“When you say Old Quarter, it carries an image with it” Newport is, at its best, an exhilarating and thought-provoking journey back through social, artistic, and architectural history. A birthplace of religious and intellectual freedom, it is rich in culture, history, architecture, commerce and urban beauty. This unique city takes it heritage seriously. But something new is happening: our map declares in large type at the top, “Newport’s Old Quarter: The Arts and Culture Neighborhood.”
The designation for the colonial section of downtown Newport is the exciting result of a campaign created by five august historical organizations seeking to attract, please, and inform visitors. The Old Quarter encompasses the headquarters of the Newport Restoration Foundation, the Newport Art Museum, the Newport Historical Society, the Redwood Library and Athenæum, and Touro Synagogue. Seeking to highlight its character and importance, the organizations collaborated on the designation of The Old Quarter to help focus attention on its beautifully preserved colonial neighborhoods.
Newport’s Old Quarter comprises historic and unique architecture, museums, libraries, taverns, sustaining institutions, even a rare house museum with the finest collection of Townsend Goddard furniture outside New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Old Quarter offers Winter Festival visitors a look back at 370 years of history, and offers a unique touring experience within an historic, easily walked geographical parameter.
Defined by stately trees and striking 18- and 19th-century buildings, The Old Quarter is known for charming narrow streets. The heart of this city by the sea is full of museums, places of worship, and other fascinating sites that document the neighborhood’s role as America’s welcoming harbor of religious freedom.
“When you say ‘Old Quarter,’ it carries an image with it. The historic area quickly identifies itself in a descriptive and memorable way. It has a certain sophisticated sound,” says Pieter Roos, executive director of the Newport. Restoration Foundation, which offers a variety of walking tours in conjunction with the Newport Historical Society, with various themes, of The Old Quarter. “There is nothing in The Old Quarter that is more than 10 minutes away from anything else, and the history within it is astonishing,” says Roos.
Living history is experienced in The Old Quarter’s galleries, shops, taverns, and restaurants and on the vibrant streets of this timeless arts-and-culture neighborhood. There is something for every age and interest in The Old Quarter.