Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Most of the time, I chose the destinations where I go to. I read about them, I get fascinated by them and then I buy a plane ticket, but Newport was totally different. The work & Travel program was the starting point of my decision, but the little town from the Atlantic Coast became home quickly because it gave me an unforgettable experience. It offered me the chance to live a more idyllic American dream. The fire sunsets and the long walks on the rocks went directly to my heart and for 3 months I cycled around, from the accommodation to Taco Bell and throughout the port.
The smallest American state
Rhode Island is the smallest American state, being at the same time very flat, reaching a maximum altitude of only 250m. Newport is not the capital, but it is definitely a reference point. It is a touristic attraction itself, that has a lot to offer, even if at first sight might seem too similar to Europe. I arrived there by the end of June, after some adventures on the way that made it look like a very bad experience that was about to start, so I did not like the town that by the time I was leaving made me cry a little. After a good sleep I hit the road because I wanted to explore the town in order to find again the enthusiasm of the Romanian student who decided to live the American dream.
What to visit in Newport
Thames Street came out of my way unexpectedly as I was walking down the streets, only to find out later that it is considered by locals to be the heart of Newport. About 2km long, here you can find everything: elegant restaurants, chic bars, souvenir shops. This is the center of the whole Newport action, I also spent many free evenings in the live music bars on this street and took advantage of every morning available to have breakfast with the friendly seagulls.
I continued my walk along the ocean, on some rocks where the waves crashed angrily. It was a dark day, but that walk relaxed me in a special way. Cliff Walk shows another facet of the city, full of rocks, wildflowers and a lot of history. The old walls, the locals who swim and the tourists who take pictures create a fairytale atmosphere, a mix of tourism and authenticity, which made me come back every time I wanted to gather my thoughts. Along the winding path we found the observation lighthouses, luxurious houses and people who lived their lives quietly, listening to the stories of the ocean, without being frightened by its agitation.
Fort Adams State Park was discovered much later, in the middle of summer, although I often passed it. Located at the entrance to the port, it is the host of the annual jazz festival. However, the place is a pleasant promenade at any time of the year offering breathtaking views over Narragansett Bay, being also known as a good place to have a picnic on a sunny summer Sunday.
The houses in Newport are a well-known tourist attraction, being built in the golden age of the city. They bring to life another image of this corner of the Atlantic coast, much more luxurious and elegant, much closer to what European palaces offer. Thus Breakers, Marble House, Elms and Rosecliff are a “must” for any stop in Newport, with the possibility to buy a ticket that allows you to visit them all, including an audio guide. In the same category, there is Rough Point, which is, in fact, the home of Doris Duke, whose design has remained intact over time. In 75 minutes, a guide takes you on a tour of the house from 1887, making you feel part of that era. We also visited Chateau-sur-Mer, built 30 years before the aforementioned one, this Italian style house being famous for the lavish parties of which it was the host.
Beyond these important points, there is the beach that Newport has, but which I did not like so much. The location of the state on the map makes the ocean water quite cold and the waves quite big. The city museum presents a troubled and diverse history, the Synagogue shows the multiculturalism, and the windmills once again draw attention to the striking resemblance to Europe. The Castle Hill Lighthouse lighthouse awaits the city even today, and can be visited, and the multitude of bars, restaurants and shops with a variety of specialties helps you feel more comfortable, making you forget the typical American food, tasteless or flavor. The various ocean rides, water sports or extreme sensations have a well-established place in a city as small as Newport, making it a luxury destination that many Europeans choose.