Rhode Island

A Perfect Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island, New England’s famous Victorian summer playground turns the heat up in winter, too.

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 05 2018


Flower Show, Rosecliff, Newport.

Photo Credit : Courtesy of the Preservation Society of Newport County

As far as seaside destinations go, it’s tough to beat Newport. A bustling harbor, a lively downtown, and lots of eye-popping historical homes combine to give this Rhode Island retreat a feel all its own. It’s a getaway magnet that’s wonderful at any time of year—even winter. Ready for a visit? Read on for a selection of our favorite Newport places.

What to Do

Newport Mansions

Flower Show, Rosecliff, Newport.
Photo Credit : Courtesy of the Preservation Society of Newport County

Lose yourself in bygone luxury when you take a tour of one or more of the Newport Mansions, which include the Breakers and Marble House (both former residences of the Vanderbilt family), Rosecliff (based on the fabled French Grand Trianon at Versailles), and the Elms (a copy of a lavish French estate called Château d’Asnières). Those four are the heavy hitters, but bear in mind that some of the lesser-known mansions, including Hunter House and Chepstow, are also worth a visit. newportmansions.org

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Brimming with more than 1,900 artifacts of tennis history (including Andy Roddick’s red, white, and blue sneakers and Rene Lacoste’s original “crocodile” blazer), this museum is perfect for sports fanatics. But it appeals to families, too, with interactive exhibits such as a touch table that lets visitors “serve” tennis trivia questions back and forth, and a “Call the Match” exhibit in which anyone can step into the role of a big-league sports broadcaster. Plus, you can participate in clinics or book time on the grass courts where the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships were played, in 1881. tennisfame.com

National Museum of American Illustration

This cultural gem focuses on an often-overlooked genre, illustration, in all its various forms. In addition to its permanent “American Imagists” collection—a treasure trove of art created for books, periodicals, and advertisements—the museum hosts a changing lineup of temporary exhibits with such themes as “Advertising as Art,” “Norman Rockwell and His Contemporaries,” and even “My Little Pony: Under the Sparking Sea.” americanillustration.org

Where to Stay

Castle Hill Inn

Formerly the private “summer cottage” of Harvard scientist and engineer Alexander Agassiz, this 1875 Victorian mansion is today among the swankiest getaways in Newport; in fact, it was the first property in Rhode Island to join the distinguished Relais & Châteaux Hotel Association. So if you’re looking to splurge, this is the place. Luxurious amenities include gas fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and an on-site spa; four-star cuisine is just steps away, in the inn’s dining room. And can we talk about those views? castlehillinn.com

Francis Malbone House

Originally built in 1760 for its namesake shipping merchant, this house passed through many families on its way to becoming a genteel historic inn in 1989. Situated in the heart of Newport, the Francis Malbone House makes an ideal base from which to launch shopping and dining excursions; the 20 unique rooms come in a variety of configurations and settings (we’re a tad partial to the ones that open directly onto the lovely courtyard). malbone.com


With a courtyard styled like the Mad Hatter’s croquet party, a fringed chandelier dangling over the white-lacquered billiard table, a jewel-toned library, and 17 funky guest rooms, this newcomer is a visual feast. (So is the daily spread of breakfast tapas, which is delicious to boot.) If historic inns’ intimacy and formal decor aren’t your thing, consider this posh, irreverent boutique hotel your anti-B&B. gildedhotel.com

Bouchard Inn & Restaurant

Hospitality power couple Sarah and Albert Bouchard possess that je ne sais quoi that transforms a mere meal or a stay into a memory. Even as their Newport empire has expanded, their flagship French restaurant exudes unparalleled warmth and creativity. With a bellyful of filet de boeuf aux Brie, retire to one of the 14 nearby guest rooms upstairs, and dream until fresh-baked pastries arrive in the morning. bouchardnewport.com

Where to Eat

Midtown Oyster Bar

Talk about heaven for oyster lovers. Icy platters are heaped with glistening mollusks freshly plucked from local waters; crispy fried oysters and remoulade jazz up juicy burgers; and even the beer is brewed with oysters. With two bars, two decks, high-ceilinged dining rooms, and a marble raw bar, Midtown is where Newport’s shellfish devotees congregate. midtownoyster.com

Stoneacre Brasserie

“Refreshing,” it says in the brunch menu’s top-left corner. The heading refers to beverages such as lemon-elderflower spritzer, but the word itself also encapsulates the meals at this homey yet sophisticated restaurant. Handcrafted dishes such as lemon-ricotta pancakes with cranberry compote and whipped crème fraîche reflect the owners’ mission to help support local farms. stoneacrebrasserie.com

The Lawn at Castle Hill

The most scenic place in the state to grab a gin and tonic has upped the ante with the addition of a special al fresco menu. The ocean view is even better when you’re digging into New England favorites such as clam chowder, lobster rolls, and just-shucked oysters. castlehillinn.com


With almost 40 rums alone, it’s clear that Fluke means business with its bar program. From classic cocktails to seasonal house specials, and from nonalcoholic sippers to a wine list that’s as deep as it is varied, this bar and restaurant has every beverage base covered. (Note: Fluke is temporarily closed but reopens mid-February.) flukewinebar.com

Coastal Extreme Brewing Company

Peek in on the production setup, then sample the goods. Taste three Newport Storm brews or—if the hard stuff is more your speed—sip your way through three stages of Thomas Tew single-barrel rum (raw spirit, cask-strength aged rum, and final product). newportstorm.com

Cru Café

Russell Morin Catering’s multisensory cuisine is the talk of Newport’s most exclusive parties. Not invited? Be wowed by the flavors—and affordable prices—at the company’s new casual eatery. Breakfast, lunch, supper, and BYOB Sunday brunch menus are revamped weekly to highlight local ingredients. Coffee lovers, don’t miss the Bellevue blend, a collaboration with Rhode Island’s Custom House artisanal coffee roasters. crucafenewport.com