What not to miss on day trip to Newport RI


Jul 30th, 2008, 07:37 AM
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What not to miss on day trip to Newport RI

Visiting Boston for 5 days starting 30th August followed by 5 days at Chatham on Cape Cod with wife and 17 year old son. Will have use of a hire car for 2nd 5 days and planned to visit Newport for a day trip. What are the main areas we should not miss
1) For shops
2) For walking around and general sightseeing
3) For driving around
4) Best beach area if weather is very good.
We will probably be on beach in Cape Cod so beach is not really a high priority. We are not really into visiting museums , historical monuments etc just like to get a feel for the place and feel we have seen the nicest/most interesting areas. Also is there anywhere you would recommend stopping off at on way to or from Newport from Chatham. We live in Scotland and have been to NY City and Florida so looking forward to seeing more of the USA but dont want to try to cram too much in. Any advice would be gratefully received
willie is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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For shops and restaurants, Thames St. For scenery, the Cliff Walk.

For a scenic drive, Ocean Dr.

The beaches in Newport are not fantastic so I'd probably skip them since you're heading to the Cape anyway.

I also think a visit to the Breakers mansion is a must, even though you say you're not too keen on historical sites and museums. But, nevertheless, there's plenty to do in Newport to fill up a day.
wyatt92 is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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For Shopping, the wharfs downtown and along Thames Street.

As previously mentioned the Cliff Walk and Ocean Drive

I'd skip the beach too if you are only in town for a little bit. You'll have better ones on the Cape.

For more ideas check out www.gonewport.com

When heading out to the Cape, I'd take Route 138 out of Newport, it's more scenic. Also, if you are not in a rush to get to Chatham, I'd reccomend taking Route 6A once you get over the bridge and onto the Cape. It's a more scenic drive than the Highway (Route 6). You can take it to Brewster/Orleans and then RT 28 down to Chatham (you will actually look for RT 28 NORTH though...don't ask) or you can cut across in Harwich at Route 124 and pick up Rt. 28 (SOUTH this time)
milemarker0 is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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I really enjoyed touring the mansions in RI. And we had a great time going out for a sail for an afternoon! I'd go sailing vs going to the beach

Also drinks at sunset on the huge lawn of the Castle Hill Inn is awesome! gorgeous views of the bay.
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Jul 30th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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In case you don't konw about the Newport Mansions-

These are huge summer homes built during the Guilded Age by the Railway and Steel magnates. The biggest and most famous of all is The Breakers. But others such the The Elms, or Marble House, or RoseCliff are all quite nice.

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Jul 30th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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You have to do the Cliff Walk of course.

(Don't miss the plaque honoring Claus Von Bulow - LOL.)
wliwl is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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check out only in rhode island - it's in the main shopping area on the harbor

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Aug 21st, 2008, 05:28 AM
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Thanks for useful info . Looking forward to my trip !
willie is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2008, 07:43 AM
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Are you saying that you are planning to drive from Chatham to Newport for a day trip?

Monday, September 1 is a holiday (Labor Day) here and I suspect that you will find lots of traffic on that day. If you are doing the drive to Newport, I would wait til after Labor Day, if possible.

Second Beach in nearby Middletown is terrific and you will love it there if your visit is on a nice day! Top spots....Ocean Drive, go into Fort Adams, Castle Hill Inn...a great spot for lunch or even to have a drink on the patio out back, the mansions,Cliff Walk, Bellevue Avenue. Newport is about sailing and the ocean and I would recommend a nice trip on one of the sailing vessels. You will find those listed on "gonewport.com"
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Aug 21st, 2008, 10:33 AM
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I highly recommend a sail as well. On the water was the best part of our Newport trip in July.

We chartered a sail on Starlight through:
Holds up to 6 people. You can take food and wine with you. Loved this and wished we would have sailed for 4 hours instead!

Also, with the family we were on RumRunner which the kids enjoyed and also Gansett.

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Aug 21st, 2008, 12:44 PM
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My friends and I always stop at Puerini's restaurant for dinner. It's my favorite Italian restaurant!


The Yachting museum is something different, and visiting Fort Adams is pretty cool as well.

Lastly, you and the Mrs. could check out the Newport Vineyards in Middletown, RI - very closeby to Newport. www.newportvineyards.com

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Aug 21st, 2008, 01:37 PM
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For a day that is not crammed, I would be choosy about what I did.

First, get tickets for the sunset cruise on the Adirondack II ( now on main drag/Thames St/ booth near Newport Yachting Center -

Then, for a good overview, I would start with the Ten Mile Drive mentioned above -
look on the web site, you can see the things you will pass -
I would stop and do a mansion ( or two) - if that interests you - read about the mansions online (link also given above) and choose the one or two that most interests you -or not - definitely get out and enjoy the view from the lawn of Castle Hill

The INternational Tennis Hall of Fame on Bellevue is also a nice take, ifyou have any interest in the building or museum -

After the ten mile drive, I'd park downtown at the visitors area and walk the wharf area -
Bannister, Bowen Wharf, etc
Have lunch along the wharf at 21 Bowens or whatever menu excites you - shop and walk up and see the NAM and Touro Synagogue, if just from the outside for the architecure and to get a feel walkign the little side streets of Newport/the hill/etc.

lso, if you just want to see some interesting architecture, walk to Touro - the oldest synagogue in the country - and to NAM, the Newport Art Museum, it was the Griswold summer house, designed by Richard Hunt, in the American Stick Style , an excellent example, and he went on to design several of the mansions on Bellevue like Marble and Breakers and I forget which other ones -
the other gallery is classical structure, quite a contrast even if you see if from the outside, and nice gardens -


Enjoy the harbor from the sunset cruise - and then either eat dinner in town or head back to Chatham

this will be a full enough, but relaxing day -

I would skip the vineyard, it is nice and fun if you have not toured other larger vineyards -otherwise, more of the same -
but if you have been to others not you might enjoy it

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Aug 22nd, 2008, 04:29 AM
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Assuming that being from Scotland your family has already toured in the UK and Continental Europe, I would only do one mansion. The Newport Mansions are the American equivilent of the old dwellings of royalty in Europe, and I have heard on this forum that some visitors from Europe, when seeing the mansions, say, what's the big deal?

So given your staement that museums/history are not big for you, I would say (1)Ocean Drive (get out and walk at both Castle Hill Inn AND Brenton Reef State Park), (2) tour one mansion (Breakers or Marble House), (3) brief walk on Cliff Walk, (4) park at visitor's center and walk around/shop upper and lower Thames Street and wharfs, (5) sunset sail, (6) dinner in town follwed by drive back to Chatham. Full day but will give you a good idea of what Newport is all about.

And I completely agree about Newport beaches, that is what the Cape is known for, so don't waste time in Newport on them....
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Aug 22nd, 2008, 07:06 AM
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I agree -- do not miss the Breakers or the Cliff Walk! I bought a Historical Society Membership and visited most of the homes.

The Information Center is very helpful; lots of tours (Ghost Tours, Cemetery Tours, etc.); buses located just outside the Info Ctr; baseball field across the street from the Info Ctr.

I also took a public bus to Providence. It's worth seeing; lots of culinary delights.

I loved Newport. Plan to go back during a Christmas season to see the homes again!
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Aug 22nd, 2008, 07:50 AM
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Do examine the Cliff Walk web site carefully, not knowing your abilities, there are some sections that are more than a "leisurely stroll" - and you can see rocky shore, and some similar cliff walk sites along the ten mile ocean drive -

Regarding mansions- while I agree with some that if you've seen some in Europe you may wonder why you are visting the Newport mansions : having seen many royal homes, mansions, historic estates in Europe and US, I would say a major consideration in visiting the Newport Mansions (one or two) are dependant on your interests, which is why it is important to read about them first on the above mentioned website -

if you've seen the Grand Trianon, then Rosecliff may get removed from your list since that is what it was modeled after or it may stay on your list b/c that aspect of the replication sections, etc interests you as well as the history and story as to why it was modeled after that -

If your interest is in history/ the TItanic/ important families at that time - then Astor's Beechwood may be of more interest to you - house full of newspaper articles and framed memorabilia about the family and the loss on the Titanic - and members in period dress - and that is NOT part of the newport Preservation Society mansions -
this group also runs Rough Point - the Doris Duke estate left to her at 12 - so if that part of history interests you.....

or if you want opulence and what drove that Gilded Age - you may end up with the Breakers or Marble House -

reading about each one will help you choose which interests you, if any of them do -
and if not, still give you a flavor for them as you pass may of them on the Ocean /Ten Mile Drive -
and which ones were designed by Hunt, or when - or who owned them -

if you decide to just see the outsides of them - maybe print out the info from the web to have along for those as well as the stops on the ten mile drive on their web page and you have your own 'tour' well planned.

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