front: “The Forty Steps, Newport R.I.” with intricately crafted scenic imagery (bowl); Sea Shell (stem); Sailboat (handle tip)
back: marked STERLING; Chas D. Dadley
spoon length: appx. 4.5″
Narragansett Ave, on the Cliff Walk
Newport tradition holds that David Priestly Hall built the first Forty Steps in the 1830s so that his children could have access to a beach on his property at the base of the rocky shore. In 1840 Hall deeded public right of way to the steps to the City of Newport. Over the next several decades Forty Steps became a popular attraction. During the Gilded Age, the spot became a social gathering place for the hired help of the grand estates. Stories of 19th century workers, many of them Irish, dancing jigs to accordion music are a part of Newport’s local history.
Numerous improvements to the steps have been made over the years. In 1890 the original wooden steps were replaced with an iron stairway, which was then destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. Presently, Forty Steps is constructed of stone and cement, terminating at a platform above the water. Carved into the steps are the names of individuals who donated to the last major restoration of the steps in 1980.
Newport Cliff Walk
The Newport Cliff Walk is considered one of the top attractions in Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States. It is a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) public access walkway that borders the shore line. It has been designated a National Recreation Trail.
The Cliff Walk starts from the east end of Bailey’s Beach to the western end of First Beach. There are public access points at Bellevue Avenue, Ledge Road, Marine Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Webster Street, and Narragansett Avenue.
It runs behind many of Newport’s famous gilded mansions, such as Astor’s Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court, and Rough Point, where a bridge is located over an open chasm. Most of the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) cliff walk is paved and it offers beautiful vistas, tunnels, and long winding pathways. The latter half of the cliff walk has unpaved sections and paths along rugged New England rocky shoreline. This section is more of a challenge but it also has impressive views.