town's premier attraction alongside a series of summer music festivals – classical, folk, jazz – which are among the most important in the US.