The non-profit organization – Newport Restoration Foundation – was founded by Doris Duke in 1968 with the purpose of preserving, interpreting, and maintaining landscape and objects reflecting architectural culture of the 18th and 19th century on Aquidneck Island. It maintains this mission by being a leader in historic preservation in Newport Country, preserving a collection of the arts of cabinetmaking and art and artifacts from Doris Duke and using these collections for educational purposes. Since its start, the Newport Restoration Foundation has preserved or restored 83 buildings, and owns 78 historic buildings, most of which are rented as private residences. This is one of the largest collections of period architecture in the country owned by a single organization.
Besides their commitment to maintaining the historic architecture of the area, the Newport Restoration Foundation also owns and operates three properties that are open to the public as museums. These include Rough Point – the mansion owned by Doris Duke, the Whitehorne House – which houses a collection of 18th Century Newport furniture, and Prescott Farm – an example of early American architecture and landscape.
The Newport Restoration Foundation also runs a variety of history tours that help visitors learn about different aspects of Newport’s magnificent history. “Discover Colonial Newport,” is a tour that involves revolution and ruin and the struggles for religious liberty in Newport. “From Golden to Gilded” takes visitors through the transformation of Newport from a colonial age to a gilded summer colony. “Rum and Revolution” discusses the booming rum trade and its activity throughout the Prohibition era. “Souls & Stones” takes guests to the Common Burying Ground and explores the art of gravestone carving and discusses the diverse group of people buried there. These are just a few of the great historic tours offered. All tours leave from the Museum and Shop at the Brick Market Place on Thames Street and last about 75 minutes.
Located just minutes from our Newport Bed and Breakfast lies the crown jewel of the Newport Restoration Foundation, Rough Point. Rough point was the home of Doris Duke and avid collector, animal lover, and philanthropist who also happened to be very rich.
Guests at the Newport Rhode Island Inn can access Rough Point by car, trolley or, for those fitness buffs, a 4 mile walk from our Newport Inn. The oceanfront estate off of exclusive Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI is filled with European art, tapestries, and Chinese porcelains collected by Doris Duke on her travels throughout the world. Guests on their Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast vacation will also enjoy beautiful ocean views from expansive grounds at Rough Point.
For those intersted in architecture, the grounds were designed by renowned landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Tour this Newport estate as a Newport Inn guest, and experience life as a 20th-century heiress. All tours are led by a knowledgeable guide. Small, intimate groups of 12–14 guests allow for a relaxed and personal experience. Lasting approximately one hour, the tour visits the entire first floor of the house, then continues upstairs with a visit to Doris Duke’s bedroom and to special exhibition galleries featuring fashion in the 20th century. Follow Doris Duke for the couture houses of Paris to America’s top department stores. Explore the wardrobe of this heiress and world traveler and learn how she chose the stylish and bold attire that established her as one of the best dressed in Newport Rhode Island and around the world.