Newport, Rhode Island

You'd know why if you were in the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island on Sunday.
At a time when the world seems more disconnected -- ironic, considering how much more connected to each other our technology strives to make us -- there's growing popularity in family-owned properties; places that offer more attention to the needs of individuals or groups, and make a rare connection to travelers that stand out and remain memorable long after a guest's stay.
Once private residences of the rich and worldly, some of the Newport mansions have opened their doors to the public, some becoming full-service hotels for those who want to capture a few moments of a Gilded Age gone by.
You've done the Cliff Walk, you've seen the mansions aka "Summer Cottages." You may have even taken a harbor tour. But here's a list of ways to experience Newport RI like a tycoon, a rum smuggler, or America's Cup crew in ways you never could before.
Newport feels halfway like a field trip to the past and halfway like being a part of a museum of what once existed. Its mansions stay intact, though mostly open for public tourism, giving the town a stately appearance.
It is no wonder that New England's rippling shoreline, gouged out with inlets and bays, was a sensible stop and haven for mariners and colonists from Europe to stop and settle, offering safe harbors and a seemingly bottomless supply of seafood.
The centuries circle and fold in on one another as the installations cohere into a larger meditation, a statement on a certain sea-salted solitude and the lure of unknowable terrains, the affective residue of Newport's nautical past.