"The City by The Sea"
Situated at the entrance of Narragansett Bay, Newport’s waterfront location made it an ideal spot for a colony to prosper in the sea trades when it was founded in 1639. The result is beautiful waterfront homes, captain’s cottages, maritime wharf buildings and historical architecture. In fact, Newport real estate is home to the nation's largest concentration of pre-Revolutionary Colonial homes and structures as well as rich nineteenth-century domestic architecture resulting from Newport’s summer colony.
Newport is the largest city on Aquidneck Island and a world-class sailing community. The Naval War College, decades of America’s Cup Sailing, the NY Yacht Club’s Harbour Court and the Ida Lewis Yacht Club are all testaments to its maritime roots. At the tip of the island the Castle Hill lighthouse and the Coast Guard station stand watch over the bay’s entrance where you’ll find the beautiful Castle Hill Association estates, Newport Country Club and two state parks. Brenton Point State Park, midway along the renowned Ocean Drive, is the perfect windy spot for kite-flying, both casual and competitive. The historic Fort Adams State Park is the site of annual Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals where you can enjoy the music and panoramic water views of the East Passage with classic yachts gliding by.
But you don’t need a boat to enjoy life in Newport. Easton’s Beach (also known as First Beach) has nearly a mile of sandy beach, a boardwalk, showers, carousel and skateboard park. If the waves are right you’ll see a dedicated contingent of surfers. Or spend an afternoon at the New England Aquarium’s Newport Exploration Center, where touch-tanks are full of native ocean creatures. And tennis fans can see some of their favorites at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
What Newport may best be known for are the Gilded Age mansions, nestled between historic Bellevue Avenue and the scenic 3.5 mile Cliff Walk. It has become famous as a public access walk combining the natural beauty of the shoreline with the mansion’s architectural history, since from the Cliff Walk you can glimpse some of the mansions and their backyards. These are the grand homes that give ‘summer cottage’ a whole new meaning. Many Salve Regina University buildings are former grand mansions majestically situated along the Cliff Walk.
The area from Memorial Boulevard to Broadway, known as Kay Street-Catherine Street-Old Beach Road neighborhood, is home to an impressive collection eighteenth and nineteenth century villa architecture by leading architects complete with grand flourishes and details.
Across the island near the Claiborne Pell Bridge, The Point area offers row upon row of pre-revolutionary-era Colonials. These eighteenth-century Newport homes were constructed as sturdily as the mansions of the great merchants. Here you’ll find the famous annual Secret Garden Tours which raise money for school music programs. Small private gardens not visible from the street offer a surprising display of native garden beauty, open for viewing just once a year.
Newport is much more than history and mansions, with a bustling waterfront along Thames Street. Here you’ll find great shopping starting with the Brick Marketplace and Bowen’s Wharf all the way to Coddington Wharf. Along the way stop in at the Museum of Newport History, fine dining and casual restaurants, or in winter, the Born Family Skating Center. Go a little further on Lower Thames and you’ll be in Fifth Ward, a working class neighborhood with Irish roots, starter homes mixed with commercial enterprises and an active community overlooking Newport Harbor. Or if modest homes and Cape-style architecture are more your style, the Upper Broadwayneighborhood offers an interesting mix of small shops and lovely homes.
While Newport has a worldly reputation and a large list of things to see and do, it’s also a very sociable and caring place to call home. All of Newport’s close-knit neighborhoods have active citizens groups that advocate for homeowners.