Exploring Newport


A Brief History of Newport, RI

Walk around Newport today and you’ll find preserved architecture, museums, festivals, and a dynamic blend of cultures—all with a backdrop of coastal charm with a luxurious twist. In addition to locals, the city draws visitors year after year to explore Newport’s rich history. Since its establishment by English settlers in 1639, the town has attracted a diverse range of people and religions who have coexisted amid burgeoning growth. The 17th century laid the foundation for Newport’s architecture, with surviving landmarks like the Old Stone Mill, also known as Newport Tower, reflecting its rich heritage. The Revolutionary era further highlighted Newport’s significance, leading to British occupation and eventual aid from French forces. Facing economic challenges in the early 19th century, Newport reinvented itself as a summer resort, drawing influential artists, writers, and thinkers to spend the season. The Gilded Age witnessed the construction of iconic mansions—which occupants referred to as “summer cottages,” cementing Newport’s reputation as a resort destination for the lavishly wealthy. Many of these mansions are now open to visit, providing guests with a glimpse into Newport’s history in the flesh. Throughout its history, Newport has remained tied to the sea—in both name and persona as it’s become known as a yachting hub and home to significant naval institutions. Waves of immigration diversified the population, contributing to the city’s ethnic landscape. Successful preservation efforts post-World War II safeguarded Newport’s historic structures and paved the way for heritage tourism.

Historical Places to Visit in Newport, RI

Take a look at some of the top historical places to visit in Newport, RI:

Gilded Age Mansions in Newport, RI

You’ve likely heard of the nine Gilded Age mansions, topiary garden, and stable and carriage house that contain centuries of American history, architecture, art, and landscape design. As soon as you enter these opulent destinations, you’re taken back to a time and place where money was no object and Newport was a playground for the wealthy. Today, these mansions are open to curious visitors who wander in from the Cliff Walk or seek to experience the posh lifestyle of the past. They also host various events throughout the year, ranging from lectures and banquents to concerts and family programming. In short, these historical mansions in Newport, RI are a must-see during your visit to the city by the sea.

Fort Adams in Newport, RI

Built between 1824 and 1857 and home to 468 cannon and 2,400 troops, Fort Adams was designed to be used by the Navy and Army to defend Narragansett Bay against attack. When visiting today, guests can see where the officers and their families lived, take in the water from the scenic overlook, and explore beneath the walls through the underground tunnels. Visitors also venture over this way for events and festivals.

St. Mary’s Church in Newport, RI

Talk about historical places—St. Mary’s is not only the oldest Roman Catholic church in the state, but it’s also the place where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier were wed in September of 1953. Visit to experience a replaying of that iconic day that began a union that changed the United States.

Stay at Hammetts Hotel

Your favorite Newport hotel is home to rich history as well. Born of the desire to forge the working history of the wharf into the very pulse of Newport, Hammetts Hotel is an integral part of this seaside community. A welcoming port for visitors, as well as Rhode Island locals, we strive to give as good as we get. Stay at Hammetts Hotel to experience it for yourself.


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