Newport was first settled in 1639 by religious refugees from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By the eighteenth century, Newport had become a prosperous trading and ship building city, rivalled only by Boston in importance. Today more than 200 colonial buildings (mostly private residences) remain scattered around Newport's historic neighborhoods.
In the nineteenth century, Newport became a playground for the rich. Fabulous "cottages" overlooking the Atlantic were built by famous families like the Astors, Vanderbilts and others. Along Bellevue Avenue, many of these mansions (most now owned by the Newport Preservation Society) are open to the public.
At the end of Bellevue Avenue begins the Cliffwalk - a wonderful three and on half mile promenade with the Bellevue Avenue Mansions on one side and the Atlantic on the other. At the other end of the Cliffwalk is Easton's Beach or First Beach. The Newport area's other major beach, Sachuest or Second Beach, is slightly to the east in Middletown.
A short walk up Memorial Boulevard from Easton's Beach is the Tennis Hall of Frame at the Newport Casino. This magnificent shingle style building was constructed in 1880 and quickly became the social center for Newport's elite.
Today, Newport remains a sailing city and hosts world class jazz, blues, folk and classical music festivals. Along the waterfront on Thames Street and America's Cup Avenue are many wonderful restaurants, shops and nightclubs.