Newport was founded in 1639 on the principals of religious and political freedom. The city rose to become one of the five most critical seaports during the Colonial Era due in part to the infamous Triangle Trade, but the city also became known for its highly skilled craftsman, including the lauded Townsend and Goddard furniture/cabinetmaking families. During this period, Newport earned its standing as the Rum Capital of the World with more than 22 thriving distilleries. However, more than half of Newport’s population abandoned the city during the British occupation from 1776 to 1779. French troops arrived in Newport a year later under the Count de Rochambeau and the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 all but ended the war. (The war officially ended in 1783 following the Treaty of Paris.) The Naval War U.S. Naval War College was established here in 1884 and today is home to more than 42 naval and defense commands and activities.
By the Gilded Age, Newport became a popular summer resort, welcoming America’s wealthiest families with names like Vanderbilt, Astor and Wharton. From 1930 to 1983, Newport became synonymous with the America’s Cup, as the race for one of the most prestigious sporting trophies in the world took place off our coastline. Today, Newport maintains its reputation as the Sailing Capital of the World as host of some of racing’s most esteemed regattas.
Today’s Newport continues to welcome visitors from around the globe to enjoy the spoils of summer in addition to the majestic colors and crisp salty breezes of autumn, the serenity of winter and the reawakening season of spring.
Newport is perched on the southernmost tip of Aquidneck Island, one of the many islands in the State of Rhode Island. In the heart of Southern New England, our destination is located just 3 hours north of New York City and 90 minutes south of Boston, Massachusetts.
From weekend getaways spent touring the famed Gilded Age to an afternoon of wine tasting through three scenic vineyards to sailing on Narragansett Bay, we invite you to experience everything this extraordinary place has to offer.
When you have more than 375 years of history under your belt, you’re bound to have some epic “firsts.” From hosting golf’s first U.S. Open at Newport Country Club, the first National Lawn Tennis Championships and the first International Polo Match to being home to America’s oldest synagogue and the oldest tavern building in continuous use in the U.S., our normally humble selves even must admit: we have some bragging rights. Click here for a full roster. See a complete list of Newport Firsts.
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
With a rich history of being home to some of the nation’s greatest thinkers and scholars, it’s no surprise you’ll find institutions of higher learning in our destination including the Community College of Rhode Island and Salve Regina University, both in Newport, and Roger Williams University in Bristol.