No visit to Newport is complete without seeing the city’s magnificent collection of mansions, built by the wealthiest New York families with names like Astor and Vanderbilt, who in the late 19th century chose Newport as their summer resort. These “cottages”, as they were called, were built with no expense spared, commissioning designers to create innovative architectural showcases with lavish interiors filled with imported gold and marble and appointed with hand-painted murals. The grounds themselves are equally impressive in their design and execution, with beautiful terraces and stunning gardens.
Most Newport mansions are on Bellevue Avenue or on the surrounding side streets. Highlights include The Breakers, the Marble House, Rough Point, and the Elms. One of the best ways to see how the wealthy lived is to walk The Cliff Walk. The 3.5-mile (5.6 km) public walkway passes Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Coure, and Rough Point, providing not only stunning views of the mansions but also breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding shores, as well as dramatic sunsets.