Newport, RI
[ The Point and Goat Island]
[map here]
... History Preserved,
an Island "Repurposed"

Newport Harbor Walk: Newport Bridge, Green Light. St. John Church
Newport Harbor Walk                             Newport Harbor Walk South
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Also See: Newport Cliff Walk  and  Newport's Ten Mile Drive
        Newport Harbor Walk Steamer PlymouthHarbor Walk North provides a two-dimensional view of the colonial harbor area of Newport. Here's where the tall ships arrived from England and where Newport merchants re-shipped their cargos throughout the colonies. Most of the today's main harbor south of the Causeway at that time was too shallow for tall ships, and eventually was dredged deeper over a hundred years later.

        During the War for Independance in the late 1700s this original "Point" working waterfront was devastated when British troops chopped up docks for firewood during the winter. Subsequently this mini village became entirely residential with a large number of the early colonial homes in addition to larger Victorian homes highlighting the area. Before the causeway was built in 1962, this was a major Federal channel into Long Wharf.

        All of this residential Point tranquility is opposite a completely many time repurposed island bought from the Narragansett Indians in the 1600s. Goat Island is mostly remembered as an active Navy base which topped out when the entire island became the torpedo manufacturing center in the 1940s.

        Newport Harbor Walk Goat Island possibly 1870Today Goat Island provides spectacular views of the Pell Bridge to the north, Rose Island toward the west, the East Passage to the southwest. This western seawall abuts a public walk to the Green Light and provides great spectator area for the active sailboat racing and practice area right off the breakwater. On the east side south of the causeway is an ideal photo spot of the main harbor waterfront as the Sun goes west. Goat Island is privately owned.

        The magenta line on Google map below is just a suggested route to mark your adventure. If there are no signs telling you to stay away, feel free to explore.

  • Newport Harbor Walk, Hunter House
  • Newport Harbor Walk Victorian Detail
  • Newport Harbor Walk Van Zandt Pier
  • Newport Harbor Walk Sarah Kendall House
  • Newport Harbor Walk walkers on Washington St.
  • Newport Harbor Walk colonial houses on Washington St.
  • Newport Harbor Walk Willow St. Driftway
  • Newport Harbor Walk Elm St. Pier
   11.       Start Harborwalk North on Washington St. at Storer Park which was willed by the Storer Family for a park for mothers and children, and is one of Newport's most popular waterfront parks. Where its seawall meets the causeway is a favorite spot for local fishermen. Here also is a rarely seen waterside basketball court.

        The park is the start of the now residential Point Section, as well as the turning point to Goat Island over the Goat Island Causeway. President George Washington landed at the south end of this street on one of his visits and citizens named it Washington St.

        The historic "Point" section was home to boat builders, craftsmen, sea captains, merchants, and fishermen. They lived and worked closely with the sea and were in daily contact with the large bustling wharves lining this part of the Newport waterfront over 200 years ago.

        The driftways, originally access to the wooden docks for tall ships all along this part of the waterfront, were subsequently used to allow hurricane tides to flood the streets without damaging the homes. But these ends of streets ensured the public's right to access to the shoreline. With the help of Friends of the Waterfront in the early 1980s, all Point driftways are designated Public Access Rights of Way by the RI Coastal Resources Management Council: Elm St., Poplar St., Willow St., Walnut St., Chestnut St., Cherry St., Pine St., Battery St., VanZandt Ave., and Cypress St.].

        Continue north along the shore to Hunter House, restored by the Preservation Society, as an example of the finest eighteenth century colonial architecture and furnishings. Its formal garden overlooks the water and Elm St. Pier. There is a path along the sea wall. Hunter House resident history illustrates the diversity that occured over the centuries: Tories, French Navy, diplomats, physicians, and a boarding house to Catholic nuns.

        The Sarah Kendall House across from Hunter House is an eloquent empire Victorian frame home, built in 1871 for Sarah Kendall, wife of a wealthy shipping merchant.

        Just north of Hunter House is the Elm St. driftway, boat ramp, and pier. While not an "approved" swiming area, the pier and its earlier versions, have hosted kids facinated by jumping off the dock's end for centuries.

        Walk out to the end of the pier to look north to the Pell [Newport] Bridge and west to the over 100-year-old Green Light at the north end of Goat Island.         As you walk north from Storer Park each block offers fine examples of eighteeth and nineteenth century architecture.

        While not all on this waterfront walk the Newport Restoration Foundation has 27 historic homes close by. On the corner of Poplar and Washington are former Quaker homes. The Captain John Warren House (1736), a Georgian colonial is at 62 Washington St.

        The Dennis House (1740) is the rectory of St. John's Church, a gothic style Anglican church.

        Across the street, a fortune made during the Civil War built the Sanford-Covell House, its interior and exterior a fine example of a Victorian summer house.

        The John Tripp House (1720) was moved down from Providence on a barge, and is noted for its rare stone end chimney with an ornamental beehive oven.

Dyre Carr House ... 1740         From Granddad Carr's will: "I give my son Robert my dwelling house and wharf from the corner post that leads into the well yard upon a straight line to the sea, and to have all the land upon the straight line from that post adjoining to the house and pasture."

        Tripp-Southwick House 1758/1880 combines elements of over two centuries of remodeling.

        Battery Park (1877) built on the earthenworks of Fort Greene, provides a scenic place to relax and view spectacular sunsets over Newport Bridge.

        This colonial battery for the British was an American defense site in the War of 1812. Photo on left is just after WW1 when U.S. Navy battleships were anchored in the bay. A few steps down the driftway is Blue Rocks, a favorite swimming place, where you can see parts of the fort's old face.

       Van Zandt Pier has been a popular place for fishing and youth swimmers for generations. At low tide the steps allow the adventurous access to the shore.

       The Bridge crosses this fine friendly neighborhood which borders Navy land to the north. But the Navy no longer needs the property and it should be available soon for non military use. Before the Bridge was built, Washington St. extended to the Navy base. Over the next five years decisions will be made as to how far north the Newport Harbor Walks will reach.

       Public access all along the shoreline has been guaranteed between the high tide and low tide marks. The driftways or steps allow easy acces to the water at every street along the way, but passage along the shore is often under water at higher tide.
  • Newport Harbor Walk Hyatt from the bridge
  • Newport Harbor Walk view from Goat Island  West seawall
  • Newport Harbor Walk Goat Island Seawall Walk
  • Newport Harbor Walk Goat Island Green Light
  • 12 IMG_5669pm
   12.       The Causeway Bridge to Goat Island adds another adventure to the Newport Harbor Walk experience. Goat Island, bought from the Narragansett Indians in 1658, has a history rich in goat raising, pirate burials, fortifications, and a heavy history under Navy ownership. Most of the torpedos used in WWII were made here. The causeway was built over the second main entranceway into the harbor heavily used by the steamships of the New York Fall River Line. See this PDF for a comprehensive history.

        Green Light on Goat Island was the key light for ships entering the Harbor from the north. Currently in the water off Green Light and running just north of the Newport Bridge is the possible last resting place of Captain Cook's ship the Endeavor. Goat Island during WW2 was the site of the main U.S. Navy torpedo manufacturing center.

        Public access on the east side of the island facing the harbor is on Goat Island Marina with mutiple docks and a restaurant. The south end of the island is a gated condo development.

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v.7.21.2015 copyright and Newport, RI 02840 and Naples, FL 34102
This Newport Harbor Walk website remains under construction. We welcome information or photos anyone would like to share. Web Master