Newport News is a wonderful celebration of early history, its protected buildings and excellent museums providing thoughtful insight into the country’s origins. Draped across the James River, north of Hampton, this old city has a myriad of attractions and an atmosphere of rustic charm. Newport News has been around since the early 17th century and continues to impress visitors with its leafy parks and waterfront views.
Newport News’ most extensive display of history comes at the Virginia War Museum, which covers almost 250 years of conflict and weaponry. Tropical birds and unusual animals fill the exhibits at the hands-on Virginia Living Museum, while The Mariners’ Museum is one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. Cafes and local shops fill many of the buildings, offering an alternative style to those on the high street. Newport News Park provides an escape from the city and a chance to encounter otters, racoons and beavers.
There are flights to Atlanta and Philadelphia from Newport News/Williamsburg Airport, although there’s a far wider choice of destinations from Norfolk International Airport, 40 kilometres to the south. Intercity trains take passengers towards Washington D.C. and Boston while long-distance buses leave from the central bus terminal. Newport News is part of the Hampton HRT public transport network, with buses leading out to different suburbs and surroundings Virginia cities.
The city’s unusual name is the source of much debate. The most endearing theory is that Newport provided “good news” and helped colonists overcome starvation in 1609. Other historians claim it’s a modification of “ness”, an old mariner’s term for point.