If you’ve ever wondered what life was like for ultra-wealthy American industrialists such as Cornelius Vanderbilt II, J.P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, and others during the Gilded Age in America (1870s to 1900), you need to only schedule one or more of the Newport Rhode Island shore excursions available when your cruise ship calls on this engaging New England cruise port.
Newport, Rhode Island has long been known as a summer playground for the uber-wealthy who looked to escape oppressive city heat, and their need for comfort and cosseting ushered in a period of extravagant building, lavish entertaining, and phenomenal growth that can be seen and imagined, if not experienced, when you book Newport Rhode Island cruise tours.
To experience Newport’s fabulous coastline and its exquisite views, put on your best walking shoes, follow your guide, and set out on Cliff Walk, a 3½ mile National Recreation Trail that runs north to south on the Easton Bay side of the island, around the island’s southern tip. Along with discovering the glorious natural beauty of the walk featuring wildflowers, birds, and rugged coastline, you’ll tour The Breakers, Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s storied Italianate mansion, and the grandest of Newport’s historic summer “cottages.” Its opulently decorated rooms are so treasured that the home and its lushly landscaped grounds are given National Historic Landmark status.
Along with a tour of The Breakers, another of the available Newport Rhode Island shore excursions, includes a tour of magnificent Marble House, the summer home built for William Kissam Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s eldest son. The 50-room house, modeled on the Petit Trianon of the Palace of Versailles, sits on 4 acres of oceanfront land, and is so named because it contains almost 500,000 square feet of marble.
The history of Newport has always been tied to the sea, from Colonial sea captains who made it their home, to captains of industry sailing in for the summer on spectacular yachts. So it naturally followed that Newport became a yachting and regatta destination, and eventually home the prestigious America’s Cup. And whether you have a yen to hoist sails or are looking to sit back and relax, booking Newport Rhode Island shore excursions that offer a sail around Narragansett Bay on a 65-foot private yacht, with a dock tour of America’s Cup winners, or a harbor cruise to Rose Island Lighthouse and Fort Hamilton are excellent ways to enjoy a day ashore.