Newport, RI is a New England summertime hotspot. With beaches, seaside restaurants and ocean views to die for, most people think of Newport as a summer vacation spot. However, it is just as fabulous in the springtime!
When to Go
Like I said, Newport is in its prime in the summer. But if you go in the middle of July be prepared for crowds. So why not take a weekend trip to this wonderful little locale in April or May? It may be too chilly for the beach, but the weather will be perfect for exploring the mansions, wander through downtown and going on a wine tour.
What to Do
Newport has so much to offer. But I feel like the first thing you have to do when you arrive in Newport is stroll down the Cliff Walk. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile boardwalk that runs down the coastline of Newport, passing right in front of the magnificent Bellevue Avenue mansions. With the best views of the ocean and mansions in town, the Cliff Walk is the place to start the weekend in Newport.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to walk the entire 3.5 route, you could take a bike from your hotel (many hotels should have bikes for you to borrow, Forty 1 North has some darling ones with baskets and bells) and bike down Bellevue Avenue and then park your bike at one of the entrances to the Cliff Walk and stroll around for a few minutes to take some pictures of the ocean and mansions filled vistas.
Many people don’t know this, but the Newport area is home to several vineyards. We visited the Newport Vineyards, only about a 10-minute drive from downtown. You can take a tour of the wine making facilities and vineyards outside, the guides are very knowledgeable and will tell you all about the many different varieties of wine they produce on premise.
And at the end you get to do a tasting of at least 5 of the wines while they tell you some more about the different aspects of your picks.
If you’re the kind of person that just likes to stroll through a city, 2 little side trips that you should totally make while you are exploring the Newport downtown are: the Newport Art Museum and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Newport Art Museum is a cute little museum that puts a lot of emphasis on local artists. And the International Tennis Hall of Fame has a beautiful grass court at its center that you have to see.
If you come to Newport in April or May, you probably won’t be spending a lot of time at the beach, which means that you will have time to explore a few of the gigantic mansions that line Bellevue Avenue.
Places like the “Breakers” or “Marble House” or “Rosecliff” are what really have made Newport such a popular destination.
People come from all over the world to tour these mansions. But I have to warn you; you may want to pace yourself if you are trying to see them all because they are so huge that you will be exhausted after touring 2 or 3. On this trip we were able to go through The Elms, The Breakers and Marble House.
You won’t believe just how ornate these homes are, they are very reminiscent of the chateaus in France, and a few of them even directly resemble Versailles—the symbol of opulence.
Where to Eat
Newport has a wide variety of dining options. Thames Street is filled with many good choices.
Midtown Oyster is a great casual American Grill.
Fluke Wine Bar is a more upscale choice.
The Forty 1° North Grill is a chic place for a cocktail or a few bites before you head out for the night and it even turns into a place to be seen as the night moves along.
Where to Stay
Newport is so glamorous, you need to choose a hotel that matches that vibe. And Forty 1° North does just that; it is a gorgeously chic boutique hotel located right on the water and has the perfect location for enjoying the city. We choose Forty 1° North as our home away from home while we were in Newport. The rooms are generously appointed, many have water views, and like I said, the restaurant is superb. For anyone looking for a stylish hotel while they are visiting Newport, Forty 1° North is the place to pick. (Rates generally $300+)