Common Burying Ground

Friends of Island Cemetery, Newport Historical Society, Belmont Chapel Foundation, and the Newport Restoration Foundation are coming together to offer tours of Newport’s historic cemeteries.

By decree of RI House Resolution H7350, approved in January 2016, Saturday, April 16, 2016, is officially “RI Historic Cemetery Restoration & Awareness Day.” To commemorate the day and draw attention to ongoing preservation efforts, free of charge walking tours will take place at both the Common Burying Ground and the Island Cemetery. This pair of cemeteries were added to the National Register of Historic Places as a single listing in 1974.

The Common Burying Ground tour , conducted by Newport History Tours, a collaboration of the Newport Historical Society and the Newport Restoration Foundation, departs promptly at 1pm from Brick Market: Newport History Museum & Shop, 127 Thames Street, at the foot of Washington Square. Your guide will share stories of the early stone carvers whose work remains all these hundreds of years later, and tell you about the diverse assemblage, from William Ellery to Ida Lewis, all buried in this noteworthy place. The tour includes a visit to “God’s Little Acre,” possibly the oldest and largest surviving collection of markers of enslaved and free Africans in America.

Immediately following, the Island Cemetery will step off from the administration building located at 30 Warner Street. Hosted by the newly formed group, Friends of the Island Cemetery, a tour of the adjacent historic cultural landscape, will step off at approximately, 2:30pm. Within the gates of this renown private cemetery rest many of Rhode Island’s first families. Such notable characters as the legendary brothers, Oliver Hazard and Matthew Calbraith Perry, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and famed financier August Belmont, are among the many prominent people interred there. This narrated walking tour is an exceptional opportunity for those interested in Newport history, art, preservation, genealogy, or who wish to experience the beauty of these unique historic landscapes.

An added rare glimpse of recently stabilized Belmont Chapel will be included in the Island Cemetery tour. The Belmont Chapel Foundation, a group formed to raise awareness and funding to restore the historic chapel,, will open their doors for tour members to view the historic interior, graced with one of a kind artwork and architectural details.

Common Burying Ground Tour reservations may be made online HERE or call 401-841-8770.

Reservations for the Friends of Island Cemetery/Belmont Chapel tour may be arranged by contacting, Matt McEntee, 847-4646, Reservations are strongly suggested for both tours.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.