Camelot by the Coast: The Kennedys and Newport, RI

Camelot by the Coast: The Kennedys and Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island, evokes images of grand estates, sprawling lawns, and a rich history. But for many, it also conjures up a more recent past: the era of President John F. Kennedy and his glamorous wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

Jackie’s connection to Newport runs deep. Hammersmith Farm, a sprawling Victorian mansion, was her childhood summer home. It was here, in 1953, that she wed JFK in a  ceremony that captivated the nation. After their marriage, Hammersmith Farm became a frequent retreat for the young couple, even transforming into a “Summer White House” during JFK’s presidency.

Newport wasn’t just a place of leisure for the Kennedys. President Kennedy used Hammersmith Farm to conduct important business. He hosted foreign dignitaries like Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India and President Mohammad Ayub Khan of Pakistan, holding meetings and fostering international relations against the backdrop of Newport’s scenic beauty.

Beyond Hammersmith Farm, the Kennedys embraced the Newport lifestyle. They were often seen sailing the picturesque waters of Narragansett Bay on the presidential yacht, the “Honey Fitz,” named after JFK’s grandfather. They also attended social gatherings and events like the prestigious America’s Cup races.

The Kennedy legacy lives on in Newport. Hammersmith Farm remains a private residence, but visitors can still experience the charm of the city that played a significant role in their personal and political lives. The John F. Kennedy Library’s archives even house footage of the Kennedys enjoying their time in Newport [silent motion picture footage of President John F. Kennedy’s weekend activities in Newport, Rhode Island].

So, the next time you find yourself strolling along the well-heeled streets of Newport, remember the Camelot by the Coast – a place where history and romance intertwined for America’s most iconic couple.