You absolutely must sail Newport harbor and Narragansett Bay at least once while you're here.
Along with attractions like the Newport mansions, the Cliff Walk and the Ocean Drive, taking a tour of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay is another must while you're here. This boat will take you on an enjoyable journey around historic Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay.You'll be up close and personal with the Newport Bridge, America's Cup yachts, Fort Adams, lighthouses and amazing oceanfront homes. Newport Cruise Company2 Bowens Ferry Landing401-849-3575The Newport Cruise Company operates the Bay Queen, the Harbor Queen and the Majestic. Tours last about 75 minutes, and the tickets range from $18-25 per person depending on the cruise.The Madeleine, with a capacity of 49 passengers, is the perfect vessel for sailboat tours and private events.
If you're into sailing or yachting, Newport Rhode Island is one of the best locations in the world to spend some time. Sail Newport60 Fort Adams Drive401-846-1983You're never too young or too old to learn how to sail!
Sail Newport is located on the grounds of Fort Adams, which is also home to the Museum of Yachting and Eisenhower House.After you're done with your sailing lesson for the day, stop by the Fort for a tour or the museum to brush up on your yachting history. International Yacht Restoration School449 Thames St401-848-5777IYRS is a non-profit institution that teaches the history and science of building, restoring and maintaining yachts.Located on lower Thames Street in the heart of downtown Newport, IYRS is the ideal location to spend a couple of years studying or a couple of hours visiting.
You can tour this school and enjoy its exhibits, and you can even enroll in a week long class where you can build your own boat.Even if you don't want to go inside, just walk by after enjoying a meal at one of our great Newport restaurants.
Just steps from Thames Street in beautiful and historic Newport, RI, students, locals and visitors find the Newport campus of IYRS School of Technology & Trades.
An 18,000-square-foot waterfront building that serves as the school’s main teaching facility. Built in 1831 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Aquidneck Building has been refurbished to house IYRS administrative offices, a research library, and several corporate offices for marine companies.
Located on the fourth floor of the Aquidneck Building, the Museum of Yachting has worked for the past thirty years to preserve the culture and heritage of yachting. Adjacent to Restoration Hall is the Coronet Building, which is the site of the reconstruction of the 1885 schooner of the same name, and serves as a professional arena for major projects. Home to beautiful water views from just about everywhere in town, Bristol, RI is a historic community of innovation and industry just 30 minutes north of Newport in a region of Bristol known as the Franklin Street Marine Corridor. IYRS School of Composites Technology and the School of Marine Systems operate in a 9,800 square foot facility located within an eight-acre complex developed as an innovation and manufacturing hub. Our Bristol campus features state-of-the-art technology and the tools and equipment needed to learn the ins and outs of the composites manufacturing and marine systems industries. During the Gilded Age from the mid-19th Century to early 20th Century, wealthy planters and industrialists, such as the Vanderbilts and Astors, began building opulent mansions along the aptly named Bellevue Avenue to take advantage of the seaside climate, and summering in Newport became de rigueur for affluent society.
Due to its prime location in Narragansett Bay, Newport has long been known as the sailing capital of the U.S. I started with a light overview of Newport history because it provides a foundation for the course of our exploration over the next 4 days. Because of the rich history of Newport, Stu and I began our exploration of the town at the harbor, peaceful in the early hours before the shops open, followed by a walking tour of the charming old quarter, joined by three other couples, 2 from the U.S.
A We strolled down narrow lanes where virtually every house had a plaque proclaiming its historical pedigree, ranging from 1628-1899. We started in the handsome English Georgian-styled Colony House, Rhode Island’s first government building and state house.
In 1782 General Rochambeau threw a banquet in the Great Hall on the ground floor to honor George Washington and there’s a portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart on the second floor. On this tour we entered the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, the oldest surviving private house in Newport, and learned much about its inhabitants and how they lived.A  The house had been expanded and modified to suit the needs of the different families who occupied it and it has been meticulously restored, down to the composition of the paint on the walls, retaining both original and added sections so that visitors can see how the structure evolved. We overlooked the renowned Redwood Library and Athenaeum on the edge of the park, but we returned there on Saturday. We had arrived early in the morning and our room was not ready yet, so we left our bags and armed with a street map walked across town to take the Old Quarter tour.A  On the way we passed St.
Every evening except Friday, when we had a bit of rain, we spent a couple of hours or more on our balcony relaxing and enjoying the view.A  Seas were calm and surprisingly flat on Wednesday and Thursday, but the surf picked up after that, and it was fun watching the surfers off Easton Beach (aka First Beach) ride the waves clad in wetsuits. The front desk ladies were uniformly friendly and helpful and the young bell staff were charming.A  The Chanler offers free car service in black SUVs around town.


The chance of scattered showers in the weather forecast looked more like steady rain, so we decided that it was a good day for indoor activities and decided to tour the Newport mansions.A  While there are still many privately owned mansions along Bellevue Avenue, some of the most grand have been restored by the Preservation Society of Newport County open to the public as museums, as well as being available to rent for private functions, such as weddings.
Unfortunately the Breakers Stables and Carriage House, located about two blocks from the mansion on the other side of Bellevue Avenue, were still closed for the season, so we only saw the exterior and a glimpse inside through an open door.A  We continued to Rosecliff, modelled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles by illustrious architect Stanford White and completed in 1902 for silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs and her husband. We were lucky that by the time we finished our inside tour the rain had ceased and we were able to enjoy the splendid grounds awash in late afternoon sun, which included a sunken garden, sculptures, a carriage house and stables, colorful flower beds and huge, dramatic weeping beech trees.A  We finished just before the site closed at 6 and walked back to the hotel. Fort Adams is named for John Adams, the second President of the United States of America, though fortifications were first established there in 1776 before his tenure. After the fort tour we walked across the lawn to the Museum of Yachting, which included some small boats as well as an exhibit about the Coronet, a 133 foot schooner launched in 1885 that circumnavigated the globe twice.A  The Coronet is being restored across the harbor at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), our next stop. We parked in a lot near the IYRS and entered the building, a restored 1831 Mill.A  IYRS teaches boatbuilding skills to students while restoring historic wooden boats. We drove back to our hotel for a quite disappointing lunch, and then walked over to tour the Redwood Library. We ordered the tasting menu, with wine pairings for me, to try a variety of dishes and were glad that we did. National Museum of American Ilustration Vernon Court 492 Bellevue AvenueA  401-851-8949.A  Sat. CB editor Dan Houston visited America’s eastern seaboard in summer 2013, on a whistlestop tour of a dozen yards. Inspirational, I think, is the one word I would use if forced to keep it that short about my trip to Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts in the early summer.
Taylor Allen, president of Rockport Marine, the yard behind Adventuress – CB’s 2013 Restoration of the Year winner. Greg Rossel is well known to long-term readers of CB for some of his insightful boatbuilding articles written a few years back. The 33ft (10.1m) Reliance Model at Bristol, RI, is a nod to the 1903 genius of Nat Herreshoff.
This is the recreation of Nat Herreshoff’s workroom in the museum at Bristol – on the site of the famous yacht and boatbuilding company.
Nat Wilson is a traditional sailmaker based at East Boothbay, just about an hour south of Rockport.
Joe Loughborough (Loughborough Marine Interests) is a Brit who moved to Rhode Island after decades skippering boats.
New Bedford was built on whaling money and for generations whalers were built by the Beetle Co, until 1921 when they switched to Beetle Cats (boss Bill Womack pictured). Its cruises last about 90 minutes and the tickets range from $27-35 per person for daytime and sunset cruises. You can learn to sail at Sail Newport, learn about yachting's history at the Museum of Yachting, or be trained in the art of yacht restoration at the International Yacht Restoration School.
Home to the School of Boatbuilding & Restoration, our Newport campus overlooks busy Newport Harbor where boats of every type cruise through the shipping lanes and open waters. It has been completely refitted as an open-space shop where students work on coursework and projects. Today the Museum still celebrates the traditions of yachting through informative exhibits, lectures, literature, education and regattas. Among the momentous events that took place here, the death of George II in 1761 and ascension of George III was announced from its balcony and on July 20, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from its front steps.A  Although Rhode Island was the first state to declare independence from Great Britain in May 1776, it ended up being the last of the original 13 colonies to achieve statehood. A The building served as the State House until the seat of government was moved to Providence but continued to be used for meetings, trials and social functions.
It is filled with typical furnishings and implements of its time, though little remains of the original articles in the house, particularly after the rain of destruction in 1765. Established by Abraham Redwood in 1747 and opened in 1750, the library has been in continuous operation since then and retains about 90% of the 750 original books purchased in England to start its collection. We were surprised at how many people were swimming on the weekend wearing only bathing suits.A  I was shivering just at the thought of taking a dip in water around 63 degrees F.
The meal was very good, but not exceptional.A  However, the room was lovely with a scenic ocean view and we experienced a spectacular moonrise as the enormous full moon climbed in the sky casting its glow on the placid sea.
Vanderbilt, younger brother of Cornelius II who built the Breakers, also used architect Richard Morris Hunt to design his summer cottage, this one, true to its name, composed of 500,000 cubic feet of marble.


The fort was expanded in 1799, and on July 4 was christened Fort Adams in the President’s honor.
But first, we walked down to the water’s edge to watch the J-Boat race, which had just begun, so the boats were very near to shore and we got an excellent view of them again as they sliced through the chop.
Unfortunately we visited either on a day when school was not in session, or everyone was off to lunch because we didn’t get to see any of the craftsmen at work.
There are lots of interesting boutiques on this end of Bellevue Avenue, on the opposite side of Memorial Blvd. This is a lovely seaside resort at the southern end of Aquidneck Island, not far from Fort Adams.
Every course was superb, the wines were very good, service was flawless and friendly, and the atmosphere was romantic. I’d voyaged there aboard the Gannon & Benjamin schooner Rebecca, riding the warm Gulf Stream conveyor current north from the Caribbean.
We are thinking that she is possibly the most important restoration in the world at the present time, now that the Charles W Morgan is sailing. We found him setting up shop early one morning in Searsport, Maine, where he is teaching high school kids maths and physics via boatbuilding. We went to their Belfast, MA, offices to find out more and then went for a test run on a SoT powerboat. Using the good-feeling North Sails classic cloth, but also able to source a heavy natural cotton canvas duck – for the suit of sails for the restored whaleship Charles W Morgan for instance – Nat and his team make sails by hand. Now based in nearby Wareham, the company is going strong and has just built a new whaler… for the Charles W Morgan!
Our guide unlocked the door to the austere Quaker Great Friends Meeting House, the oldest surviving house of worship in Newport (1699), and pointed out the original roof and other original architectural features while she described the Quaker community of the 17th and 18th Centuries.A  Though a historic landmark, the building is still used for Museum functions and meetings. Its owner at the time, Martin Howard, a Loyalist, was hanged in effigy from the roof while a mob destroyed the interior and tried to pull down the chimney.
Both of our guides mentioned that the Colony House was the site of the courtroom scene in the anti-slavery film Amistad.A  The building is owned by the Historical Society and is still used for functions. Notecards on the bookcases describe the provenance of the tomes and the nature of the covers (vellum and other skins). A She was refitted in 1984 for charter use, but not restored to pristine racing condition until 1997.
A A In 1825 the fort was further developed and strengthened after the threat of the War of 1812 made the country reassess its defense capabilities. You can learn about the history of the school, see a collection of model boats and watch the work on the Coronet.A  There is still a lot of work to be done to fully restore it, but there are placards describing the work.
Rhode Island was where the pilgrimage began, seeing the famed IYRS school set up by Elizabeth Meyer and seeing Joe Loughborough’s yard where they restored the second-time-famous Dorade (see p23).
A In addition to the original books and modern books, there is a fine collection of rare books and manuscripts as well as painting and sculpture collections and antique furniture.A  The librarians are very helpful and informative and while we were there we witnessed a poetry reading in the old reading room.
A Afterwards, we still had plenty of time and could have visited another mansion, but we decided to just relax, listen to music and enjoy the view from our balcony.A  The wedding was winding down and we watched children playing on the lawn, the family pose for photos and the guests slowly head off. From there it was a road trip up into the beautiful leafy land of Maine to see some of the people behind the restorations that have graced the covers and pages of CB for so long. Adams’ 6 acre parade grounds are so large that the next 3 largest forts on the East Coast, Ft. We decided that if we return to Newport we’d probably stay here, if only to enjoy their wonderful restaurant. We drove home the next morning after breakfast, so that exceptional dinner was a perfect ending to a wonderful visit.
Sumter, together could fit inside its walls with room to spare.A  We learned that forts are not built in a square or rectangular shape because it would make it easy for invaders to hug the walls and escape fire. The irregular shape allows shooters on the walls to reach those attempting to approach from any side.A  Our guide described the lives of the soldiers and officers who lived at the fort over the years, the weaponry and defenses, how it was designed to be impenetrable from sea and land and much more.



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