The highest compliment I could ever give a city is to compare it to my numero uno—Charleston, SC. And in my eyes, Newport, RI is the Charleston of New England. Elegance, sophistication, a rich and fascinating history, incredible restaurants and a coastline that will leave you speechless—Newport has it all. So grab your besties because I’ve got your 3-day Newport itinerary planned!
After dropping your luggage at your hotel (I personally love the convenience and sophisticated nautical ambiance of the newly renovated Marriott Newport), head to theinfamous Bowen’s Wharf on Americas Cup Blvd. Smack in the middle of this historic and super trendy area is The Black Pearl. Known for its World Famous Clam Chowder, The Black Pearl’s patio area is the perfect spot to indulge your taste buds while taking in the jaw-dropping boats in the harbor. Once you’ve fueled up on some authentic New England clam chowda, head around the corner to the Adirondack II. This impressive 80-foot schooner is a relaxing way to get a lay of the land—or more accurately, the sea. Five times per day, passengers enjoy a 1 ½ hour sail around the Narragansett Harbor where you’ll get a water view of places like Hammersmith Farm (where JFK and Jackie O. were married), the Castle Hill Lighthouse and Fort Adams. Tickets are available online or onsite at the ticket booth and beer and wine are available for purchase onboard. Cap off your afternoon by checking out the shops around Bowen’s Wharf
(Chace N’ Lulu for the win), but don’t stay too long because…
You don’t want to miss evening cocktails at the iconic Castle Hill Inn. A 40-acre waterfront luxury hotel, The Castle Hill Inn is the epitome of Newport sophistication. While the fine dining experience is sure to please uber foodies (reservations are a MUST), you can get a taste of the highlife without the hefty price tag by enjoying drinks and appetizers on the Inns iconic Adirondack Chairs. These chairs on The Lawn are first come, first served, but the wait isn’t so bad with a view like this. For a less expensive, but a still delish, dinner, stay at Bowen’s Wharf and head to Diego’s. This West Coast-style Mexican restaurant is known for its fish tacos and yummy drinks. The Spicy Maria is a must for you Bloody Mary fans!
Rise and shine and head over to Rosemary + Thyme Artisan Bakery. You’re in for a treat with their stuffed croissants–ham, cheese, eggs, bacon. Don’t fret about the calories because you’ll have plenty of time to burn them off as you head to Newport’s famous Cliff Walk. This 3.5-mile hike starts at Easton’s Beach (on street parking as well as a parking lot are available, but get there early). The hike starts out pretty tame—paved path, with the ocean to the left and ridiculous mansions to the right, but as you pass the Marble House expect more treacherous and rocky terrain. The payoff is worth it—I promise! On your way back, turn down Ruggles Ave and head to the entrance of The Breakers. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, this 70-room mansion sits on the most fabulous 13 acres in all of Newport and is the most visited tourist attraction in RI. The self-guided auto tour is worth the time investment, and if you go with kids, the children’s version is equally as fascinating. If mansions are your “thing”, Rosecliff and the Marble House are also in my top three. The Chinese Tea House at the back of the Marble House property offers light snacks and drinks to tide you over if your stomach is starting to rumble. When you’ve had enough of walking the high life…drive it. Head back into town via the iconic Ocean Drive. This 10-mile road that runs along the southern coastline of Aquidneck Island and passes by the some of the most famous landmarks in Newport. For a little added fun, print out this 1939 map that displays the of Newport’s elite former residents.
If I only have time for one meal in Newport, you best believe it will be at the Clarke Cooke House. Built in 1780 and named after a wealthy sea captain, the Clarke Cooke House originally resided on Thames St. until a developer moved what are now the top two floors to the current location in the 1970s. The restaurant features three levels of dining with the top level, The Porch, being the most formal (jackets required) and the Bistro and Candy Store the most casual. The Candy Store gets my top vote for both food and ambiance. It features a full oyster bar, the freshest seafood and their signature drink (which has become my personal signature drink), the 3G (gin, ginger and a splash of grapefruit juice). They don’t take reservations and wait times can be long, so put your name in and go across the cobblestone street to Fluke. The time passes much quicker when you’re enjoying a drink at their third-floor bar and gazing out at the sunset. For those looking to continue the party later into the night, the basement of the Clarke Cooke House turns into a hopping dance club called The Boom Boom Room. When you’re ready to call it a night, I highly recommend a pedi-cab ride back to your hotel The cost? Whatever you think the ride was worth! Pedi-cabs have no set fee and the bikers can be a wealth of local info.
All good things must come to an end…but first head to the Corner Café for arguably the best breakfast in Newport. The line does not lie—there’s a reason The Today Show and Travel + Leisure have covered this place! From there the options are endless—check out the shops on Thames street, pop into the White Horse Tavern for a beer at the oldest tavern in America, head over to the Spa Fjor at The Viking Hotel for a massage, or head on over to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and hang out with the 3D hologram of Rodger Federer. To each their own!