Did you know Newport, Rhode Island is on an actual island?
Yeah. We had no idea either.
Our first clue was when it was included in our Islands of New England cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures. We honestly had a pretty vague idea about what all of New England was like and pretty much no idea what to expect of Newport. I knew there were mansions there and…well.
That’s it. There were mansions there.
But now that we have spent a little time there, we are absolutely ready to return and to encourage everyone we know to visit immediately.
Because Newport is quite, quite wonderful.
Technically, Newport is located on Aquidneck Island and is one of the most famous New England resort areas. In fact, it’s been a favorite resort area for a long time, beginning during the “Gilded Age” in the mid-nineteenth century when wealthy families wanting to escape the summer heat began to build summer “cottages” on Bellevue Avenue near the coastline. The misnomer of “cottages” was ridiculous as these absurdly huge mansions were by no means cottages. The wealthy families tried to do outdo each other in building the most opulent homes you can possibly imagine and many of these are now open for tours.
I’m just going to admit, however, that Newport did not put her best foot forward on our very first visit. In fact, the gray, foggy day that we were greeted with was enough to discourage us from liking this charming, small city but not nearly enough. We almost immediately fell in love. We loved the small town feel, the cobblestone streets, the historic homes and inns, the absolutely fabulous food, and pretty much everything else. Our first stop was to check in to the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel which, if we had not already been enamored with Newport, would have caused us to fall head over heels. An absolutely gorgeous, historic hotel located within walking distance of everything you might want to see downtown, we loved every minute of our stay here. In fact, you can read about our love affair with this hotel here but, suffice it to say, that if you are in Newport, you should stay here.
You will be very glad you did.
Exterior of the Vanderbilt Grace. Photo courtesy of the hotel.
After checking in, we took a stroll around town. The fog actually gave us a nice introduction because there were not many people about and we could just enjoy the quiet streets and the deserted harbor.