Sunday, January 19, 2014

Victorian Charm Abounds - A Newport Walking Tour

By Manfrried Rieder Starhemberg

In it's heyday in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Newport saw an incredible building boom and many of the structures are still standing albeit most have been converted to low income apartment dwellings or professional offices. Sadly, the historic hotels and the opera house, majestic stores and imposing lumber and rail yards have been lost to fire or newer construction but many smaller buildings make for a visibly enjoyable walk through this charming city.
While technically, the buildings were constructed in the Victorian style, they were mercifully spared the gingerbread and artifice often seen in New England. Bay windows are everywhere however and many houses have turrets which give a unique charm to the otherwise straightforward construction. If one looks carefully, there are many original stained glass windows and the amount of granite slabs abutting side walks and entrances is impressive.
The center of the city is the blocks around the magnificently restored court house with a clock that, on a good day, can be seen from across the lake through field glasses. Down the street is the Goodrich Memorial Library and from there, walking up Third street, across Pleasant to the right and up to the catholic church which lords it over the whole landscape, then down Prospect street and Second street, there is an abundance of the dwellings mentioned. You can feast your eyes on fine porch columns, ornate windows and the ever present turrets.
Even walking along Coventry street where the "Pick and Shovel" and other businesses have stood for years, one gets a feeling of history, more so because you can walk along the railroad track which had been the mainstay of Newport's booming lumber business for almost a Century. From there you can look at lovely houses across the south bay of lake Memphremagog.
Beautiful and surprising vistas can be had everywhere in this city and a walk around town should make this a worthwhile Sunday destination for everyone.

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