Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Wealth of Vacation Attractions in Newport, RI

Article by Eric H. Photo, courtesy of Travel Guide of America
Newport, RI, has always been known for its lifestyles of the rich and famous and their mansions, but is it a good vacation destination for the mainstream?

The answer is a definitive "yes and no!" We don't mean to skirt around the issue, but as a variation of the pharmaceutical ad moniker, Newport "might not be right for everyone." You'll find crowds, traffic, obnoxious cheap souvenir shops, annoyingly pretentious boutiques, and overly expensive restaurants.

The reality is, however, that most vacation destinations are becoming this way. It's just a little more pronounced in Newport. If you can get past some of the annoyances, you just might find yourself touting Newport as a place you'll always return. The good points to this city are too compelling to think otherwise.

We recommend you get in touch with the scenic and historical purity of the community where a little peace and quiet, along with visual delights, help create the Newport you were hoping for. Take for example, Easton's Beach, a great stretch of sand and surf that's as nice as any New England beach. There's even a carousel on the premises, as well as a branch of the New England Aquarium. The Cliff Walk is surely another one of New England's travel highlights, providing a wonderful stroll above the sea that afford amazing Atlantic Ocean views. Ocean Drive is exactly that, a nice stretch of road providing more coastal views, this time from your vehicle. Then there's Ft. Adams State Park, with panoramic perspectives of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, and famous for its folk and music festivals.

What would a trip to Newport be without touring the mansions? Fortunately, the tours focus on just the mansions and not on ripping you off or sucking you into buying some other products. It's hard to believe that people once lived in these "summer cottages!" We always enjoy paying close attention to the detailed architecture (there's plenty of it) at, for example, the Breakers, The Elms and the Rosecliff. The Breakers (the Vanderbilt's home), by the way, is a 70-room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Not exactly the place you'd want to downsize!

Newport has its share of fine restaurants (Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant and the Black Pearl, as examples) and plenty of shopping all over town (like at the Brick Market Place with its four acres of shopping). There's also the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Art Museum and Art Association and the Museum of Newport History as worthy tourist and cultural attractions. But it's really the scenic and architectural beauty of the area that magnetizes us. Once you sift through the sources of tourist irritation and into the "real Newport," then, no doubt, Newport may be right for everyone!"

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