There are many reasons to visit Newport, one of which is taking in the various views around town. The scenery is one of my favorite parts about living here so I’ve put together a list of my favorite Newport views to make your visit even more enjoyable.
5. Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge: Technically located in Middletown, the Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge offers two different walking trails, with varying views and lookout points. From one side you get a great view of Second Beach, while the other takes you down towards Third Beach. You can watch the waves crash and the boats setting sail. Since it’s a nature preserve, you’re also able to enjoy the wildlife and birds that are protected within the sanctuary. You may even run into some bunnies or a deer or two.
4. Brenton Point: Located along Ocean Drive, this offers a great view of the bay turning into the ocean as well as Jamestown across the way. This is an incredible place to sit and enjoy the sunset. You can also catch the light of the Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown lighting up the sky just past dusk.
3. Cliffwalk: Not only does Cliffwalk afford you great views of the ocean, but on the other side you can enjoy all the historic mansions along the way. Since the walk is 3.5 miles, the scenery changes and you can enjoy the view of the cliffs, first beach, waves crashing over rocks and a seemingly endless number of grand houses.
2. Goat Island: Various views range from the harbor downtown, to the beautiful Pell Bridge, the Goat Island Lighthouse and over to Jamestown. Right as the sun sets, head over to the Hyatt where the lighthouse is located and take in both the lighthouse and bridge. Pineapples on the Bay is an outdoor bar located at the Hyatt and you can enjoy the sunset and a nice cocktail, the best of both worlds.
1. Fort Adams State Park: Fort Adams is my favorite place in Newport, so there may be some bias in me selecting it as the best view in town. Not only is there the historic fort to lay your eyes on, but Baywalk, a two mile walk around the park, offers a variety of scenic views. You can catch a beautiful view of the downtown harbor area, a perfect view of the Newport Pell Bridge, and views all along the bay and over into Jamestown.
When it comes down to it, there are dozens of spots to see incredible views in Newport. Almost anywhere you go you’ll be able to see something beautiful, but this list will give you a starting point for your scenic exploration.
Photo Credit: Lauren Finnessey
Cliffwalk is probably the most popular attraction in Newport, and it may just be the most popular attraction in all of Rhode Island. It is one of the most scenic trails in the state and offers 3.5 miles of ocean views on one side, and historic mansions on the other. The walk starts at the west end of Easton’s Beach on Memorial Boulevard and ends on Bellevue Avenue at the east end of Bailey’s Beach. There are multiple access points along the way, including Narragansett Avenue and Ruggles Avenue.
Cliffwalk was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1975 and is in a National Historic District. It is the 65th National Recreation Trail and the first one in New England. Although much of the trail is easy walking, the southern half had some rough terrain and proper footwear should be worn. Unfortunately, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the southern half of the trail and since then only the section from Memorial Boulevard to Ruggles Avenue has been open.
Reconstruction of the southern end has been in the works, and it is projected to be completed by June. Supplemental funding has been found for the project, which increases the budget by $2 million. Most of the time projects need to be downsized, but since the addition of funds, they will be able to add a 60-foot section of stone masonry at the corner of Rough Point and a 200 foot form liner at Miramar, which will better stabilize the path. The official reopening of the damaged portion of Cliffwalk is set for June 13, 2014, just in time for the 2014 summer season.
I decided to write a piece on the top ten historical attractions in Newport RI to assist our guests if time is short. Most if not all of these landmarks are within walking distance of the Marshall Slocum Inn and/or have free ample parking. Although there are significantly more than 10 historical landmarks we decided to offer a top ten list to guide our guests when visiting Newport. For those guests who are staying longer at the bed and breakfast there are many more places and sites to see than these ten.
- The Breakers – The Breakers is undoubtably the most famous tourist attraction in Newport RI for domestic and international visitors. Completed in 1895, The Breakers is a concrete example of the Vanderbilt families exorbant wealth derived from, amongst other things, the New York Central Railroad. This National Historic Landmark consists of 70 rooms adorned with rare marble, alabaster, and gilded woods. Perhaps the most enjoyable feature of the Breakers are the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the historic Cliff Walk.
- Touro Synagogue – The Touro Synagogue is the quintessential example of Roger Williams’s promotion of religious tolerance and could be a main topic of why Rhode Island is it’s own state. Completed in 1763, the Synagogue became the first accepted active place of worship in the United States for Jewish persons. During the British occupation of Newport RI the synagogue survived burning due to it’s usefulness to the British troops as a hospital and meeting place. Recently, a beautiful new visitors center was completed giving tourists a great resource to learn about Judah Touro and his followers.
- The Marble House – Inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles, the Marble House is the other grand property of the Vanderbilt family. The house is ordained with gold and marble throughout which architect, Richard Morris Hunt, intended to be a statement of wealth during the infamous Gilded Age. Alva Vanderbilt, the properties owner, held her “Votes for Women” rallies at the mansion as part of her lifelong commitment to women’s rights.
- Rough Point – Rough Point is the home of Doris Duke, heiress and art collector who turned her good fortune into a life’s work in philanthropy. Most of Duke’s fortune came from the tobacco plantations owned by her family and she is said to have donated up to $400 million throughout her lifetime. Her philanthropic legacy continues today throughout the City of Newport by means of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation.
- National Museum of American Illustration – The National Museum of American Illustration is perhaps the most under visited and cautiously marketed attraction in Newport. Located at Vernon Court, a Gilded Age mansion on Bellevue Avenue, the building hosts the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration art, featuring Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parish, JC Leyendecker, NC Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, and 150 other artists.
- The Elms – A personal favorite of the staff at the Inn, The Elms was completed in 1901 as a summer retreat for coal magnate Edward Berwin and his wife Herminie. Features of the house include modern amenities that were unheard of at the time as well as floor to ceiling artwork and tapestries. Perhaps the best part of the Elms preservation is the behind the scenes tour where visitors can see the staff living quarters, boiler room, laundry room, kitchen, and the secret roof deck with expansive views of Newport and the Atlantic Ocean.
- Fort Adams – Situated in a strategic location overlooking Narragansett Bay, Fort Adams is a unique example of coastal defense systems utilized pre Revolutionary War up to World War II. Visitors can take a guided tour of the interior of the fort, the many underground tunnels, and the amazing overlook posts with 360 degree views of Aquidneck Island and Narragansett Bay. Fort Adams is also home to the Jazz and Folk Festivals which occur each summer in Newport.
- The Newport Mill – The Newport Mill is located in beautiful Touro Park and is thought to be the oldest remaining structure in Newport. There is no confusion about it’s usage from the 18th century onward but the debate rages on as to the buildings origin and purpose. Some theories point to an astronomical tool and others to an observatory for the Chinese. In a document of 1741 the tower is described as “the old stone mill” an d in 1760 the Tower was used as a haymow. During the American Revolution, the tower was used by the Americans as a lookout, and by the British to store ammo.
- The Cliff Walk – Other than the Breakers the Cliff Walk is perhaps the number one tourist attraction in Newport. Although there is not a lot of historical facts associated with the walk it offers too many beautiful scenic views and has been around since the Gilded Age to be left off this list. The 3.5 mile walk was used by the Vanderbilts and all their wealthy neighbors on walks to Easton’s Beach. In 1975 the walk was designated as a National Historic Trail, the first in New England.
- Washington Square – Two of Colonial America’s most significant structures are located at either end of Washington Square, the Colony House and the Brick Market. Built in 1741, the Colony House is one of the best maintained surviving Georgian buildings in the United States. The stately building was used for the colonial legislature during the fight for independence. Another example of classic Georgian architecture is the Brick Market built in 1762. The traditional open first level served as a marketplace for trading, much like Fanueil Hall in Boston.
It is amazing to me that after over 15 years of living in Newport that I still stumble upon a new hidden treasure that Newport has to offer. Sometimes these treasures are just around the corner from the Inn and other times a discovery that my wife and I make on one of our many walks around the city. Following is a list of some of the less obvious attractions/things to do/places to eat on Aquidneck Island that may not be included in the typical Newport guidebook. Most locals know about these items but this post is more for our guests and visitors to Newport.
- Southern End of the Cliff Walk/Rejects Beach – The most beautiful part and less traveled part of the Cliff Walk is the Southern end. On Summer days when town and the beaches are packed full of people you can hike this portion of the Cliff Walk and see only a few people. The same goes for Rejects Beach which is located near the end of the Cliff Walk and only a few hundred yards from the famed Bailey’s Beach Club. To get to both of these areas just take the trolley which is a short walk from the Inn. www.cliffwalk.com
- Sachuest Point – The Cliff Walk understandibly tends to get the most attention as a great outdoor activity during all four seasons in Newport. However, if you enjoy being outdoors Sachuest Point is a great seaside walk overlooking second beach in Middletown. A great place for birders, Sachuest Point also has free and ample parking. Visit the Sachuest Point website for more information.
- Newport International Polo Series – Occuring every Saturday starting in June, the Newport International Polo Series features the U.S.A. versus a multitude of International teams including such far away places as Ghana. Grab some wine and cheese and watch the entertaining game of polo field side. www.nptpolo.com
- Pineapples On The Bay – Located at the Hyatt Hotel, Pineapples has one of the best views in Newport. Unimpeded views of the Newport Bridge and the harbor can be had from any of the many outdoor tables. Plus, Tuesday is half price appetizers and there is free validated parking. Visit the Pineapples website for more information.
- Castle Hill – Castle Hill Inn and Resort is located on Ocean Drive and situated right at the entrance to Newport harbor. A huge wedding venue with room rates climbing into the $700-$800 range during peak times, Castle Hill is a great place to grab an afternoon cocktail or a dinner priced lunch. Dinner, although top notch, should be avoided unless you plan to dine early. Why pay the top prices if you cannot see the water?
Cliffwalk has been one of Newport’s most popular tourism spots since it was created in 1975 as a National Recreation Trail. It’s a 3.5 mile walkway along the Newport shoreline. It begins off Memorial Boulevard, right before Easton’s beach, and finishes on Bellevue Avenue, by Bailey’s Beach. There are a variety of other access points for Cliffwalk such as Ruggles Avenue and Narrangansett Avenue. Most of the trail has easy walking conditions, but some parts are rockier, and walkers should wear proper shoes and be aware where they’re walking. There are great views of the shoreline as well as the historic architecture found in Newport.
To keep your energy up while spending time at Cliffwalk, try out this coffee cake recipe to start your day!
Cliffwalk Cottage Cheese Coffee Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- In a large bowl, combine and mix flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder
- Combine the eggs, butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and cream cheese in a mixer
- Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and combine until incorporated
- Spoon half the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan
- For filling, combine and mix together sugar, cottage cheese and cinnamon
- Spoon filling onto the middle of the batter
- Cover filling with the remaining batter
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes
The Cliffwalk is one of the top attractions on this beautiful New England island. A 10 minute walk from our Newport inn, the Cliffwalk is a 4.5 mile walk along the ocean edge cliffs of Newport that combines the natural beauty of the Newport shore line with the architectural history of Newport’s gilded age. Wild flowers, birds, geology, and a front yard view of the magnificent mansions add to this delightful walk. The walk runs in front of some of the most famous mansions including Astor’s Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court on the campus of Salve Regina University, and Rough Point.
The Cliffwalk begins at Memorial Drive near Easton’s Beach and winds its way along the rocky New England shoreline to the start of Ocean Drive. The walk can be accessed from the starting and ending points of the path, Narragansett Ave, and Ruggles Ave. Most of the walk is paved and offers beautiful vistas, tunnels, and long winding pathways overlooking the waves below. Towards the end of the walk, the path is no longer paved and becomes a bit more challenging as you cross the rugged rocks at the water’s edge. The views are absolutely breath taking.
Many guests here at our Newport inn have enjoyed this peaceful walk and it is definitely a must see if you have some time to spend here on this gorgeous island!