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.
Ann and Michael Martini have long shared a love and familiarity with Rhode Island's culinary landscape. Ann left her post at Rhode Island Monthly to work with chefs, restaurants, and food events, and Michael, a professional chef, has let his knives fly at upscale Rhode Island eateries for more than 25 years. Together, they bring outsiders into New England's culinary gems to sample signature dishes, tour kitchens, meet chefs, and get lucky guests’ tongues autographed. Ann coordinates each tour, then sends Michael off with up to a dozen people to receive insider access to restaurants, gourmet shops, and other palate-pleasing stops. For two hours, groups cover about 2 miles of ground at a leisurely pace. There are treats to sample at each stop—although, according to the Sun Chronicle, "What's almost as good as the food is the fact that the chefs welcome tour guests into their kitchens, which in many cases have sous chefs and other personnel beginning to prepare for dinner service."
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 Majestic Cruises provides finless mammals with opportunities to take in the seaside sights of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Embark on a two-hour, coast-hugging harbor tour aboard the Majestic, Newport’s beautifully buoyant luxury yacht. Passengers pause inside the climate-controlled cabin before emerging as boat-born butterflies on one of three exterior decks while voice-over veterans nourish brains with sightseeing scoops, maritime mythology, and fresh air. The boat’s refreshments feature a buffet luncheon prepared on board by the cruises' Executive Chef, Percy Cook, providing mariners with enough beverage and snack options to satiate out-to-sea appetites and includes also includes. Guests can also revel in features that include two full service bars and climate controlled interior decks.
Segway of Newport makes the world smaller by equipping customers with wheeled transports ideal for exploring Newport’s beauteous scenery. Crowned by TripAdvisor voters as the town's best tour company, Segway of Newport offers regular guided group tours atop Segways, Ultra Motor electric bicycles, and Dahon folding bikes. After a brief training session, patrons masterfully steer Segways toward Thames Street and onto scenic 10-mile Ocean Drive. Here, they coast past Newport Country Club and Gooseberry Beach before peering over the Cliff Walk's jagged edges and pondering whether the ocean is bouncy. Ultra Motor electric bikes reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour, driven by feet or their own enchanted power, whereas 7-speed cruisers or 21-speed mountain bikes allow riders to set a pace of their choosing.
The soldiers and military officers that once called Fort Adams home may be gone, but the paranormal energy they left behind still incites shivers in Fortress of Nightmares visitors. Guests confront the supernatural through several routes, one being ghost hunts. These 90-minute excursions into the unknown call upon The Rhode Island Paranormal Research group and knowledgeable tour guides to escort patrons through the facilities, answering questions about the barracks, officers’ quarters, casemates, and slabs of haunted meatloaf in the mess hall. Adventurers get even closer to lingering entities through rental electro-magnetic field detectors and infrared thermometers. Horror also reigns in the Tunnels of Terror, possessed stretches shrouded in spooky light and sound effects, and the zombie-themed Apocalypse airsoft range. Ghost tours offer a less-frightening look into the fort’s history and stories, thanks to a local-folklore expert who accompanies the tour guide.