Newport, Rhode Island is a magical play land in the summertime – and a destination many flock to for carefree time by the sea. A place where sandy feet and tradition reign over what kind of car you drive and where its inhabitants live for bluebird days on the harbor. It is a cherished landscape by many — as my piece in Town & Country can attest — and one, that offers so much to experience. Here, I’ve offered a curated list of the Newport classics, the new musts and hidden gems locals are even dubious of sharing…(see our “favorites” marked by the green bench icon). My goal was to “tease out” those resources that are still chic, but with a bit more groove and, quite honestly, an eye to “comfortable prices.”
To set the stage, our featured image is the very accessible Castle Hill lighthouse…who doesn’t love a lighthouse?…(above) where you can sit on the rocks watching the sunset in privacy or have a wedding on the grass terrace above.
Where to Stay
With daring design and striking architectural details, Gilded provides a colorful, “only in Newport” vacation experience. Gather with friends in the dazzling designer guest lounge, challenge your significant other to a rousing game in the billiards room, or relax outside in the private courtyard. Enjoy a late afternoon “G and Tea” at the BYOB mixer bar. Seventeen rooms, outfitted with lots of techie amenities and, a favorite, curated small plates breakfast (think tapas in the morning).
Mill Street Inn
An historic mill that dates back to the 1850’s, the Inn has been carefully restored into 23 guest suites offering the best of modern hotel amenities (i.e. down feather beds, 400 thread count sheets and rainfall showers).
Another of Newport’s design-focused boutique hotels is right in the heart of our fabled city…across the street from the Newport Art Museum and a 5-minute walk from the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum.
Rosemary & Thyme
Rosemary & Thyme has become a sought-after “go-to” continental breakfast/lunch destination where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped off the cobblestones of a European city and into an artisan bakery and cafe; the “Ultimate Grilled Cheese” and “Smoked Salmon” tartine are some of our favorites (take to a beach picnic and be sure to call ahead).
Located in the revitalized “Broadway” district, the little Cafe’ is known as the best breakfast in town, where you’ll find Irish, Portuguese and West Coast influences.
Belle’s at Newport Shipyard
The Shipyard, known as one of Newport’s best kept secrets, puts you in the midst of the premiere yachting action – for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Marvel over mega-yachts and listen to the shipyard hum with boating banter as you enjoy dining on Belle’s outdoor terrace.
The Black Pearl
Located on Bannister’s Wharf, The Black Pearl (affectionately known as “The Pearl”) is undoubtedly a classic fixture of Newport. Enjoy an evening in the newly renovated Commodore’s Room or gather for summer mischief & mudslides on the patio. Some of the coziest stormy New England days can be spent in the bistro dining area, seeking refuge over a cup of chowder whilst surrounded by black lacquered shiplap walls and sounds of Sinatra.
Midtown Oyster Bar
Who doesn’t love a raw bar in the summertime? The handsome nautical aesthetics in the bright airy space speak to the integrity and history of Newport, while the second-floor deck has become a favorite evening hot spot among many for cocktails and cheer (we recommend trying their “Champagne & Shells” — a champagne and oyster tasting).
Pasta Beach is a jewel box of an Italian restaurant on Newport’s Memorial Boulevard. Try inside or dine al fresco on a small veranda, dressed with treillage and a cabana-striped canopy. Note…Pasta Beach also offers take-away for those low-key evenings after a day out on the harbor.
Favorited by many of the locals for Honky Tonk Thursdays and Chef Dan Hall’s innovative approach to Mexican cuisine, Perro Salado is a vibrant “must” in Newport — dishes are always fresh, organic and locally-sourced (the sticky ribs and cilantro-jalapeño margarita, some would argue, are mandatory menu selections).
Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet
This shop features small production, hand crafted, unique wines, craft beers, and boutique spirits, as well as artisanal cheeses and gourmet products from all regions (that are otherwise scarce in Newport). Their accoutrements and ingredients make for absolutely delicious meals or take away! Check out their event calendar for cooking classes and wine tastings.
Newport Aquidneck Growers Market
On Wednesdays, more than 30 unique vendors inhabit the shady walk across from the Tennis Hall of Fame; every offering is grown or made within 50 miles of its location. We recommend bringing a straw bag for farm-fresh provisions (don’t forget flowers for those weekend houseguests) and treating yourself to Tallulah’s Tacos for a late lunch.
Aquidneck Lobster Co.
For a good old fashioned coastal meal, stop by Bowen’s Wharf to pick up cooked and shelled lobster, straight off the boat. Or, stay for a drink and oysters at their Lobster Bar, overlooking Newport Harbor.
Founded by Camilla Bradley, “CKB”, who is known for naming her dresses after Newport events and tastemakers, you’re bound to find chic and playful clothing and accessories at CK Bradley that will turn heads. Think: pom pom straw bags, tassel earrings & palm-printed dresses that will take you from beach to evening.
A Newport staple on William Street, Kristina Richards Studio boasts a sophisticated, beach-chic vibe which covers the spectrum, from designer jeans and casual tops to swimwear and skirts to cocktail dresses and semi-precious jewelry. Kristina has found the perfect balance by mixing up-and-coming designers with mainstream labels, offering a fresh balance of versatile styles.
Kristen Coates Art & Home
Art curator Kristen Coates is a multi-faceted lifestyle brand including home decor, entertaining and a new home collection, Navy House. Makes hostess gifting a snap! She’s known to host whimsy workshops such as flower and paint nights.
Cottage & Garden
Thoughtfully curated with a nod to the garden and artful antiques, this store is tucked away on a quiet residential street. Among many things, they are sought-after for their elegant selection of myrtle topiaries. It is a terra cotta heaven that will delight and inspire.
Drinks on the Rooftop of Vanderbilt Grace
If you like sunsets and cocktails, then this is your venue. The rooftop is the perfect place to share a night-cap with friends, overlooking a panoramic view of Newport Harbor.
Coastal Living 2017 Idea House
Coastal Living Magazine teamed up with nationally renowned interior designer (and author of the New York Times bestseller Beautiful) Mark D. Sikes, along with A. Tesa Architecture and Horan Building Company to design a seaside home open to the public to view throughout the summer).
Oldport Launch to Jamestown for dinner at FiSH
We love visiting Jamestown where the “island life” – Conanicut Island, to be precise – is alive and well…and what’s better than to commute by water?! The launch leaves from Sayer’s Wharf, arriving in downtown Jamestown which is just a hop over to FiSH Restaurant for dinner (where we love sit outside on their patio).
Drinks & Small Plates and Jazz on Sundays
With incomparable views of classic yachts at the mouth of the ocean, the view from The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn is iconically Newport. Sip a cocktail from an Adirondack chair and recall all your Newport favorites…
Key Calendar Dates Not to Miss
Candy Store Cup 2017 Superyacht Regatta
Newport Folk Festival
Newport Antiques Show
July 28th-30th. Gala Preview Party is on July 27th.
Newport Jazz Festival
47th Annual Newport International Boat Show