Though it’s not part of South County, newport is only about 20 minutes away on Aquidneck Island, and can easily fill up a whole day (or night). the City by the Sea became famous during the Gilded Age as the summer playground of wealthy families like the Astors, the Vanderbilts and the Dukes. Though the age of the iconic newport mansions (or, as they were known back then, “summer cottages”) has come and gone, it remains a lively summer boom-town. It boasts a great dining scene, several of the summer’s biggest festivals and, of course, those cottages, most of which are open for tours.
NEWPORT IN A DAY
Here are some suggestions for making the most of the quick jaunt across the bridge and having a jam-packed day in newport.
Hit the beach: take a dip at Easton’s Beach (commonly known as 1st Beach) on Memorial Boulevard, followed by a quick drink at the adjacent Atlantic Beach Club (55 Purgatory Rd., Middletown. 401-847-2750). Looking for something more family friendly? Gooseberry Beach on ocean avenue is more secluded in a cove.
Walk and explore: Get some history (and shelter from the sun) on a tour of one of the Newport Mansions like the Breakers (44 ochre Point ave.), Marble House (596 Bellevue ave.) or Rosecliff (548 Bellevue ave.) For a little fresh air with your history, try the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that overlooks the ocean on one side and many of the mansions on the other.
Break for Lunch
Many of the city’s most revered restaurants offer outdoor patios where you can try the food that made them famous without committing to a fancy sit-down dinner. Try the Waterside Patio & Bar at the Black pearl (Bannister’s Wharf, 401-846-5264), the Midway Bar at Clarke Cooke House (Bannister’s Wharf, 401-849-2900) or the outdoor seating at The Mooring (Sayer’s Wharf, 401-846-2260).
Hit the main drags: Thames st. and America’s Cup Ave. on the waterfront, along with the wharfs that run off them, are packed with restaurants, shops and attractions.
Take in a show: The Newport Yachting Center (4 Commercial Wharf) hosts events all summer long, including the Great Chowder Cook-Off (June 7), the Sunset Music Series (various dates), the Summer Comedy Series (various dates), the Blues & BBQ Festival (tba) and the Waterfront Reggae Festival (august 9).
Have an extravagant dinner: Tallulah on Thames (464 thames st., 401-849- 2433) is known for its seasonal, market-driven menu. The Spiced Pear (117 Memorial Blvd. 401-847-2244) in the Chanler Hotel epitomizes haute cuisine. Castle Hill Inn (590 ocean ave. 401-849-3800) is a top notch restaurant in a gorgeous seaside resort.
Or something a little more casual: Thames Street Kitchen (677 thames st. 401-846-9100) and Salvation Café (140 Broadway. 401- 847-2620) are part of the young vanguard of restaurants offering high-end fare without the fine dining fuss. The Smoke House (31 scotts Wharf. 401- 848-9800) is up-scale barbecue in an outdoor bar setting.
Drink where the locals do: Broadway is a densely clustered strip of hip bars and restaurants, including Norey’s (156 Broadway. 401-847-4971), a craft beer bar; Pour Judgement (32 Broadway. 401-619-2115), a local favorite watering hole; and The Fifth Element (111 Broadway. 401-619-2552), a stylish bar and grill.
Have a cocktail (or several): Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen (41 Bowens Wharf. 401-849- 7778), Midtown Oyster Bar (345 thames st. 401-619-4100) and Christie’s (14 Perry Mill Wharf. 401-847-5400) are known for their trendy bar scenes.