The Best Ways to See the Mansions in Newport, RI

Who doesn’t love experiencing the grandeur of days gone by? To imagine a world in which America’s wealthiest families once lived and to see the stunning opulence of their famed summer homes is truly a unique experience – and that’s why the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island have endured as such a popular tourist attraction. Though at least one mansion is typically open throughout the year, we’re entering the season in which more of them are open. 

Though you can tour the mansions and even participate in seasonal events, you can also see these spectacular homes from a sun-drenched seaside stroll on the Newport Cliff Walk. Apart from the mansions themselves, walking along this cliff-hugging oceanside path is one of the most popular things to do in Newport, RI. Its possible to see some of the most majestic mansions in Rhode Island from the Cliff Walk, not to mention some of the best beaches and views in town. 

Our Newport, RI Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of downtown Newport, within walking distance of Newport’s Harbor, The Elms, The Newport Art Museum, great shopping, and so much more. From here, you can easily walk to the Seaview Avenue entrance to the famed CliffWalk, or you can take public transit and ride shares to and from various locations in town. Whether you’ve come here solely to tour these splendid mansions in Rhode Island or set sail around Narragansett Bay and otherwise enjoy a seaside vacation, our Newport, RI Bed and Breakfast is the perfect home away from home. Book a room with us today!

Gorgeous coastal views while also seeing the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island along the Newport cliff Walk

See the Mansions on the Newport Cliff Walk

Though you can tour the magnificent mansions in Rhode Island individually – something we highly recommend you do – we also recommend you glimpse them from the Newport Cliff Walk, framed by the grand oceanfront scenery many of them enjoy. Even if seeing the mansions isn’t at the top of your list of things to do in Newport, you should still take the time to walk the Cliff Walk. You won’t be disappointed!

The Newport Cliff Walk hugs the cliffs for 3.5 miles on the eastern shore of Aquidneck Island. It’s one of the most beautiful walks on the East Coast, combining the rugged coastline of Rhode Island with the stunning legacy of Gilded Age architecture. The Newport Mansions in Rhode Island are all historically preserved landmarks within a National Historic District, and the Cliff Walk takes you right through the heart of it. 

The Newport Cliff Walk, designed as a National Recreation Trail in 1965, was the first of its kind in New England. On one end, it starts at Easton’s or First Beach at Memorial Blvd. From there, it winds along the coastline, ending on the eastern end at Bailey’s Beach, also commonly referred to as Reject’s Beach.

There are several entrance or exit points along the Cliff Walk, too, allowing you to break the 3.5 miles up into chunks easily. These exits are at Narragansett Ave., Webster St., Sheppard Ave., Ruggles Ave., Marine Ave., and Ledge Rd.

A great section of the Newport Cliff Walk starts at the 40 Steps on Narragansett Avenue. If you start there and continue south towards Ruggles Avenue, you’ll see the magnificent Breakers Mansion, one of the most commonly visited mansions i Rhode Island. On this stretch of the walk, you’ll also see Ochre Court.

You can also start the walk at Ruggles Avenue and continue until you reach Ledge Road. These vantage points still offer some ocean views, but more importantly, along this stretch, you’ll see several of the most famous mansions in Rhode Island, including Rosecliff, Beechwood, Marble House, the Chinese Tea House, and Rough Point.

Most of the walk is considered flat and easy as it hugs the coastline, though there are times when sheer drop-offs of up to 70 feet are directly next to you. About 1/3 of the walk, near the southern end, is considered challenging as it traverses directly over the naturally rugged shoreline. 

The Breakers is one of the many Newport Mansions in Rhode Island you can tour

Take Tours of the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island

The Newport Cliff Walk is a great way to begin your getaway at our Newport, RI Bed and Breakfast. Not only will you enjoy some of the most magnificent scenery this town offers, but you’ll also get oriented to the town and some of its most popular attractions. Once you’ve glimpsed these stunning mansions in Rhode Island from the outside, it’s time to visit them and see the breathtaking interiors of these magnificent homes. 

Newport’s heyday peaked during America’s Gilded Age, when some of the country’s wealthiest and most famous families, including the Vanderbilts, escaped the city searching for quiet and picturesque summer homes. What we now consider some of the most opulent mansions in Rhode Island were once called the “summer cottages” of these famous families. Today, the Newport Mansions are managed and maintained by the Newport Preservation Society and are open at various times throughout the year for public tours and events. 

The schedule varies throughout the year, but one of the most popular homes to visit is The Breakers, open year-round. Once owned by the Vanderbilt family, it is considered the grandest of the mansions in Rhode Island. This stunning home was built in 1895 in classic Italian palazzo design by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. The home replaced a smaller one that a fire had destroyed and, as such, was built with modern materials and techniques to guard against future destruction. 

As you enter The Breakers, we have no doubt that the 50-foot ceilings in the Great Hall will take your breath away. You’ll immediately feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. As you tour the mansion, you’ll encounter stunning tile mosaics, Baccarat crystal for the chandeliers, exquisite sculptures, and intact furnishings. The Breakers has 70 rooms and 27 fireplaces, and the home was equipped with electricity and gas – both novelties at this point in history. 

Of course, The Breakers is just one of the impressive mansions in Rhode Island worth touring. Others to consider are: 

  1. Marble House was one of the first Mansions in Newport to be built as a more modern stone palace. It was a secondary summer home for the Vanderbilt family.
  2. The Elms was modeled after the mid-18th-century French Chateau D’Asnieres. Today, it houses a remarkable collection of paintings, statuary, and tapestries, and its formal gardens are stunning and include terraces, pavilions, and fountains. 
  3. Rosecliff was built by a Nevada silver heiress designed to mirror the Grand Trianon of Versailles. 
  4. Chateau-Sur-Mer is a museum of high Victorian architecture, including interior details such as wallpaper, furniture, and stenciling. It was the grandest home in the area until the Vanderbilt Mansions were built.
  5. Kingscote is one of the more unique Mansions in Rhode Island, constructed in the Gothic Revival style. 

Other significant buildings and attractions in Newport worth visiting include the Isaac Bell House, Green Animals Topiary Garden at the Brayton House, Hunter House, Chepstow, Rough Point, and Blithewold Mansion. Of course, no matter which of these incredible mansions you tour and how else you spend your time here, we hope you leave plenty of time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the comforts of our home away from home. Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to book your room at our Newport, RI Bed and Breakfast today! 

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