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Been there, done that? I don’t think so. . .

“Been there, done that” does not apply to our City By The Sea. Even if you have been here before, each new visit will open new doors of exploration.

Newport, you see, has nine cities to explore. The “Nine City” legend comes from Theophilus North, a novel by Thornton Wilder published in 1973.

Wilder describes Newport’s First City as the town’s earliest beginnings. From the Old Stone Mill (link) which legend says the Vikings built it when they landed here 1,000 years ago. Others date it to around 1660 and credit Governor Benedict Arnold, great-grandfather of the famous traitor. Visit and decide for yourself.

Historic neighborhoods dating from before the Revolutionary War era still stand. You can dine in America’s oldest tavern – The White Horse Tavern, which opened it’s doors in1652.

Fast-forward a few years to Newport’s Second City, an “18th-century town.” Stroll the historic Point neighborhood with homes dating back to the 1700s that are still in use as private homes today. Walking tours are available for history buffs. (http://www.gonewport.com/tours/walking). Touro Synagogue (tourosynagogue.org) is a must-see. The country’s oldest synagogue was built over 250 years ago.

Newport’s Third City, is all about our magnificent waterfront.Newport is the summer berth of sailing and mega yachts from all over the world. Tour the harbor by sail, motor yacht, schooner, catamaran or kayak (links).Newport still has a busy working waterfront with fishing vessels and lobster boats (links) unloading their catch daily.

Newport’s Fourth City shows its military history. Visit Fort Adams, the nation’s largest coastal fortification, which was pressed into service during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. Now it’s a Mecca for summertime crowds gathered to take photos of tall-ship (link) flotillas and attending the world-class Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals. Newport is home to Naval Station Newport as well as the Naval War College and the Naval Academy Prep School. The Tall ShipsÒ return toNewport this summer (link).

Newport’s Fifth City depicts Newport’s artistic side. Perhaps it’s because it is so picturesque, Newport has always drawn artists of all genres. Art galleries abound and if you are an art lover, then you must visit the Newport Art Museum, one of the oldest continuously operating art associations in the country. Don’t miss the National Museum of American Illustration (link), located in a Bellevue Avenue mansion. If you visit in July, you are extremely fortunate as this is the month of the Newport Music Festival; (link) Chamber Music performed in the venues for which it was composed.

Newport’s Sixth City features the world-renown Bellevue Avenue mansions and their eccentric cast of characters. The grand summer homes built for the likes of the Astors, the Vanderbilts, the Belmonts and others. Your visit would not be complete without touring the awe-inspiring Newport Mansions, Rough Point, the estate of heiress Doris Duke, and Belcourt Castle, with their infamous ghost tours. (link, link, link)

Newport’s Seventh City speaks of the servants who, in Wilder’s words, “never enter the front door of the house in which they live except to wash it.” Don a comfortable pair of walking shoes and explore the back doors of the Newport Mansions along Newport’s fabled Cliff Walk (link). Be sure to stop at the “40 stepsa dramatic stone staircase that drops down the side of the cliff to a balcony over the sea. This was the meeting place for the butlers, maids and footmen during their few hours of free time away from the eyes of their masters.

Newport’s Eighth City consists of gate crashers, fortune hunters, and “prying journalists.” You’ll find them all at Bannister’s Wharf and Bowens Wharf, today a cluster of upscale shops and restaurants along the city’s waterfront.

Finally, Newport’s Ninth City, “the American middle-class town … with little attention to spare for the eight cities so close to it,” wrote Wilder.  Newporters will welcome you to share their timeless City By The Sea.

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