How do you spend just one day soaking in the New England, seaside town, of Newport, Rhode Island? Well, I’m here to tell you today. I’m breaking down what to squeeze in for a memorable quick trip in today’s complete travel guide. I should also mention, this is a winter edition. Just because it is a popular summer destination doesn’t mean there aren’t activities that can be enjoyed year round. It’s actually a truly ideal getaway spot for those chilly months. This 24 hours in Newport guide will provide you will all the winter inspiration you need.
How many of you have heard of a “Babymoon”? If you haven’t, let me explain. Some brilliant soon to be mother or set of parents coined this term and created a trend of taking one last trip as a solo couple to relax before the baby arrives. I would have LOVED to go on some Caribbean vacation to soak up some sun. But, the prevalence of Zika in all my favorite warm weather destinations put a halt on that thought. Not to mention, I had no real vacation time left to use so anything more than a long weekend was going to be hard to fit in. So, after some brainstorming I came up with the idea for a visit to Newport, Rhode Island. It’s such a charming and historic town and it’s perfect for a little relaxing and a little exploring.
Whether you’re taking a babymoon of your own, looking for a less “active” winter destination (i.e., not a ski slope), or just passing through for a day here is a one day itinerary to help you plan!
Grab coffee and maybe something light like a scone (You’re getting a big brunch later on!). If you aren’t running late to your appointments (Like I was….) you can try out one of the little local shops like (Empire Tea and Coffee or Coffee Grinder ). I will guiltily admit we didn’t get to try somewhere local and ran to starbucks on our way to our next stop!
Explore the shops down by Bowen’s Wharf for boutique and antique finds. You can also meander through the cobblestone streets up on Thames St. and around that area for your brand favorites like Alex and Ani and Banana Republic.
IF it is too cold even for this walking (I went during the streak of record breaking negative temperatures!) opt for a Spa morning at Bodhi Spa. We got treatments at this luxurious, but affordable, day spa and they were fantastic. They also provide a Hydrotherapy experience if that is something you’re interested in.
Have brunch at the Grace Vanderbilt Hotel at their Vanderbilt Grill. This boutique hotel is the renovated summer cottage of Alfred Vanderbilt. It has a great amount of character so it’s fun to mix a little history into your dining experience. They have a beautiful fireplace that you can request a table nearby to nestle up during the chilly months. And if you going during the holiday season you’ll get to see all the old fashioned trees and décor set-up for the occasion. And hint hint, the French toast was pretty tasty!
The snowy scene outside the Grace Vanderbilt Hotel
Now that you’ve had a Vanderbilt teaser, it’s time to see the real deal! The quintessential, and largest, summer cottage in Newport to tour is the Breakers. It was built and lived in by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Head there for an audio guided tour that will provide you an insider’s look at how the Gilded Age elite spent their summers. If you’ve already been to the breakers there are 11 mansions total that can be toured (some are seasonal). Take peek on the mansions website to buy tickets and learn more: http://www.newportmansions.org/
One thing I need to say is that it was truly magical to go during Christmas and see the Mansion set up with decorations, just my two cents for your future years’ planning!
The dining room
Tour a second mansion, head to one of Newport’s museums such as the International Tennis Hall of Fame or the Museum of Newport History, OR take a nap to gear up for evening activities. I’ll admit, we took the nap route. Remember my trip was a babymoon and the goal was to relax. I was also over 6 months pregnant and exhausted most of the day 🙂
We were lucky enough to go during Newport’s Christmas at the Mansions. We bought tickets to an evening concert at The Breakers where we were treated to music from the Providence Big Band, light cookies and cocktails and the ability to stroll freely around the mansion. It was the perfect pre-dinner activity. While, you’ll have to wait for next year for this same experience, the Preservation Society hosts events for their Winter Festival in February. Take a peek at what’s in store for evening activities here: http://www.newportwinterfestival.com/calendar
Me during the Christmas Concert!
Have dinner at The Black Pearl. This is not only a Newport staple, but it is known across New England for their clam chowder. We prefer the small tavern side of the restaurant for its cozy, intimate and laid back atmosphere. It’s a seafood forward menu and those dishes are your best bets. But, always be sure to include that cup of chowda in there.
Have a nightcap and listen to some local music. You can head right across the walkway from the Black Pearl over to The Wharf Pub. They have a comfy little bar section on a lower level that is private, quiet, but still can hear the live musician play familiar tunes. Aside from having a decent tap selection, they also have some great mixologists there to provide creative cocktails. They even made me my own custom “mocktail” for the evening so I felt like a part of the social atmosphere.
This itinerary is a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration for your day in Newport. But, it will also provide you with a sense of the local culture and history to get a true feel for the town. I hope you enjoy your getaways!
Bowen’s Wharf at Night
Our Newport Sunset
…all for the love of the dish