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.
Newport destination guides
Newport Mansions at Christmas: The Breakers and Marble House
This holiday season, gilded mansions, million-dollar yachts, evergreen trees and beautiful coastal views await you on this day trip from Boston to Newport, Rhode Island.
Newport Mansions and Waterfront Sightseeing Tour from Boston
On this day trip from Boston to Rhode Island, view the gilded mansions, million-dollar yachts and gorgeous beaches of Newport, home to the famous Newport Mansions.