Your Next Weekend Escape: Newport, Rhode Island
Pack your boat shoes and your best nautical stripes—you’re off to Newport, Rhode Island, for the weekend. A quick flight or drive from NYC, Newport is known for its sailing culture, fresh seafood and stunning cliffside mansions. Whether you’re down for rosé on a yacht or boutique-hopping between meals of fresh oysters, the New England hamlet has everything you need for a picturesque weekend getaway.
Plenty of airlines, including Delta and JetBlue, offer 70-minute nonstop flights from NYC to Newport, but it’s also a totally reasonable three-and-a-half-hour drive. Once you arrive, check into one of the area’s top-notch hotels, like the newly opened Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina (yep, the same folks behind the trendy Montauk establishments). The Newport location features the same beachy aesthetic, ocean views, gourmet food (including an outpost of Scarpetta) and cozy rooms (starting at $249). For more old-school luxury, check out The Vanderbilt, a 33-room boutique hotel (from $349) housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion once owned by the eponymous family. Don’t miss the chance to sun at the outdoor pool and book a massage at the property’s spa.
Wake up early to set out on the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile coastal trail along the eastern cliffs of Newport. You’ll get beautiful views of not only the ocean but also many of the area’s elaborate estates. (Sightseeing any real estate–obsessed New Yorker can get behind.) Be sure to book a tour at one of the more famed mansions, such as [[bad link>>]] The Breakers, the Vanderbilt family’s summer “cottage,” or Rosecliff, an heiress’s getaway modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles. You’ll learn the history of the area as well as ogle the gilded ballrooms and turn-of-the-century furnishings. The Instagram opportunities are endless.
Order a dozen—or two—oysters for a late lunch at one of the many dockside seafood restaurants before boarding a chartered sail for the afternoon or early evening. Sightsailing offers private charters, where you can bring your own wine and picnic. (Pass the Domaines Ott, please.) Ortake a public sunset tour, where you’ll relax on a schooner for an hour and 40 minutes, spotting lighthouses and America’s Cup racing boats.
For dinner, don a blazer or pearls and waltz into a bygone era with a reservation at The White Horse Tavern. The oldest operating restaurant in the U.S., the tavern has been serving up New England fare since 1673. The Dutch colonial building features dark wood and charming fireplaces, setting the ambience for a meal of Rhode Island clam chowder, Georges Bank scallops, native lobster and grilled swordfish. You won’t leave hungry nor thirsty—we’re partial to a glass of vino from the Wine Spectator Award–winning wine list. Note the dress code, though: Guests used to wear their Sunday best. Today it skews more business casual, but you’ll still want to leave the flip-flops at home.
Take an early excursion to the Beavertail Lighthouse in neighboring Jamestown. Dating to 1753, it’s one of the three oldest lighthouses in the country. There you’ll get panoramic views of the Narragansett Bay with nary a crowd in sight. Then pack your towel and flip-flops and head to Fogland Beach. It’s popular for all sorts of water sports, including paddleboarding, kitesurfing and kayaking. Plus, the beach is dog-friendly, so your pup can tag along.
Post–water sports, spend the afternoon shopping around Thames Street. From artisan jewelers to boat shoe makers, you can stock up on plenty of preppy attire befitting of a Kennedy. For gifts, stop into the Shore Soap Co., where husband-and-wife duo Jake and Steph Kopper craft homemade natural soaps and soy candles in ocean-inspired scents. Before venturing home, stop by Flo’s Clam Shack for a clam cake—they’ve been frying them up since the 1930s.