The Mansions tour is one of those outings that seems like you only do it to see what all the talk is about. Indeed, once you do it, you think can check it off your list… except there’s more to it than that.
There was no photography allowed inside of the house and there were plenty of old ladies watching everybody like hawks, so I didn’t dare sneak a shot. The $19 entrance fee was kind of expensive, but the inside is pretty awesome. The wiki link has some shots. Every room on the inside was designed in its own unique way, one even with platinum on the walls. The outside had some pretty interesting architecture as well.
What I imagined before visiting was that there are jaw-dropping houses sitting right on the ocean and you can walk around, perhaps on some sort of boardwalk, and gawk at the lavish extravaganza. Not quite so. Lavish extravaganza equals extreme privacy, so most of the houses are fenced off and hidden by thick vegetation (and, in some cases, by barbwire). As far as I understand, the Cliffwalk travels entirely through private property. Most of the properties are somebody’s summer houses, but several houses have been designated as historical landmarks. You can see some of the buildings from the walk but most are hidden behind bushes.
If you return via Bellevue Ave, you will travel past some more mansions, many of the same ones you passed on the cliffs, but from the front. It seemed like most of the tourists just drive down this street and try to peek at what they can; walking certainly beats driving.
I’ll say, though, that I enjoyed the hike on the cliffs more than the mansions. The view of the ocean, the sun, the terrain were much more interesting to me.
This was a pretty good daytrip and while we didn’t explore the town more, I felt that coming to Newport for more than a day might be on the boring side. As an additional activity I highly suggest a visit to the nearby Easton Beach to spend some time under the sun/in the water, as wandering around the cliffs alone is tiresome. There were people swimming off the Cliffwalk in several places, but it seemed like the area is too rocky for that. Take note that the trip starts out easy on a paved road but later turns into a hike, once you are traversing the cliffs.
Many people go road biking here, mostly on Bellevue Ave., it seems. I thought the idea is dangerous, since there are many tourists driving down that same road, trying to sightsee. So you have to watch out for the distracted drivers and I imagine that would distract you from sightseeing. But riding through without stopping to take pictures would probably work fine. There is a trolley that runs through the street, so there’s an option of riding it if you’re tired or as an alternative to walking.
Free for the cliff walk, $19 to enter The Breakers. There are other mansions you can visit, I don’t know what the prices are. The Breakers mansion is worth a glance.
Did not eat anywhere, but I believe I saw pizza shops in town.
No info here.
Visiting Providence might be a good idea. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge seemed like an interesting place for hiking, but we didn’t make it there.
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