In addition to touring a whole bunch of big old houses, we leisurely wandered the streets of Newport over the few days we were there. There’s something so nice about a few aimless days – eating, sleeping, walking, exploring. Good for the soul!

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Notable in Newport

  • They call milkshakes “Awful Awfuls,” and it’s one the must-do’s while visiting to go to Newport Creamery.
  • The Cliff Walk is awesome and you should definitely check it out. Head’s up: it is very much a cliff walk, so much so that at parts you’re wondering if you’ve accidentally gone rogue and shouldn’t be climbing over rocks on the edge of the sea. But rest assured, you’re on the right path.
  • Beautiful, beautiful sailboats and sunsets.
  • Obviously, the summer cottages.
  • Really fun old-timey signage and cedar shakes everywhere.
  • And that concludes my mini-tour of Newport, folks! Have you ever been? Where should we travel next? Happy Wednesday!

I had never been to New England before this trip and it’s long been on my list of travel destinations. When the opportunity popped up to visit Newport, I confess I wasn’t familiar at all with the city. We had an offer of a place to stay and some dates that worked, so the research began! I’m going to share photos and thoughts over a few posts, so today I’m talking history + houses.

Turns out, Newport is a fascinating city with a really rich history, and I’m just the kind of person who really digs that sort of thing. R sweetly gave me a book all about it that I started reading before I got there, so suffice it to say I spent lots of time recounting anecdotes from my book which I’m sure he just loved.

The Vanderbilts, Astors, and many other wealthy families at the turn of the century built opulent “summer cottages” in Newport. It was the place to be during “the season.” In the middle of the century, many of these houses were just too cumbersome for anyone to maintain (think requiring a staff of 40 people or more), so the Newport Preservation Society began trying to save many of them and open to the public. They have a great system now where you can purchase one ticket and visit five of the houses whenever you’d like. It was really nice that it didn’t have a two day limit or anything like that – you can get kind of big-house’ed out after a little while when you do so many in one day.

Marble House

Home to Alva Vanderbilt, who was quite the irreverent character. She built an authentic Chinese teahouse on her property because, you know, why not when you have millions to spare?

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The Breakers

Just…opulent. The property is amazing of course. Owned and built by much tamer Vanderbilts than ole Alva (who was a Southerner who married {and divorced} a Vanderbilt, by the way).

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Green Animals

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The gardener at this property spent his whole life training and growing these amazing topiary, and his son picked up the art too. The owner of Green Animals gave the property to the Newport Preservation Society so that her animals would never “leave through the front gate.”

The house is modest by Newport standards – really more of a true old Victorian – but get a load of that property…

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We also toured The Elms and Rosecliff. Except for Green Animals, which you need a car to get to, they are all very walkable and easy to get to from downtown Newport. It is a lovely little city in that respect – the beaches and the water and downtown all right in one area. And obviously, if you’re into history and interior design, it’s the perfect place to visit!