Break out your J. Crew. Petite Suitcase is going to Newport, Rhode Island, i.e., the land of seafood, old money, and the Kennedy’s nuptials. Not necessarily in that order.
I arrived in the quintessential New England town ready for spring and Sperry top-siders, but it gave me snow and rain boots. Considering I’m from California and currently live in the temperate climate of the Mediterranean, I’m practically allergic to the snow.
Yes, it was beautiful, but Newport is a town I’d rather visit without wearing a trench coat. I know I’ve mentioned my meek enthusiasm towards my husband’s love for off-season travel before. Nevertheless, here are some of my recommendations for whenever you decide to visit this historical, coastal town.
Where to Stay in Newport
I stayed at a friend’s house, but I’ve heard great things about the Newport Marriott and Bannister’s Wharf. If you want to stay out of the downtown area, Castle Hill Inn is an upscale, ocean front accommodation with each room decorated for the likings of a Vanderbilt. Personally, I’d opt for the beach cottages.
Where to eat and drink in Newport:
The Corner Café serves a diverse menu for three meals a day, but they are most famous for their breakfast. I’ve always had a weakness for breakfast sandwiches. I was ecstatic that I could get a GF one and their breakfast potatoes. They had a hint of pesto flavor that I was not expecting yet 100% appreciated.
If you go when they are serving lunch or dinner on the weekend, don’t forget to bring your own booze. Surprisingly, I saw a few restaurants advertising BYOB. Who would have thought Newport, the epitome of class and high society, would have such a large BYOB following?
We had to stop at the swanky Castle Hill Inn restaurant for a drink and to enjoy the sunset from their seasonal outdoor patio, The Lawn.
For a more casual atmosphere, Poor Judgment serves great food in a relaxed setting. Their Gouda fries are infamous.
I must admit… since this was my last stop in the states before returning to Italy, I had to get in my
fair share excess quota of Mexican food. I ate at Chipotle three times in less than a week. Now that that’s off my chest…
What to do in Newport:
Easton’s Beach for soaking up some rays if you’re there in the summer.
Visit Saint Mary’s Church where Jackie and John tied the knot.
Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk to see how the other half lives. Actually, can we talk about how grossly inaccurate that idiom is? Since when has the population ever been equal parts wealth and poverty? In this case and The Gilded Age at large, “half” is about .04%.
There is wealth and then there is wealth. The Vanderbilt family has the kind of money you can’t even comprehend.
The Breakers tour really gives you some perspective. Also, I find it mildly annoying that the entry fee is more than the Palace of Versailles… Just throwing that out there. I guess the Vanderbilt family is practically royalty?
Cynicism aside, I did thoroughly enjoy the tour. From the kitchen and the servant quarters to the elaborate bedrooms upstairs, I felt like I was in a New England Downton Abbey. The audio tour even included anecdotes from the servants to highlight the contrast in lifestyles.
The Breakers is open year-round, but other houses operated by The Preservation Society of Newport County are seasonal. I’m glad lobster and sunsets are available year round, too. Next time I make my way to Newport, it will definitely be in the summer when I can really make the most out of those adirondak lawn chairs.
Until next time Newport!