Your Town, Your Life: Newport, RI

By Mike Glynn

Reporting by ABC 6 News Anchor John DeLuca 

With so many historical locations to see and places to explore, ABC 6 News Anchor John DeLuca continues our “Your Town, Your Life” series with a trip to Newport.

Each year, thousands of residents and travelers make the trip to Newport to see the mansions, cliff walk, musical festivals, and the Tennis Hall of Fame. However, there are still countless sights you have probably heard of, but may not know their history.

The journey starts here at the Newport Storm Brewery. The idea of a starting a brewery was kicked around one night in the dining hall at Colby. The four friends from Colby officially opened the Newport Storm in 1999. In addition to claiming the title as one of the original craft breweries, Newport Storm operates as a distillery and sells barrel aged rum. Historians know the connection between Newport and Rum all too well as the city was once known as the rum capital of the world.

Derek Luke is the brew master here at Newport Storm and is a believer in bringing the taste of Rhode Island into his creations. In fact, many of the company's beers use local products such as their Blueberry Beer, which is made from hand squished blueberries.

With a strong interest in craft breweries throughout the nation, Newport Storm sees approximately 15,000 people a year for tours and tastings. The tours allow visitors to see where all their favorites beers and rums are crafted and the chance to meet the 12 employees that call the brewery home.

Our tour continues with a trip to a tavern, and not just any tavern, the White Horse Tavern. The tavern, located on Marlborough Street, dates back to 1673 and claims to be the oldest in the country. Once inside, visitors can warm up next to the four original fireplaces that are still in use today. One of the tavern's managers says the symbol in front of the tavern represents hospitality and years ago if people could not read; they would know the white horse meant they could get a bite to eat, drink, and stay overnight.

The tour of Newport continues not far from the White Horse Tavern at the Touro Synagogue.

The synagogue is the oldest existing one in the country and was founded in 1658.  In fact, the synagogue was one of the spots on the underground railroad for slaves heading north towards freedom. It's open for tours Sunday from Noon to 2pm.

Over on Bellevue Avenue, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum has been around since 1747 and claims to be the oldest surviving lending library and oldest library in continuous use in the United States.

Finally, the Jane Pickens Theater was built in 1834 and was converted to a theater in 1919. Originally called the “Strand” until 1974 when it was named after former resident and socialite Jane Picks, who was also a singer, actress, and philanthropist.

ABC6 News is on a mission to uncover other hidden gems in Southern New England. If you would us to visit your neighborhood, click on the “Your Town, Your Life” icon and tell us what's unique about your town.