WILLIAM & DEBORAH HILLYARD

Introduction

Travel -

Rhode Island
We have enjoyed trips to Rhode Island on a regular basis since 2004.  The focus of our trips is Newport, but we have also visited a number of other towns in the area.  We generally pass through Bristol and Warren on our way down to Newport, but have made several day trips further to explore these two towns.  In particular, we enjoyed visiting Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol.   Most of Jamestown is located on Conanicut Island which is west of Newport and connected to it by the Claiborne Pell Bridge, (aka the Newport Bridge).  Conanicut  is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay after Aquidneck Island.

Newport, Rhode Island, really is a very attractive New England town located on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay.  One of the things for which it is most well known is the collection of Gilded Age Mansions on Bellevue Avenue and along the coast.  Over several years, and many visits, we have visited many of them, and I have included some photographs in the Newport Mansions section.  Generally, these were not the owners full time homes; they were used for vacations and entertaining for, perhaps, six to eight weeks a year. 

Newport was founded in 1639, and soon grew to be the largest and most important town in Rhode Island.  Benedict Arnold became the first Governor of the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations In 1663 when Newport was the capital.  It remained the capital until 1790, when Rhode Island became the 13th state of the Union, and the capital was moved to Providence.  Due to the liberal attitude to religion, there were several waves of Jewish immigration, escaping the inquisition in Europe.  In fact, the Newport Jewish congregation is the second oldest in the United States and meets in the oldest standing synagogue in the United States.  There were also settlements of Quakers and Baptists, and later a large Irish community.  In late 1776, during the American Revolution, the British occupied Newport.  The inhabitants were permitted to leave and the town was garrisoned in hopes of preventing an attack on New York, then occupied by the British.  In the Summer of 1778, the Americans and French started to take back Newport but failed, although the British abandoned the town in 1779 in any case, and moved its troops to fortify New York. 
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