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Gilded Age North Tree Walk

Visit incredible specimen trees and legendary Newport landmarks. Courtesy of The Newport Arboretum.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  As the center of city life during Newport’s reign as the Gilded Age’s ‘Queen of Resorts,’ Bellevue Avenue has been rightly called... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Fernleaf Beech

Fernleaf Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world. The variety, ‘Asplenifolia,’ is a particularly elegant example of a... More

2. Kingscote

One of the earliest Newport “cottages,” Kingscote is a landmark of the Gothic Revival style in American architecture. When George Noble Jones, a southern plantation owner, build Kingscote, Bellevue Avenue was a farm path.

Like many southerners who owned properties in Newport, the Jones family left Kingscote at the start of the Civil War, never... More

3. English Yew

Yews count among the longest living organisms on earth. The ancient Llangernyw Yew (Taxus baccata) is the oldest individual tree in Europe and second or third oldest individual tree in the world. It is believed to be between 4,000 years and 5,000 years.

The yew is often found in churchyards from the British Isles and France to Galicia. In France,... More

4. European Beech

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world.

The root system of the Eurpean Beech is very shallow. The trees rely on a symbiotic relationship between their roots ... More

5. American Holly

American Holly
Ilex opaca

Native to the eastern United States, American Holly typically grows in the understory of a forest.

Like all hollies, Ilex opaca is dioecious, with separate male and female plants; only female plants produce the characteristic red berries. Many songbirds shelter in and feed on the berries of this northeastern native.

6. Blue Atlas Cedar

Blue Atlas Cedar
Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’

The Blue Atlas Cedar is an evergreen admired for its ornamental silvery blue green needles and symmetrical form.

Native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco, the Atlas Cedar is sometimes considered a subspecies of Lebanon Cedar;

!FUN FACT!
Atlas Cedar forests in the Atlas Mountains... More

7. Information Station

8. Isaac Bell House

Designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Isaac Bell House is one of the best surviving examples of shingle style architecture in the country.

The Shingle Style was pioneered by Henry Hobson Richardson in his design for the William Watts Sherman House, also in Newport RI

The Isaac Bell House is a National Historic... More

More
9. Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak
Quercus rubra

Native to North America, the Northern Red Oak is one of the most important oaks for U.S. timber production and its wood is of high value. It is a long-lived species, with a lifespan of up to 500 years.

!FUN FACT!
The grain in Red Oak wood is so open that smoke can be blown through it from end to end on a flat-sawn ... More

10. Mongolian Oak

Mongolian Oak
Quercus mongolica

Th is Mongolian Oak is one of the most impressive trees in Newport. Its shape is unique with its short, wide trunk and odd confi guration of branches. Notice how it is more wide than it is tall.

11. European Beech

European Beech
Fagus sylvatica

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world.

The root system of the Eurpean beech is very shallow. The trees rely on a symbiotic... More

12. European Beeches

These European Beeches have been sheered to create a manicured look. The younger beeches that replaced declining Norway Maples will be sheered to match the more mature trees.

13. American Sweetgum

American Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweetgum is a common hardwood of the South. An interesting tree because of its furrowed “winged” bark (it is sometimes called Alligator wood because of its reptilian bark) and undulating branches, the Sweetgum has valued fruit that supports many birds and small animals. It also boasts intense fall... More

The Elms

In 1898, the coal baron, Edward Julius Berwind, engaged architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres.

Like many Gilded Age Newport “cottages,” The Elms has a steel frame and a limestone façade.
The elaborate Classical Revival gardens, developed from 1907 to 1914,... More

15. Weeping European Beech

Weeping European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

The strong stature of the beech along with its cascading and elegant branches makes the weeping beech a favorite variety. The branching structure gives a dramatic tunnel effect, and children often play underneath the branches.

Fagus, the beech genus, comprises ten species of deciduous... More

16. Information Station

17. Horsechestnut

Prized for its showy white flowers in early May, this tree is well planted throughout the city. Newport also has a reddish-pink flowering variety, Aesculus x carnea. Horsechestnuts are very tolerant of ocean and wind conditions. The seed pods and fruit are a favorite of children and resemble a buck’s eye. The Horsechestnut, originally imported... More

18. Fernleaf Beech

Fernleaf Beech
Fagus sylvatica


The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world. The variety, ‘Asplenifolia,’ is a particularly elegant example of a European Beech, ... More

19. Purple European Beech

Purple European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea’

Purple Beeches are declining in Newport due to old age, stresses from planting conditions and a fungal disease that attacks many of these vulnerable trees, most of which are over 100 years old.

Other cultivars are threatened as well, but purple beeches appear to be dying at a much faster... More

20. Japanese Zelkova

Japanese Zelkova
Zelkova serrata

Bellevue Avenue is lined with the Japanese Elm. Resistant to Dutch Elm disease, it is one substitute for our native Elm.

Zelkova are related to Elms and can look similar – but their fruit is not winged like Elm fruit, a good identifying tip.

21. Weeping Sophora

Weeping Sophora
Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’

Native to eastern Asia, Sophora japonica is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.

!FUN FACT!
The Chinese name for the tree (槐) is composed of the word 木 ("wood") and 鬼 ("demon"). Legend has it that demons were drawn to the tree; in addition, in... More

22. Rotundiloba Sweetgum

Rotundiloba Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’

‘Rotundiloba,’ or Roundleaf Sweetgum, is a sterile cultivar or “fruitless” variety and has unusual, round lobed leaves in the shape of a star. The straight species has pointed star-shaped leaves.

23. Katsura Tree

Katsura Tree
Cercidiphyllum japonicum

A set of Katsura trees flank this driveway entrance. The Katsura is one of the largest of the Asian hardwoods and has delicate, heart-shaped leaves.

24. Weeping European Beech

Weeping European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

A Katsura (Cericidiphyllum japonicum) seedling is growing underneath the canopy of this weeping beech.

Fagus, the beech genus, comprises ten species of deciduous trees native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North America.

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree, and a majestic Weeping ... More

25. Turkey Oak

Turkey Oak
Quercus cerris

Not to be confused with the American Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis), this Eurasian oak is relatively rare outside of arboretums. Newport is fortunate to have a large collection of striking mature specimens. The acorns are a great source of food for wildlife. Stand back to appreciate the tree’s mighty form and... More

26. Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum

This classic deciduous tree hangs over the sidewalk, offering dappled light and unusually artistic branch formations.

There are many different (over a thousand) cultivars of Japanese Maple, and even seedlings from the same tree typically show marked genetic differences such as leaf shape, size and color.

!... More

27. Weeping European Beech

Weeping European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

This wonderful weeping beech in the far left background of the property has layered out into multiple trees.

28. Paperbark Maple

Paperbark Maple
Acer griseum

Named after its unique reddish-brown exfoliating bark, the Paperbark Maple is a statement piece in the landscape. Recent attempts have been made to acquire new seed stock from wild populations in China because it is believed the current gene pool of cultivated specimens is very small.

29. Tulip Tree

Tulip Tree
Lirodendron tulipifera

An American native and the tallest eastern hardwood (can reach 190 feet in height), the Tulip Tree is one of the most majestic giants of the Northeast. Distinctively-shaped leaves mimic the bloom of the tulip and turn a rich butter-yellow in autumn. The peculiar flowers, appearing in June and July, are... More

30. Purple European Beech

Purple European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea'


Purple Beeches are declining in Newport due to old age, stresses from planting conditions and a fungal disease that attacks many of these vulnerable trees, most of which are over 100 years old.

Other cultivars are threatened as well, but purple beeches appear to be dying at a much faster... More

31. Boulevard Cypress

Boulevard Cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’

The Sawara Cypress (or False Cypress), introduced to the United States in 1861, is native to Japan. The plant pictured in the traditional blue and white “willow pattern” design on pottery and porcelain represents this species. This cypress is a backbone Olmstead conifer; look for it on... More

32. European Beeches

33. European Fernleaf Beech

European Fernleaf Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’


The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world. The variety, ‘Asplenifolia,’ is a particularly elegant... More

34. Yeddo Spruce

Yeddo Spruce
Picea jezoensis

35. Information Station

36. Cucumber Magnolia

Cucumber Magnolia
Magnolia acuminata

Native to eastern North America, the Cucumber Tree is one of the largest and cold-hardiest magnolias. It derives its name from the shape of the unripe fruit.

37. Information Plaque - Frederick Law Olmsted

38. Tulip Tree

Tulip Tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

An American native and the tallest eastern hardwood (can reach 190 feet in height), the Tulip Tree is one of the most majestic giants of the Northeast. Distinctively-shaped leaves mimic the bloom of the tulip and turn a rich butter-yellow in autumn. The peculiar flowers, appearing in June and July, are... More

39. Japanese Zelkova

Japanese Zelkova
Zelkova serrata

In the distance in the Frederick Law Olmsted Park (the former Stoneacre Estate), sit the very first two Zelkovas planted in the city.

Bellevue Avenue is lined with the Japanese Elm. Resistant to Dutch Elm disease, it is one substitute for our native Elm.

Zelkova are related to Elms and can look similar ... More

40. Littleleaf Linden

Littleleaf Linden
Tilia cordata

Note the row of pleached Littleleaf Lindens behind the wall along Victoria Avenue. Pleaching is the art of training trees into formal raised hedgerows. A labor intensive practice, pleaching was first seen in late medieval gardens in Europe.

The Littleleaf Linden (also known as Small-leaved Linden or... More

41. London Planetree

London Planetree
Platanus x acerifolia

The London Planetree is not a true species, but a hybrid tree produced from two different species (in this case, a cross between the American Sycamore and the Oriental Planetree). It was discovered at the Oxford Botanical Gardens in the 1600’s. Its distinct puzzle-like camouflage bark is often used to ... More

The National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) was founded in 1998 by Judy Goffman Cutler and Laurence S. Cutler, to house their art collection primarily from the 'Golden Age of American Illustration.' The museum exhibits American illustration from all periods and styles and kinds. The Museum venue is Vernon Court (1898), an interpretation... More

43. Maidenhair Tree

Maidenhair Tree
Ginkgo biloba


The Ginkgo biloba is the last surviving species of this unusual genus.

A ‘living fossil,’ the Ginkgo tree is one of the oldest surviving plant species on earth (over 280 million years old!). At one time native to New England, and considered one of the most primitive plants on earth today, it was long thought to ... More

44. Irish Yew

Irish Yew
Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’

This Irish Yew is not one large plant but three that have grown together nicely to create a screen for this property.

This fastigiate form of the English yew was first discovered in County Fermanagh in what is now Northern Ireland around 1780.

The yew is useful for ornamental hedges, and needs pruning... More

45. Japanese Holly

Japanese Holly
Ilex crenata

Native to Asia, numerous cultivars of Japanese Holly have been selected for this well-used ornamental.

46. American Hop-Hornbeam

Hornbeam
Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’

The Hornbeam (also known as the “European Hornbeam” or “Common Hornbeam”) is a native to England.

Chateau-sur-Mer

Ushering in the Gilded Age, Chateau-sur-Mer is an Italianate-style villa built for China trade merchant William Shepard Wetmore. A landmark of High Victorian architecture and decor, it was the most palatial residence in Newport until the Vanderbilt houses of the 1890s.

48. Weeping European Beech

Weeping European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

49. Turkey Oak

Turkey Oak
Quercus cerris

There are large Turkey Oaks along the drive with a new generation planted as well.

Not to be confused with the American Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis), this Eurasian oak is relatively rare outside of arboretums. Newport is fortunate to have a large collection of striking mature specimens. The acorns are a great source of... More

50. Information Station

51. European Beech

European Beech
Fagus sylvatica

52. European Weeping Beech

European Weeping Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

53. Japanese Zelkova

Japanese Zelkova
Zelkova serrata

Bellevue Avenue is lined with the Japanese Elm. Resistant to Dutch Elm disease, it is one substitute for our native Elm.

Zelkova are related to Elms and can look similar – but their fruit is not winged like Elm fruit, a good identifying tip.

54. Fernleaf European Beech

Fernleaf European Beech
Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia’

55. Swiss Stone Pine

Swiss Stone Pine
Pinus cembra

56. Japanese Cedar

Japanese Cedar
Cryptomeria japonica

A pair of Japanese Cedars flank the drive.

The Cryptomeria genus (in the Cypress family – not related to the Cedars) contains only one species, Cryptomeria japonica, grand in size and lifespan.

Called Sugi in its native land of Japan where it is the national tree, it is often planted around temples and... More

57. Fernleaf European Beech

Fernleaf European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world. The variety, ‘Asplenifolia,’ is a particularly elegant example... More

58. Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum

The arrangement of these three Maples on the lawn of the Preservation Society of Newport County Headquarters is a common planting style for specimen trees.

There are many different (over a thousand) cultivars of Japanese Maple, and even seedlings from the same tree typically show marked genetic differences... More

59. Information Station

60. Weeping European Beech

Weeping European Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’

Fagus, the beech genus, comprises ten species of deciduous trees native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North America.

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree, and a majestic Weeping European Beech becomes the focal point of any landscape.

61. European Beech

European Beech
Fagus sylvatica

The European Beech is Newport’s signature tree. Native to Europe, it was widely planted during the Gilded Age and thrives in Newport’s temperate seaside climate. Newport’s largest beeches rival the finest specimens in the world.

The root system of the European beech is very shallow. The trees rely on a symbiotic... More

62. Horsechestnut

Horsechestnut
Aesculus hippocastanum

Prized for its showy white flowers in early May, this tree is well planted throughout the city. Newport also has a reddish-pink flowering variety, Aesculus x carnea. Horsechestnuts are very tolerant of ocean and wind conditions. The seed pods and fruit are a favorite of children and resemble a buck’s eye.... More

63. Row of European Beeches

European Beech
Fagus sylvatica

This row of European Beeches across from the Elms was planted at almost an equal distance apart on the front edge of the property. The trees act like a tall hedge without shielding the entire property from the public.

64. Silver Maple

Silver Maple
Acer saccharinum

Not to be confused with the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Silver Maple is a fast-growing tree that will tolerate wet conditions. We must take care where we plant this tree, as it can be invasive.

! FUN FACT !
Silver Maples have samaras. A samara (also called a winged achene) is a simple dry fruit with a flat... More

65. Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum



Sugar Maples are a staple of the hardwood forests of the northern and central United States. Tolerant of shade and poor soil, it is notable that the Sugar Maple engages in hydraulic lift – drawing water up into the shallower, drier layers of soil, benefiting plants in the vicinity of the tree. It is susceptible to... More

66. Big-Leaf Linden

Big-Leaf Linden
Tilia platyphyllos

As you approach the corner of Berkeley and Bellevue, there is a grouping of pollarded Linden trees. This is an artistic pruning style that is begun when the trees are young. Branches are pruned every year, eventually becoming knob-shaped.

!FUN FACT!
The Linden Tree of King Matthias Korvinus near... More

67. Royal Paulownia

Royal Paulownia
Paulownia tomentosa

Royal Paulownia is a well adapted exotic ornamental in United States and a tree prized in its native Asia for timber. Many love this tree for its attractive heart shaped leaves and showy pale violet flowers. The “Royal Empress” or “Princess tree” was named after Anna Pavlovna, daughter of Czar Paul I. It... More

68. Information Station

69. Honeylocust

Honeylocust
Gleditsia triacanthos

Like the Horsechestnut, the Honeylocust can withstand undesirable conditions and provides dappled shade making it a good sidewalk tree.
Native to eastern North America, this salt-tolerant tree provides nice dappled shade during the hot summer months. Branches of the honeylocust, however, can be prone to ... More

70. ABBREVIATIONS FOR PHOTO ATTRIBUTIONS

CCASA2G = Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License
CCA3U = Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
CCASA3U = Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
CCA3U = Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
GNUFD 1.2 = GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2
CCASA2.5G = Creative Commons... More