Newport, a yachting capital and a coastal crown

Newport, a yachting capital and a coastal crown

April 7, 2013  |  USA
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Once the quintessential playground of American aristocracy, Newport remains as the coastal crown of New England, famous for its opulent mansions, elegant shops, great restaurants and for being the yachting capital of the world by hosting the America’s Cup for decades.

These are the best places and my recommendations for a two day visit:

  • Newport Mansions: The leading architects of the 19th and early 20th centuries built exhuberant mansions for families such as Vanderbilt and Astor. Many of these properties have been preserved by The Preservation Society of Newport County and are open to the public. This is a perfect occasion to explore 250 years of American history and to enjoy amazing cottages that in the rest of the world are absolutely inaccesible behind big walls. Unless you want to visit all the properties, my recommendation is to buy “The Breakers Plus” ticket that gives you access to the property of your choice (the most populars are The Elms, Marble House, Rough Point and Rosecliff), aswell as The Breakers, the magnificent 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo that is definitely worth a visit. Besides this, I would just suggest you to (better) walk, ride (rent a bike for 35$/day here) or drive down Bellevue Avenue were you will enjoy not only the mansions open to the public but also many more private properties whith beautiful gardens that can be seen directly from the street.
  • Scenic Ocean Drive: starting at the end of Bellevue Av. and finishing in Newport harbor waterfront, this 10 miles roadway offer spectacular wide-open views of the Atlantic Ocean and astonishing million dollar mansions. Along the way, you can park and walk along its rocky shoreline. I recommend stopping for a drink at the peaceful and quiet Relais Chateaux Castle Inn Hill to enjoy magnificent views of the bay. Once you are there, take a walk to Castle Hill Lighthouse to enjoy the best sunset in Newport. Further down the Ocean Drive, make a stop at Breton Point (also a good place to watch the sunset) or walk down the different public beaches (Reject Beach, Gooseberry Beach…).
  • Cliff walk: A scenic 3.5 mile public access walkway that borders the shore line and back lawn that allow you to enjoy the gardens and facades of marvellous cottages, among which you will find the famous “The Breakers”. Definitely a top attraction in Newport. You can easily park along Narragansett St. by the entrance to the 40 Steps that take you to the walk.
  • The wharfs: the two more popular wharfs are Bannister or Bowens Wharf, were you’ll find nice shops and good restaurants. I recommend the entertaining Clarke Cooke (with live bands and good night live), the familiar The Mooring (great lobster) and the unpretencious and creative Tallulah on Thames. Ten minute walk north you will find, depending on the season, the best yachts and sailing boats at Newport Shipyard. If you like to sail, take a tour along the bay in the 80 feet Adirondack II Schooner. I’ve been told that it offers a comfortable, safe and high-performance sailing experience.


View Best places in Newport – Rhode Island in a bigger map

If you plan to visit Newport, I’d suggest to read my article about Boston, placed just an hour drive from Newport.

Finally, I want to thank my friend, and amazing traveller, Jorge M.C. for all of the great tips that he gave me. Thanks Jorge!!! 🙂
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To learn more about the best places in New England, please read Best Places in Boston and Cape Cod, wild beaches and charming lighthouses.

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