No one knows exactly where he came from—perhaps a sailor taking shore leave, or maybe a wayfarer exploring the colonies—but locals think they know what he's waiting for. In the 1720s, two travelers checked into The White Horse Tavern—still functioning today since 1673. One murdered the other, fleeing into the night, never to be heard from again. Ever since, visitors have seen the ghost of the slain traveler, saying that he appears to be waiting the day for his companion returns and he may take his revenge.
This is just one of the tales shared by the guides of Ghost Tours of Newport. Cloaked in flowing black dresses, billowy capes, and top hats, they lead each tour by lantern light through Newport's historic colonial district, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the United States with buildings dating back to the late 1600s. Leading guests down easily overlooked alleyways still defaced by H.P. Lovecraft's tagging phase, the guides arrive at haunted locations, such as a wrought-iron-gated colonial cemetery neighboring a church constructed in 1726. The stories behind some sightings and locations even intersect with historical figures, such as George Washington and Lizzy Borden. Guides encourage picture taking and receive submissions each week of possible spectral figures caught during a tour, which they post to Ghost Tours of Newport's Facebook albums. These images range from the impression of faces in windows to orbs, believed to represent a spirit with a fondness for bowling.
Since 2007, the team behind Historic Tours of Newport has carefully consulted literature and publications documenting Newport’s heritage in its effort to chart engaging and enlightening van tours that propel passengers through more than 365 years of history. Expert guides dispense factoids about Newport’s social, religious, and architectural past on 60- to 90-minute Ten Mile Ocean Drive tours, which whisk visitors past a plentitude of sites including Bellevue Avenue’s 17th-century buildings and mansions, Chateau-sur-Mer’s dainty gardens, and the tree stump where town loon Humphreys McCaw declared himself king. Guests eager to peek inside one of myriad mansions detailed on the tour can opt for a Majestic Mansion tour, which permits escorted entry into one of six elegant manors during Ten Mile Ocean Drive excursions. Patrons purchasing private tours can additionally elect the two-hour Newport Now tour, which explores the city’s contemporary shopping malls, farmers' markets, and secret Redcoat-revivalist meeting places or custom design a tour around whatever sites and they yearn to behold.
Newport By Segway refers to its tour guides as Adventure Captains, which is certainly an apt description. While unveiling secrets of Newport's long history, they also introduce their tour groups to sprawling natural vistas that demonstrate why the city is affectionately known as the "City by the Sea." Before every tour, trainers conduct a brief Segway driving course that covers basics such as steering, road etiquette, and how to effectively avoid crashing into a giant pane of glass carried by two men crossing the road. Afterward, groups are ready to embark on a short tour, which charts a course along scenic Bellevue Avenue, or longer 10-mile jaunt down Ocean Drive, through Newport and Gooseberry Beach and along the rocky coastline. All the while, guides narrate each tour via an audio device connected to riders' headphones, as well as snap photos of friends and families along the route.