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“Fascinating tour”
Review of Hunter House

Hunter House
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Private Day Trip From Boston to the Newport Mansions
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Ranked #53 of 117 things to do in Newport
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Owner description: Hunter House is one of the finest examples of Georgian Colonial architecture from Newport's "golden age" in the mid-18th century.The north half of Hunter House was constructed between 1748 and 1754 by Jonathon Nichols, Jr., a prosperous merchant and colonial deputy. After his death in 1756, the property was sold to Colonel Joseph Wanton, Jr., who was also a deputy governor of the colony and a merchant. He enlarged the house by adding a south wing and a second chimney, transforming the building into a formal Georgian mansion with a large central hall. Colonel Wanton also ordered the graining, or "spreckling," of the pine paneling in several rooms to resemble walnut and rosewood. During the American Revolution, Colonel Wanton fled from Newport due to his Loyalist sympathies. His house was used as the headquarters of Admiral de Ternay, commander of the French fleet, when French forces occupied Newport in 1780. After the war, Colonel Wanton's house was acquired by William Hunter, a U. S. Senator and President Andrew Jackson's charge d'affaires to Brazil. The Hunters sold the house in the mid-1860s, and it passed through a series of owners until the mid-1940s. Concerned that the fine interiors of the house would be purchased and removed from the building, a small group of concerned citizens led by Mrs. George Henry Warren initiated a preservation effort, purchasing the house in 1945 and forming The Preservation Society of Newport County. The Preservation Society restored Hunter House to the era of Colonel Wanton (1757 to 1779). Today, the house exhibits examples of the finest achievements in the arts and crafts of 18th century Newport. The collections include furniture by the Townsend-Goddard family, premier cabinetmakers of the colonial era who worked in the neighborhood of Hunter House. Newport pewter and paintings by Cosmo Alexander, Gilbert Stuart and Samuel King are also on display. Hunter House is a National Historic Landmark.
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fascinating tour”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

We have toured the mansions of Newport before, but this house is a livable hpuse with a wonderful collection inside. You must have a guide and the tour is about one hour. We learned a lot!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank laksa23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York, New York, United States
Level 6 Contributor
340 reviews
144 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“One of the Best Reasons to Visit Newport”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

This 1754 Georgian Colonial House is a pearl in the crown of Newport's architecture & history. In my opinion, this house far surpasses the mansions to be seen on Bellevue Avenue in Newport due to its historical significance and furnishings. Hunter House has been meticulously restored and stocked with some of the finest pieces of Townsend-Goddard furniture as well as paintings by Gilbert Stewart, Cosmo Alexander and Samuel King. The guided tour includes both floors of the house and approximately eight to ten colonial period rooms can be viewed. The docent we had was extremely knowledgeable regarding the history of the house as well as its furnishings. Please make sure to spend some time in the lovely garden in the rear of the house which faces Narragansett Bay.

Best option to purchase the tour if you are a couple or a family, is to purchase a membership as individual tickets for adults are $28.00 each. Couple and family memberships for all Preservation Society of Newport County properties and mansions are $75 (2 adult couple, no kids) and $90 (2 Adult couple and all children under 17).

You can find some exterior shots of Hunter House at this link (not my photos):

Visited July 2013
1 Thank eminker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, Rhode Island
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Newport History”
Reviewed May 27, 2013

Hunter House is one of the Newport treasures. It gives you an idea of how the Newport Captains of the triangle trade lived and prospered.

Visited September 2012
Thank Renee K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoneham, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
372 reviews
192 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 289 helpful votes
“Great example of a Georgian House”
Reviewed June 10, 2012

One of the ten properties owned by the Newport Preservation Society, Hunter House is only opened in the summer on weekends . You must take a tour of this house. If you want to see this wonderful house, it is best to become a member of the Preservation Society. As of June, 2012, it costs $28.00 per person to tour Hunter House. It costs only $75.00 for adults (or $90.00 for two adults and all their children under 17) to become members of the Newport Preservation Society for a year. As members, you can visit this house and all other nine properties as many times as you want during your membership year.

Visited June 2012
4 Thank bcnett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport, RI
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Extraordinary step back in history”
Reviewed July 5, 2008

This house is a spectacular example of Georgian Colonial architecture and early Newport craftsmanship. I found this visit far more rewarding, from both an artistic and historical perspective, than visits to the mansions. The tours are every hour, lasting 60 minutes and our docent was deeply versed in not only the history of Newport, but in all the particulars of the museums collection. There is a beautiful, cultured garden in the back, which is actually the main entrance and looks over the water. The interior is a step back in time to Colonial Newport. The entire house is replete with antique furniture, silver, fine porcelain, artwork, woodworking, and original manuscripts. The original dark paneling and hardwood floorboards created a subdued atmosphere as though of candlelight. The majority of the craftsmanship on display are not only originally American, but are some of the finest examples of Newport's own famous furniture makers (Goddard and Townsend) and clockmaking (W. Claggett) - their studios still preserved just a few blocks over from the Hunter House.
At Newport's mansions you will be overwhelmed by the opulence and extravagances of the European imports/reproductions. But if it's authentic early America you want to see, and Newport's history you'd like to learn, I could recommend no better place than this one. Incidentally, the surrounding neighborhood is filled with many significant examples of Colonial architecture, and offers a beautiful stroll.

8 Thank GinevraBenci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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