Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jewish Heritage Travel: Newport, RI

Newport is one of those towns of breath-taking beauty that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. At the end of the nineteenth century, anyone who was anyone in New York society had a "cottage" (mansion) in Newport. Today, the Newport Preservation Society offers tours of many of the most elegant of these homes, along with colonial gems like the Hunter House.

Before the Revolutionary War, Newport was a crucial port of call on early trade routes. It was also home to one of the most important early American Jewish communities. The collapse of the economy following the war meant many members of the Jewish community left, but many fine examples of colonial architecture remain in the town, including homes of several prominent Jewish families. The Newport Historical Society offers a wide range of tours of local landmarks. Walking tours of Jewish Newport are also available through the Touro Synagogue, America's oldest synagogue and a national historic site. Military history buffs will want to visit Fort Adams.

Interested in visiting Newport? I recommend the Inn on Bellevue. The rates are reasonable and the location is superb. If you are staying for at least a week, it is worth asking if there is a special "extended stay" rate. Those with more to spend may want to try The Hotel Viking or the Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel & Spa, located on magnificent Goat Island.

All Photos by Laura Leibman, 2007.
Top: Cliff Walk
Second: The Breakers
Third: Fort Adams
Bottom: Touro Synagogue


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