Over Memorial Day Jason came out to visit and the two of us took our first official road trip (yay!) up to Newport, RI. Having been out East for a little over 6 months, I can assure you that one of my favorite things is the proximity of things. Being in the city one day, at the beach the next and maybe throw a countryside winery in between, you really can do it all!
From Philly, the drive was very easy. We took I-95 all the way up and rightfully, jammed out to T-Swift upon arrival in Newport (did you know she lives there?).
As you can imagine, Memorial Day in Newport was crazy. Hotels were expensive and even Air B&B’s were a little over the top. Having spent hours on end looking for the perfect spot to stay, I came across the Lionel Champlin Guesthouse, an adorable bed and breakfast, which is situated just 2 blocks up from the beach in Jamestown (on the island across from Newport). The guesthouse has 6 rooms with options for all travels – friends, couples and families. We stayed in the “Rose Room” and it was the perfect size for the two of us. We had our own private en suite bathroom, plenty of closet space, sitting room and the beds were comfortable too!
Each morning, Rusty and Lisa (the elderly couple running the B&B) brew fresh coffee and place an array of pastries, fruit and yogurt on a table near the entrance making it easy for guests to grab and go as they please or to enjoy while sitting out on the front porch.
We throughly enjoyed our stay at the Lionel Champlin Guesthouse and would recommend it to those venturing to Newport! However, I will mention that the bridge to cross over into Newport has a toll going both ways which made it a little pricey at the end of the weekend. BUT, at the Lionel Champlin Guesthouse you receive free parking where most places in Newport you have to pay.
Speaking of parking… parking in Newport during peak season is a pain! Unless you’re an early riser and can get down to the main areas before 10am, good luck finding a spot within a 1 mile radius of the downtown area. There are multiple lots for parking and many small side streets for street parking, but keep in mind that most of these parking spots must be paid for. Additionally, look out for the signs as some streets are reserved for residents only. My tip, try to Uber if you plan on spending the day downtown or are going out for the night to avoid risking a ticket or tow.
Once you’ve figured out your parking/transportation to the downtown area, getting around is a breeze! We got up early each day and started our morning with a coffee along the Banisters Wharf. From here you can walk to all sorts of shops, restaurants and entertainment. For those looking to do a little less walking, there is a city Trolly which offers rides for as little as $2.00 one-way.
WHAT TO DO
Newport is both bustling and laid back all at the same time. With plenty of casual activities to keep you busy, you’re sure to find joy in this quaint little town! Jason and I came to Newport without anything planned and managed to fill our days without a problem! While the Boat Cruise and Cocktails at Castle Hill were our favorites, there is so much more to do in Newport.
Cliff Walk: The famous cliff walk is a must when visiting Newport. Whether you’re looking for a casual stroll or a brisk walk, the cliff walk has some of the most amazing views of the ocean and the Newport mansions. Have yourself a Gatsby moment and take a stop by the Rosecliff Mansion!
Mansion Tours: Speaking of Gatsby, don’t just take in the view from the outside, walk right through the front doors and step into the beautiful Newport Mansions with a guided or self led tour. Package rates vary, but for under $50 you can tour more than one of these stunning homes.
Winery: While Jason and I didn’t make it to a winery this time around, it is definitely on my “to-do” list for the next time I find myself in Newport. With a few different options surrounding the area (Newport Vineyards & Greenvale Vineyards), a winery would be the perfect way to wind down after a busy day out and about.
Boat Cruise: One of our favorite things that Jason and I did during our time in Newport was a Sunrise Mimosa Lighthouse Boat Cruise. On our last morning in Newport, we boarded an adorable sailboat and set sail, mimosas in hand, and took a cruise around the Newport area and took in all of the different lighthouses. While we’re not usually one for educational tours, this one was the perfect happy-medium and actually taught us quite a bit about the history of Newport and the lighthouses in the harbors. And the bottomless mimosas weren’t so bad either 😉
Shop Hop: Thames Street is the place to be for shopping in Newport. With your classic souvenir shops, chain stores and boutiques mixed in, there really is something for everyone. I was surprised by Jason’s tolerance for all of the shopping but in all honesty, I think he may have enjoyed the shopping even more than me! What we didn’t realize about the shops is that they go much further down Thames Street that we initially thought. Once you pass the Red Parrot, it feels like you’ve hit the end of the shopping, but don’t be fooled, the shopping stretch goes much further beyond this point and it’s definitely worth wandering down and checking out all of the fun clothing stores – especially my ladies who enjoy a good boutique find!
Cocktail Hour at Castle Hill Inn: Another highlight from our trip was cocktails on the lawn at Castle Hill Inn. Get yourself dolled up for an afternoon drink on the lawn at Castle Hill Inn and take a seat in their classic lawn chairs and watch as the boats pass by. This was quite possibly one of the most relaxing things we did during our time in Newport and I would go back to Castle Hill in in a heart beat! For Bloody Mary lovers… they’re amazing here!
Rent Bikes: Biking seemed to be the transportation of choice for getting around Newport. With parking being quite a hassle, it makes sense to get around by bike! While Jason and I didn’t get to it this time, we saw any couples biking around the city carrying their beach bags, shopping bags and everything else one may need.
WHERE TO EAT
Coffee Grinder: Each morning Jason and I kicked off our day with a visit to the Coffee Grinder. For the Starbucks addicts, don’t worry, there is a Starbucks across the street, but for those looking for the local experience, the Coffee Grinder is the way to go! My go-to order became an Almond latte and Banana Bread while Jason stuck to the basics with good ole black coffee.
Flo’s Clam Shack: Seafood fanatics, this one is for you! With a dive-like atmoshphere and basket-style dish-ware, the Clam Shack is the perfect spot to grab a quick lunch or afternoon snack while taking in the Ocean Views. Also to note – the Clam Shack is close to the Cliff Walk! Treat yourself after your wa
Diego’s: Tacos, margs and chips oh-my! Nestled right in the hustle and bustle of the Wharf, Diego’s can’t be missed. With an upper deck and plenty of outdoor seating, Diego’s is the place to be! Just be sure to make a reservation well in advance 🙂
Perro Salado: For the times when Diegos is too busy to wait, Perro Salado is another great option to get that Mexican fix you’re craving. Located inside an old house, Diegos is a tight squeeze but their margaritas and chips & salsa make it well worth it. Another plus, they have a little outdoor space with cute lights for those who are all about the ambience.
Castle Hill Inn: If I didn’t convince you to visit above, maybe this is the spot to do so. Jason and I visited Castle Hill Inn for brunch and oh.my.goodness. it was phenomenal. I have the sweet tooth in our relationship and ordered a cinnamon roll which came out in a huge skillet covered in sweet icing, accompanied by fresh berries. Jason, on the ore savory side, when with a classic eggs benedict with a side of breakfast potatoes. And in case all that isn’t enough, breakfast is also served with warm, fresh bread and jam. Yum, yum, yum! Be sure to make a reservation well in advance as spots on the patio tend to fill up fast!
Red Parrot: Bar food at its best, the Red Parrot has an elevated bar feel with a surprisingly delicious menu. Craving coconut shrimp, I had the Coconut Shrimp Salad and Jason had a burger topped with crab. We both had few words to say during our meal as it satisfied every taste bud! At the time we weren’t in the mood for drinks, but their drink menu was rather impressive with several specialty cocktails and tap beers.
Sardella’s Italian Restaurant: If you’re looking to get a bang for your buck with tasty food and a romantic atmosphere, Sardella’s is where you need to be. Walking in without a reservation (I wouldn’t recommend) we were surprisingly able to get sat right away (it was also 10pm!). Within minutes we were greeted with a wine menu and fresh bread. Keeping things classic, I went with spaghetti and Jason ordered a cheesy alfredo with chicken. Basic, but so good!! The portions were so large, the two of us could have totally shared a meal – something to keep in mind if you’re maybe wanting a little bit of dessert or an appetizer.
Kilwins: No trip to Newport is complete without a stop at Kilwins. Be prepared to wait in line for the tastiest hand scooped ice cream. Each night we ended things with ice cream and Kilwins did not disappoint. With the sweet smell of their waffle cones filling the streets, it would be very hard to say no to a treat at Kilwins!
And that’s a wrap! Newport was such a fun getaway and while we didn’t get to do it all, we certainly have plans to make it back someday. Have you been to Newport? I’d love to hear about your experience and favorite spots! For more on Newport, check out my “Travel” highlight on Instagram.
Thanks for reading!