People certainly have their preconceived thoughts and stereotypes of what Newport is like and what the people of Newport must be like.

For example, when you google “Why is Rhode Island…” the first six answers that come up is boring, small, liberal, expensive, corrupt and haunted. We’ve all been asked by tourists, locals and everyone in between at least one of those questions.

Here’s hoping this list helps prove that some of the most popular stereotypes about The City By The Sea and its people, just simply aren’t true!

1 – We are all rich or have more money than we know what to do with…

According to the United States Census Bureau, Newport ranks among the top 10 cities in Rhode Island (there are 39 towns/cities) for persons below poverty level. For those that don’t know, the federal poverty level being defined in 2012 as an income of $19,090 for a family of three.

10.8% of people who lived in Newport between 2009 – 2013 lived below poverty level, compared to 13.8% of people for all of Rhode Island.

2 – We’re all sailors or own a boat…

While most of us enjoy when the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Newport Boat Show or any other sailing event comes to town, it would be arguably safe to say that most folks who call Newport home don’t own a boat and chances are don’t sail often and/or have never sailed.

3 – We all live in a mansion…

While some of us may know someone who lives in a mansion, many of us local folk work 60 hours a week or two jobs so we can live in a $1,050 one-bedroom 450 square foot apartment. We skip subscribing for cable because that stuff is too expensive, everything we need we can watch on our computer with Netflix (and chill).

4 – We all wear Nantucket Reds, Boat Shoes & Sweaters around our waist…

This is not us, they are from New York or Connecticut and yes it’s true their fathers are probably lawyers or doctors.

5 – We only eat seafood…

You might be surprised to find that you can find more restaurants that specialize in something else other than seafood in Newport. Believe it or not, you’ll find many local folk who do enjoy seafood.

6 – We’re all drunks…

We are lucky to have 75 liquor licenses plus another 10 or so BYOB locations within walking distance of our small city. With that said, not all of us drink and bar crawl from 9am until 1am every day of the week; we are all much more responsible than that and only do that on weekends.

7 – We’re all from here…

Even if we moved here the day after we were born, we’re not from here. The white hairs and true locals will tell you that you’re only really from Newport if you were born in a hospital that’s located in Newport, Newport Hospital or the ol’ US Naval Hospital.

So if you ask someone “are you from here?” and expect to just follow up that question with “can you tell me how to get to The Breakers?”, don’t fault us for stumbling over an answer to the first question. We’ve all been told and scolded from the Newport Hospital babies that no matter how much we do for the community or how long we’ve lived here that we can never say we’re from here.

8 – We all hate tourists…

Listen, the majority of folks that call Newport home all year long work in the hospitality industry. That means we love it when you come here and spend your hard earned money in our stores, restaurants, hotels, inns and tourists attractions. We just hope that while you’re here that you will respect our city, drive the speed limit and if all of a sudden you have a great thought that stops you in your tracks while walking down the street, that you move out of the center of the sidewalk and let us get by.

9 – We all came here to retire and hate live music and fun

Those are only the people who complained about the concerts at the Newport Yachting Center, the people who showed up at Newport City Council meetings to fight Newport Waterfront Events from hosting concerts at Fort Adams State Park and the people who complain about O’brien’s, Smoke House and/or Blues, Pelham and Speakeasy having music after their bedtime (8pm).

If you want to take them back to where you’re from and let them retire there, the majority of locals would help you with the move.

10 – We never leave the island

I suffer from Islanditis with the best of them and even for me this isn’t true, I’ve left the island twice in the last 8 months (once in July and once in October)!

11 – It’s not as expensive as you think…

Locals know (thanks in part to What’sUpNewp) what restaurants have deals, discounts and specials on any given night. While 22 Bowen’s and/or The Chanler at Cliff Walk is a GREAT meal, we’re not dining there every weekend.

12 – There’s so much traffic…

The majority of locals park their cars (not in Harvard Yard) and walk, bike (the right way down the street, you know WITH traffic) or moped it. It’s the tourists, not the locals that cause the traffic.

More From What’s Up Newp

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to

One reply on “12 Newport Stereotypes That Simply Aren’t True”