Take a Break From The Beach
If you’re heading to Newport this summer, you’re probably thinking the beach or maybe the cliff walk, but the city has more to offer than just sun and sand. A leisurely stroll down Thames street is always fun, but here are some things to try if you’re in the mood for something new!
The Newport Dinner Train takes diners back to the golden age of railroads with delicious food and ocean views. The 22-mile train ride includes events like “Romancing the Rails,” “Afternoon of Elegance” and family night. The train departs from the depot at 19 America’s Cup Ave. and business casual attire is required.
Newport Harbor Shuttle
The Newport Harbor Shuttle is a convenient, cost-effective way to experience the sights in the harbor. The boat departs from Perrotti Park and stops at Fort Adams, Bowen’s Wharf and Goat Island. The biggest advantage of the shuttle is you can hop on and off to your heart’s content for just the initial ticket price! The harbor shuttle is located at 39 America’s Cup Ave.
Naval War College Museum
Learn about the naval history of New England and Narragansett Bay at the Naval War College’s Museum. The building was formerly the Newport Asylum for the Poor and is now a National Historic Landmark, and the exhibits focus on the development of the permanent naval fixtures in the city. The museum is located at 686 Cushing Rd.
Old Colony and Newport Railway
The Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway takes you on a relaxing locomotive ride along the west shore of Aquidneck Island through Newport and Middletown. The line was originally built to provide steamships from Fall River with a railway connection. The train leaves from the depot on America’s Cup Ave., and the train runs most Sundays at 11:45am and 2pm.
Newport Tower (Old Stone Mill)
The round stone tower located at Touro Park may not be as flashy as the Marble House, but many visitors find its history fascinating. The interesting part: the 28-foot structure was probably built sometime in the 17th century and is commonly thought to be a windmill, but there is no hard evidence that points to exactly what it is. Other theories speculate that it’s a Viking tower, an observatory or a Chinese lighthouse. Come see Newport’s answer to Stonehenge for yourself and formulate your own hypothesis. Touro Park is located between Mill St. and Pelham St.
Ghost Tour at Fort Adams
Come to Fort Adams for a nighttime ghost hunt and explore the paranormal side of this famous Newport attraction. Fort Adams has a handful of other educational options, including tours highlighting the military aspects and daily life in the fort, but this is perfect for those interested in the supernatural. Join the Rhode Island Paranormal Society as they take you on a guided tour beneath the walls and explore dark tunnels of this centuries-old structure. Ghost tours will be hosted on July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 19 and go from 10pm to midnight.
Newport Art Museum – Events
When you’re all tired out from the beach, head indoors and take in some culture at the art museum. Their current summer exhibition is “Very Simple Charm: The Early Life and Work of Richard Morris Hunt in Newport, 1858-1878.” Hunt was a preeminent American architect known for designing many famous structures in Newport (including The Breakers) and around the US. In addition, the museum hosts a number of special events, including an “Appraisal Day,” where you can get a professional appraisal for your art or jewelry (June 21), a lecture on Picasso’s obsession with Degas (July 8) and a metal crafting workshop/drum circle (July 28). The museum is located at 76 Bellevue Ave.
Newport Murder Mystery
Come see the Newport Murder Mystery troupe for a night of mysterious, family-friendly fun. The company describes themselves as “murder professionals” who are committed to C.R.I.M.E. (Creative Role-Playing Interactive Mystery Experiences). Currently, two alternating performances make up their “Summer of Sin” roster: “Mobsters and Molls” pits swingers and flappers against each other for a whodunnit set in the jazz age, and “Ballgowns, Bling, and Betrayal” is a classy affair set in 18th century high society. The shows are held at the John N.A. Griswold House at the Newport Art Museum and the performances take place on Saturdays throughout the summer.
Irish History Museum on Thames
Newport is probably most famous as a summer playground for the country’s most ostentatious millionaires, but the city also has some interesting working-class history. Located in the heart of Newport’s famously Irish Fifth Ward neighborhood, The Irish History museum is a non-profit organization that takes visitors through the experience of the Irish immigrants in Newport. Irish immigrants were instrumental in creating some of the iconic Newport elements; they were recruited to construct Fort Adams and, later, worked in many of the mansions. The museum is located on 648 Lower Thames St. in Newport and is open Thursday – Sunday from noon – 5pm. Admission is by donation.
The 40-odd minute ride to Newport from Providence can seem like a huge undertaking for a Rhode Islander, but activities like these make it worth the drive. No matter what you’re interested in, Newport offers New England residents plenty of options to get out and try to forget that the long, grueling winter ever happened.