There’s so much to do in Newport that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one day of fun. You can’t really go wrong with anything you choose, but make sure you have the fundamentals taken care of: some salt water, some seafood and some sunshine.
Summer Cottage style
When you’re going to be a tourist in Newport for the day, a stop at the Newport Mansions is practically required. While you’ve probably been to The Breakers before – though if it was on a school field trip, it’s time for another go-round – there are interesting things at the “smaller” mansions, too. Marble House has a Chinese tea house in the yard; The Elms has a classical sculpture garden.
The thing to see this summer, though, is Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation at Rosecliff. The exhibition will feature 42 of the famed designer’s most iconic looks, starting in the 1950s and going all the way through 2016. On June 17, to celebrate his 95th birthday, Cardin will be in town to personally host a fashion runway show with StyleWeek in the great hall of The Breakers, complete with birthday cake and, in true French style, champagne.
Sail the Open Seas
Well, the open seas of Newport Harbor. Even if you didn’t yacht in from the Hamptons, you can still experience a little maritime luxury. Bowen’s Wharf is the launching point for several harbor tours, like Sightsailing of Newport and Adirondack II, which offers Champagne Sunset Tours. Newport Dinner Cruise does lunch and hors d’oeuvres excursions in addition to dinner, and Save the Bay offers Lighthouse Tours from Fort Adams.
Live from Newport
You may or may not want to brave the crowds for Newport’s mega music festivals: the Folk Fest, July 28-30, and the Jazz Fest, August 4-6. If you prefer a quieter scene, there’s a lot in Newport to keep you entertained, from weekend improv comedy shows by The Bit Players to dinner theatre at The Newport Playhouse to live music at The Newport Blues Cafe.
Newport also has lots of cultural attractions, like the Newport Art Museum, the National Museum of American Illustration, the Audrain Automobile Museum and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Explore them on a rainy day, or any day you need a break from the beach.
Drink Like a Pirate
Thomas Tew was English-born, but we adopted him as the “Rhode Island Pirate.” Drink to his memory at Newport Storm, a brewery and distillery that offers tastings of their Rhody-inspired brews like ARIstotle and InfeRIority Complex, plus their boozy homage to Newport’s pirating history, Thomas Tew Rum. While Newport Vineyards is technically in Middletown, their wines – and their gorgeous new tasting room and cafe – are worth the drive.
The New Guard of Restaurants
Longtime favorite Newport restaurants like The Mooring and The Clarke Cooke House will always draw crowds for their fresh, locally inspired fine dining. But a whole new crop of must-try restaurants have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue, in more ways than one.
Winner Winner serves up fried chicken, with creative, upscaled Southern sides. Revolving Door is an innovative concept: a different chef in residency every month, who brings a whole different menu and cooking style. La Vasca serves authentically European tapas from the Basque region of Spain.