History and Beauty: Tour Newport Harbor
Newport, Rhode Island is a small but vibrant city with much to offer residents and visitors alike. Taking a tour of historic Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay by boat is one of the best ways soak in the history and diversity of this classic New England town and enjoy the fresh sea air.
Expect to get a crash course in the fascinating the history of the bay spanning from the first Native American residents of the area, to the Revolutionary War, Prohibition and slave trade, to the construction of Fort Adams, which was outdated before it was completed and put to full use. It now serves as a state park and hosts several festivals each year, including the Jazz Festival. You'll learn about how the bay was armed during World War II, the impact of the great hurricane in 1953 that devastated the bay as well as the present day occupants of the mansions by the sea.
For our family tour of Newport Harbor, we chose to go on the Amazing Grace tour, which lasted about an hour. It was just the right length to entertain the kids and held their interest for most of the ride.
The tour focused on the most notable history of the city by the sea and took visitors through the fishing area of the harbor, to the Newport Pell Bridge, along the edge of Jamestown and out to the edge of the bay before turning back and following the Newport coastline back towards the harbor.
There are other boat options for touring the harbor, including sunset dinner tours through the bay, helicopter tours and privately charted tours through the area. There is truly a tour for every budget and level of interest. The most daring of tourists can even sky dive over the island.
The Newport Mansions Viewed from the Harbor
A tour of the harbor will likely take you past the house on the rocks, off the coast of Jamestown, where you will hear an in depth story of the people that built the house then abandoned it following a major hurricane that left them stranded on the rocks for several days. The house has currently been updated and is completely sustainable, utilizing solar and wind power.
You'll get a close up look at nearby Goat Island (but don't expect to see any goats), you'll see the home and grounds where the John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy celebrated their wedding day with guests and a backyard view of several other water front mansions from Newport's famous Gilded Age.
If antique New England lighthouses are your passion, this is a must see tour as several old lighthouses can be seen and photographed during the tour.
If you are visiting Newport for the first time, a tour of the harbor is a terrific way to get a feel of the flavor of the city as well as a firm understanding of the history and the landscape that makes this city special.
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