Newport, Rhode Island, is currently in the news as the home of the America's Cup boating race, which is due to begin in earnest later this month off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
Newport, Rhode Island, is currently in the news as the home of the America's Cup boating race, which is due to begin in earnest later this month off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean. But the town is also generally known as a yachting centre and the site of a number of mansions and buildings of historic interest.
Newport, settled in 17th Century, became prominent as a port for trade from the West Indies and Africa. More recently it evolved as a fashionable summer resort for some of America's wealthiest families. Now, it is primarily a pleasure centre, with boating and sport fishing among the big attractions.
The area around Newport is dotted with mansions which were built by some of its well-to-do residents. One such is the Belcourt Castle, built in 1894 at a cost of three million U.S. Dollars. Originally, the sixty rooms were the home of a bachelor; now it is possible to tour the Castle and see, among other things, a collection of antiques. The collection, primarily of European origin has been brought together in the past 27 years.
Among the craft in Newport Harbour are boats of historical interest. The "Rose", now on display in the harbour, is claimed to be the first fighting ship which sailed in the American Revolutionary War.
Contestants in the Cup race are using Newport's facilities to work on their yachts in the pre-trial period. Among them is the "Heritage", one of the contenders for the role of Cup defender.
Newport's appearance of relative calm will change, however, as crowds descend upon the town when the Cup races begin.