Newport Cliff Walk and Sailing on the Aquidneck

One of the most beloved activities in Newport, Rhode Island is walking the Cliff Walk. When we travel to a new city, town or area, I make a list (mentally or written) of activities we should do. Usually there are a few that we don’t get around to and I am glad the Cliff Walk was not one of them. Since we have been traveling full time, this is the best walk/hike we have done and we enjoyed beautiful sunny, warm weather for our trek.

Newport’s Cliff Walk

The Cliff Walk was first developed by estate owners during Newport’s Gilded Age from 1880-1920. It became a National Historic Walking Trail in 1976. This unique trail combines gorgeous ocean scenery with rocky coastline on one side with views of the historic mansions that Newport is well known for on the other. Along the way are signs with points of interest. The trail goes for several miles with much of it paved, but some portions require walking over jagged rocks that can be difficult to traverse. The trail can be accessed from a few different places in the city, but we began at the main starting point.

View of First Beach from the Cliff Walk

The walk starts out above First Beach, one of the more popular beaches in Newport where people love to sunbathe and swim. The photo above shows a view from the trail of the beach area.

Breakers Mansion next to the Cliff Walk

We walked past a number of historic homes and mansions including the Breakers. I wrote about the Breakers, a Vanderbilt summer cottage last time. Above is a photo of the back of the mansion from the trail which has a commanding view of the ocean.

There are a few gates along the trail and I especially liked this one with its imposing posts and wrought iron. Because of the historic mansions along the cliff and all the improvements on the trail including stone walls, arched passageways, gates and sitting areas, I found the trail to be rather elegant. It was easy to imagine residents during the Gilded Age walking along the path in their fancy attire with umbrellas to keep the sun off. In the photo below, the white building is a sun room perched on the edge of the property looking down on the sea. I could imagine hanging out there on a comfy couch or chair with a book, cup of tea, snack and binoculars.

We walked a good amount of the trail but decided to not venture further when we came upon the portion with jagged rocks. In the photo below I am standing near our turn around spot. I don’t think pictures can show what an impressive day and walk this was.

Sitting area on Newport’s Cliff Walk

I have probably mentioned this several times in my blog, but I love boats and being on the water. While visiting Maine, I had wanted to take a cruise on a schooner but did not find the time to do it. The time was just right in Newport which is a city that is perfect for sailing. Sail boats, yachts and other water craft are quite plentiful in Narragansett Bay where Newport is located. It seems to be a very popular pastime in the city.

The Schooner Aquidneck

There are several sailing companies offering tours and I decided to go on the “Aquidneck,” which is a reproduction of a late 1800’s coasting schooner. It was named after Aquidneck Island which is the island where Newport is located. Aquidneck is an Indian name meaning “Isle of Peace.”

Sailing from the harbor aboard the Aquidneck

While aboard the schooner we were free to sit or move around. After we got out of the harbor, guests were welcome to help raise the sails with several people willing to give it a try.

Guests help to raise the sails on Aquidneck

Narangansett Bay was a beautiful place to sail and the weather was perfect as well. We were joined by many other happy sailors that day as we cruised past various landmarks and points of interest.

A beautiful sailboat on Narangansett Bay

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this look at two favorite Newport activities.

1 thought on “Newport Cliff Walk and Sailing on the Aquidneck

  1. Matthew Morrison

    Wow, that sounds like a beautiful day. The sailing sounds fun! Was the water warm? were people swimming? Great pics!

    Reply

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