Top Rhode Island Attractions

NEWPORT MANSIONS: These fabled mansions, the extravagant "summer cottages" of America's Gilded Age portray the opulence of a bygone era. Six of these palatial estates are owned, maintained and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Privately owned mansions include: The Astors' Beechwood, where costumed actors recreate the fabulous 1890's lifestyle; Rough Point, former home of tobacco heiress, Doris Duke; the American Illustration Museum, and Belcourt Castle, summer residence of Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont.

BENEFIT STREET'S MILE OF HISTORY: The most impressive concentration of original Colonial homes in America. Beautifully restored houses, churches and museums overlook the city's historic waterfront. Walking or escorted bus tours conducted by the Providence Preservation Society.

SLATER MILL HISTORIC SITE: Old Slater Mill (1793), "Birthplace of the American Industry", was the first factory in America to successfully produce cotton yarn with water-powered machines. The mill now houses operating machinery used to illustrate the process of converting raw cotton to finished cloth. The historical treasure also includes the Sylvanus Brown House (1758) and the Wilkinson Mill (1810). A reconstructed 16,000 lb. water wheel is still in operation.

INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME: For tennis lovers, the oldest grass courts in America, and the only ones open for public play, can be found at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, located in the historic Newport Casino. The Hall of Fame brings world-class tennis competition to Newport each year. In addition, the Tennis Hall of Fame Museum features displays, artifacts and exhibits covering over a century of tennis history.

NEWPORT WATERFRONT COLONIAL AREA: Beautifully restored buildings, shops and homes of the Colonial Era overlooking the historic waterfront of the "Sailing Capital of the World" and former home to the America's Cup for over 50 years.

THE STATE CAPITOL: Beautiful, stately white Georgian marble structure with one of only four self-supporting domes in the world. (St. Peter's Basilica, the Taj Mahal and the Minnesota state capitol are the other three). Designed by McKim, Mead and White in 1891, it houses the original Rhode Island Charter and the historic portrait of George Washington painted by Rhode Island native and noted Colonial portraitist, Gilbert Stuart.

BLITHEWOLD MANSION, GARDENS & ARBORETUM: Former summer residence of Pennsylvania coal magnate, Augustus Van Wickle, this 45-room turn-of-the-century mansion and 33-acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens overlook Narragansett Bay and historic Bristol harbor. As one of the first and most innovative arboretums on the continent, Blithewold features 50,000 flowering spring bulbs, a Japanese water garden, an 83-ft. giant redwood (the largest east of the Rockies), a bamboo stand, and hundreds of unusual plantings.

MUSEUM OF ART, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN: One of America's finest small museums; its collections include classical art from Greece and Rome, 18th century European porcelains, Chinese and Indian works, Egyptian objects, 19th-century French art, modern Latin American works, and masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the present. Pendleton House, the earliest example of an American Wing in a United States museum, features the Pendleton Collection of American furniture and decorative arts. The Daphne Farago Wing is a center dedicated to the display and interpretation of contemporary art.

ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO: Nestled within 430-acres of the beautifully landscaped grounds of Roger Williams Park is the award-winning Roger Williams Park Zoo with over 156 different species and over 900 animals. The Zoo houses polar bears and penguins, a "Plains of Africa" area with elephants, giraffes, cheetah and zebra, a Tropical rainforest, a Madagascar exhibit of endangered lemurs, and an Australasia area with an open-air aviary and clouded leopard exhibit. Marco Polo Trail features animal habitats including the Dromedary camel, the elusive Snow Leopard, and the Moon Bear. Park also features, Museum of Natural History, a Planetarium and a Carousel Village.

CLIFF WALK: Set high on the ragged Newport coastline, the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk provides some of the best views of the Gilded Age mansions and their meticulously landscaped grounds. Designated a National Recreation Trail in 1975.

BLOCK ISLAND: Virtually unspoiled by progress, this Victorian "treasure island" is located ten miles south of Rhode Island's southern coast. Accessible by ferry or air, the island features quaint architecture, spectacular vistas and delicious native seafood. Charming inns, beaches and biking offer something for everyone. The Mohegan Bluffs rise abruptly to a height of 200 feet above the sea and stretch for nearly three miles along the island's southern shore. More on Block Island...

OCEAN BEACHES: More than 400 miles of shoreline features over 100 salt and fresh water beaches in the resort communities of Newport, Narragansett, Watch Hill and Block Island. Facilities for swimming, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, surfing, skin diving, boating and water skiing are complimented by a large selection of public and private accommodations and dining facilities.


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