Where to Stay:
For a taste of Newport’s Gilded Age romance, book a stay at The Chanler. Located at the start of Newport’s famed 3.5 mile cliff walk, this mansion-turned-luxury hotel overlooks First Beach and Rhode Island Sound. The rooms are each decorated with a color theme in mind, with beds tall enough to require stairs and fireplaces to quell any après-sailing chill. New this summer, the hotel offers a beach butler service to provide the beach day necessities – cabana, sunscreen, towels and a picnic. The hotel also boasts a gorgeous green lawn with a fleet of Adirondack chairs for lawn games, cocktails or simply reading a book amidst the coastal breeze. To get to town, guests can either walk 10 minutes or the hotel provides complimentary car service, as well as Tokyo-style bikes. The hotel’s in-house restaurant, Spiced Pear, offers beautifully interpreted dishes of local seafood such as lobster bisque, oysters, and scallops with refined service and sweeping views.
What to See:
Perhaps more important than the land in Newport is the sea. There is no better way to experience Newport Harbor than sailing on a 65-foot America’s Cup 12-meter yacht, like the 1958 winner Columbia, at sunset. 12-Meter Charters offers two-hour sails, three-hour racing experiences and custom programs for private groups. On its most popular excursion, the two-hour sunset sail, guests can participate in the sail or sit back, taking in views of seaside homes, the collection of stunning boats in the harbor, and learning about Newport’s sailing history along the way. Of course, any stay in Newport requires a visit to the famed Newport Mansions. For a Downton Abbey-esque “upstairs/downstairs” look at how these mansions operated, the Elms has a wildly popular “Servant Life” tour that showcases the inner workings of a bygone era from coal basements to top-floor domestic living quarters. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is an overachiever’s dream visit, not only for the pristine grass center court, but for the shingle-style McKim, Mead and White architecture and second-floor museum with more than 25,000 tennis artifacts. Just a few doors down is one of Newport’s newest additions, the Audrain Automobile Museum. Stocked with pristine vehicles most from the private collection of New York philanthropist and part-time Newport resident Nick Schorsch, these rare and remarkable vehicles, dating from the beginning of the 20th century to present day, rotate every 10 weeks.
Where to Shop:
Shopping in Newport rivals boating as a popular pastime. Thames Street is packed full of small boutiques – many of which offer preppy-chic and sailing attire. Close to Bellevue Avenue or “The Avenue,” famous for its mansions, shop contemporary women’s styles at Kristina Richards and women and men’s styles at Michael Hayes. Closer to the harbor, Bannister’s Wharf is bursting with home décor and men’s and women’s threads. Try Terra Mandarine – a St. Barth’s export – for resort apparel and jewelry.
Where to Eat:
Start the day at with a cappuccino and croissant at Empire Tea and Coffee. For lunch try The White Horse Tavern, established in 1673, The White Horse is the oldest restaurant in the United States but its food is anything but stale. Chefs serve up delicious all-American fare, and a super bowl of Rhode Island clam chowder (clams, veggies and potatoes in a traditional dairy-free broth). For a fresh seafood dinner make your way to the two floors of Fluke on Bannister’s Wharf, or catch a gorgeous sunset at Castle Hill Inn where Executive Chef Lou Rossi prepares local and seasonal fair paired with one of the best views in all of New England.