Safe/Sea Cruising Guide: Newport
One of the greatest draws to Newport, Rhode Island is its mixture of historic scenery and contemporary entertainment. Years ago, Newport’s colonial maritime lifestyle linked it with pirates, trade-merchants, and aristocratic families visiting its shores for a variety of wealth-related reasons. In the late 17th Century, moving to the early 18th Century, the pirating phase of Newport’s life was overtaken by its irresistible draw as a bustling trade center. Come mid-19th century, many wealthy English and Yankee aristocrats, unable to resist its call, arrived to build extravagant summer cottages, better known to the rest of us as the Newport Mansions. Wonderful examples of such summer retreats are Fort Adams and Hammersmith Farm, which served as “summer white houses” to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.
For a long period of time, Newport was also home to the U.S. Navy, which changed its lure as a trade center and stifled visitation. However, once the Navy relinquished control of Newport as a whole, its began its revival as a commercial center, though it still remains home to the U.S. Naval War College and many other naval education facilities today. Housing the Navy, however, is certainly not Newport’s only feature. With coastlines on the West, South and East, Newport is a maritime city teeming with commercial fishing, power and sail pleasure crafts and some of the best water activities Rhode Island has to offer. The 6 townships that make up Newport County (Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton) offer a great variety of activities revolving around marine lifestyles, leaving any visitor with a plethora of interesting options and, no doubt, a wonderful experience.
Prime Season dates: Though there are open stores and planned events happening through most months of the year in Newport, the prime months for visiting are between June and September.
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Things To Do
In Newport, there’s always something to do once you’ve docked your boat for the afternoon, weekend, or even the week. The first thing you might want to do as a new visitor is make your way to the Newport Visitor Center (401-845-9123), open to visitors from 9am-4:30pm. There you will find information on an extended variety of places to eat, as well as entertainment to enjoy, or activities to do during your stay. This is only a sample of what Newport has to offer, but we’ve highlighted some of Newport’s best.
No matter what you have a taste for, be it Italian, Seafood, Mexican, or traditional American meals, you can find it here. Newport is home to some of the best restaurants Rhode Island has to offer, as well as some of the oldest in America. Take a chance on these selections:
White Horse Tavern - One of America’s oldest tavern buildings, built in 1673. It serves fine wines and delicate cuisine, but be sure to bring the credit card, it’s expensive.
Newport Blues Café - A place filled with upbeat atmosphere, great food, and live entertainment, the Blues Café is an entertaining and delicious way to spend a night.
The Wharf Pub and Restaurant - Located on Bowen’s Wharf, the Pub is casual and reasonably priced, not to mention appetizing.
The Black Pearl - Not too far from Bowen’s Wharf is located on Bannister’s Wharf-. This casual tavern has outside seating to provide that perfect evening sunset, but a more formal dining area inside if that’s more to your taste.
Whether you’re a single traveler, a visiting couple, or a full family, Newport has things to do for all ages. If you’re looking to sit back and enjoy a show, or simply be shown around historic and beautiful Newport, consider these:
Opera House Movie Theater- Antique and beautiful, the Opera House is the place to catch your favorite film. Call 401-847-3456 for information.
Newport Mansions – For those of you who like extravagance, take a tour of the Newport mansions, whose most popular include The Breakers, Belcourt Castle, and Rosecliff Mansion.
Cliffwalk - If outdoor activities or interactive entertainment is more your style, take a gorgeous walk along 3.5 miles of Newport shoreline.
International Tennis Hall of Fame - For the sports buff, taking a look around the Tennis Hall of Fame is certainly an interesting way to spend an afternoon on shore.
Fort Adams - This fort dates back to The War of 1812 and is another wonderful place to visit if you enjoy history. It also includes the Museum of Yachting
Brick Marketplace - The focal shopping center, located on the main street of Downtown Newport, America’s Cup Avenue .
Along with the wonderful cuisine and the fine entertainment, Newport also offers many activities for those who prefer a little adventure in their excursions. Some main attractions, for example, are surfing, sea kayaking, and windsurfing. There are always gorgeous beaches to visit or harbor cruises to enjoy, but for the more adventurous few, these options are a blast.
Newport Grand – If gambling sounds like a good way to pay for an extravagant night on the town, Newport Grand is the place to be. Good luck!
Sky Dive Newport is open from April 1st -October 31 for local Skydiving experience. For more information call 401-845-0393
The Newport Diving Center - Never learned to Scuba Dive to enjoy the underwater life around your boat? Learn how here, and get an experience you’ll never forget.
Seasonal Festivals and Fairs
Each year Newport hosts a plethora of festivals, fairs, parades, and galleries during the summer months (and into the winter as well!). If a congenial atmosphere suits you and authentic national cuisines wet your appetite, its imperative you stop by at least one of these amazing events.
Oktoberfest Columbus Day Weekend
Newport Winter Festival Mid-February
Waterfront Irish Food Festival Labor-Day Weekend
Art Festival Late August
Sunset Music Festival Various Summer Dates
Taste of Rhode Island Late September
If you tired of staying in your floating home-away-from-home, Newport offers plenty of luxurious places to stay while you enjoy your time in town. Note that in season, accommodations are rather expensive no matter where you stay and some businesses will require multiple night stays.
Bed and Breakfasts/ Inns:
The Black Duck Inn - A Bed and Breakfast Inn, situated in the heart of downtown Newport, just footsteps away from harbor front shops and restaurants, and a leisurely stroll to the fabulous Newport Mansions and Museums. Call 401-841-5548.
John Easton House - The John Easton House, circa 1826, is located on historic Catherine Street in Newport, Rhode Island. An elegant Victorian style residence located in a neighborhood of gracious Victorian homes and large shade trees. Call 401-849-6246.
Spring Street Inn - This Inn, an 1858 Empire Victorian, is centrally located in downtown Newport in the "Waterfront Yachting District." It offers its guests private baths, air conditioning, free parking, and gourmet breakfast. Call 401-847-4767
The Almondy Inn - This elegant 1890's Bed and Breakfast has been restored to its original glory and is located within walking distance of Newport's fine restaurants, shops, galleries, boutiques and close to the Mansions and island beaches. Call 401-848-7202
Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina – The newly renovated hotel offers 133 beautifully appointed guest rooms, all with breathtaking views of either Newport Harbor or historic Queen Anne Square. Call 401-847-9000
Newport Marriott - The newly renovated Newport Marriott is located in the heart of historic Newport, Rhode Island. With a convenient harbor location, legendary attractions such as the Cliff Walk, Newport Mansions, Castle Hill Lighthouse and the International Tennis Hall of Fame are easily accessible. Call 401-849-1000
Best for walking, as most of the entertainment and restaurants are localized, but there are other options available.
Cozy Cab - 401-846-2500
Yellow Cab - 401-846-1500
RIPTA Bus Service - 401-781-9400
Brown and Howard Wharf
Goat Island Marina
Dockage & Mooringa Available
Newport Harbor Hotel + Marina
Newport Yachting Center
Diesel & Moorings Available
Newport Shipyard, Inc.
Long Wharf Marina
Christie’s Landing/41 North
Dockage & Moorings Avalable
Old Port Marine