North America

Discovering Newport, Rhode Island


Going to Newport, in the state of Rhode Island, in the USA, had always been “on my list”. A pretty seaside town, known for its yachting community, the incredible mansions, great food and shops. It had Mrs. O written all over it.

Located under two hours from Boston, Massachusetts, it was the perfect location for me to visit with my friend Lauren. Inspired by the current Gatsby craze (part of the film was actually shot there, and obviously easy to understand why), Discover Newport wanted us to explore all it had to offer… in true style.

 

Saturday

Helicopter Tour.. why not?

Helicopter Tour.. why not?

We drove straight to the local airport, as a helicopter awaited us – it was my first time up in the air in one of these babies and I was a little bit worried. But I tell you something, it was a great way to see the area from above and understand how everything fits together. The trip, organised by Bird’s Eye View Helicopters, took around 15 minutes (and great value starting at $65). I liked what I saw..

From the airport, we made our way to the port. Why? Because it was time to get a different perspective of this quaint and pretty little town.

What perspective? Well, from the air, we moved to the sea. We had over 2 hours in our America’s Cup yacht, courtesy of 12 meter charters (2-hour harbour cruises start at $73). There was a “little bit of water” and wind involved (see below, my trousers were not originally two-toned). Newport is also known as the “Sailing Capital of the World”, and boy did we breathe a bit of the Narragansett Bay!

How much excitement can one have in an afternoon? In Newport, RI you never know!

How much excitement can one have in an afternoon? In Newport, RI you never know!

After our water sports experience, it was time to warm up a little bit, so we headed back to short and feasted on a delicious clam chowder, with a side of Margarita, why not?

Keeping ourselves warm and nourished

Keeping ourselves warm and nourished

And then, it was time to finally check-in at our hotel, which was the lovely Vanderbilt Grace. Originally bought by Mr. Alfred Vanderbilt in 1909 as a gift to his mistress Agnes (why not?), it has been beautifully restored by Grace Hotels. The result? A very stylish, yet very understated and comfortable boutique hotel experience.

Our home in Newport, RI - The Vanderbuilt Grace

Our home in Newport, RI – The Vanderbuilt Grace

Nothing says welcome like a glass of champagne on arrival. Grace does it to every guest and I was intrigued and surprised by the sparkling wine on offer (you know that despite the method used, if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region in France, it cannot be called that). Domaine Carneros is one of the most reputable brands (from the USA) and this particular vintage was produced by Taittinger, one of my favourite champagne brands. I found this detail most curious, and was even more delighted when I found a whole bottle welcoming us to our very cool 2-bedroom suite.

J'adore Taittinger...

J’adore Taittinger…

Our first dinner took place at TSK – Thames Street Kitchen,  a “field to fork”, chef-driven eatery which offers locally sourced cuisine in a very relaxed atmosphere. True to its concept, Lauren and I “brought our own bottle” of Zinfandel, which was the perfect pairing to our great dinner.

TSK Thames Street Kitchen

TSK Thames Street Kitchen

 

Sunday

The cozy and stylish garden at Vanderbilt Grace

The cozy and stylish garden at Vanderbilt Grace

We spent a very lazy morning enjoying our champagne breakfast (included in all room rates at Vanderbilt Grace) at the stunning garden area. Pretty sure you can also imagine how tasty evening cocktails can also be.

Time for some shopping – and there was quite a bit of exploring to do in town. One of our favourites? Sequin. Originally from Newport, and with pop-up summer shops in the coolest places around the States (think Palm Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket), it was like going to a candy store. We coined the sentence “arm candy” and we did buy a few…

 

newport arm candy

Newport arm candy

Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. This time around, we headed towards the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which reminded me so much of the UK! It was at this place that the first US National Lawn Tennis Championships took place (which led to the event which is now the US Open).

No rest for the wicked… so it was time to check out some mansions! We enjoyed breathtaking views as we walked part of the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, where you can take more than a sneak peek at the incredible mansions.

Our home for the afternoon? The Breakers, which is the “grandest” of Newport’s summer cottages, and the playground of the Vanderbilt family. I thought it was a fine piece of real estate and a very nice summer home. As you can see from the photo below, plenty of space for garden party!

 

The Breakers mansion - plenty of space for Mrs. O and friends

The Breakers mansion – plenty of space for Mrs. O and friends

After a great couple of hours, we knew what we needed! And cocktails was the magic word! We quickly changed and made our way to the stunning Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateaux hotel located just off the incredible Ocean Drive. I was incredibly impressed with my watermelon jalapeño margarita (I was getting into Mexican mode…) and Lauren introduced me to dirty martinis. Yummy!

Sunset Cocktails at Castle Hill

Sunset Cocktails at Castle Hill

It was also here that we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets ever – it rained, but then it stopped and it was simply stunning.

One stunning sunset...

One stunning sunset…

We had an incredible dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, where from the a-la-carte menu, you could “build your own” tasting menu (starting at $75 for 3-course or $105 with wine pairings). We were brave and went for the 5 courses.. and certainly were not disappointed!

I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed our time in Newport. A weekend simply wasn’t enough, and I understand how so many people go back for more year after year.

 

Lauren and I loved this weekend trip

Lauren and I loved this weekend trip

One of the things I loved was how “unresorty” it actually felt – Newport has year round residents, and it isn’t only open for business 3 months of the year – and that says a lot about a place. Would I go back? I promise you I will next time I head over to that part of the world!

 

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Discover Newport , who put together and organised this incredible itinerary for Lauren and myself. We were guests of Vanderbilt Grace who provided us with fab accommodation during our stay, and were treated by Bird’s Eye View Helicopters, 12 meter charters, TSK – Thames Street Kitchen and Castle Hill Inn. Our car was provided by Argus Car Hire. Opinions are my own – and I loved everything about this trip.

 


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38 Comments

  1. Monique

    July 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    So quintessentially NE USA. You two clearly had a ball!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Oh we did!!

  2. Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog

    July 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    So glad to meet you, Mrs. O.

    As a luxury-hotel obsessed person, it’s nice to meet someone who likes them as much as I do.

    I adore your travels and your blog.

    Leigh
    Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog recently posted..Instagram Travel Link-Up: Why you Should Indulge in Fried Shrimp, Hushpuppies and Ice Cream in Calabash, N.C.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you Leigh for your very kind words! As my mother says, if you leave home, it was to be better!

  3. Elena

    July 19, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Have never been but looks the a dream trip! Looks like the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure!
    Elena recently posted..Instagram Travel Thursday: Catch the MomentsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Exactly! A fab place!

  4. Satu VW

    July 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Looks like an amazing trip! And champagne on arrival is definitely priceless…. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!
    Satu VW recently posted..Discovering Norway – Instagram Travel ThursdayMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      It’s all about the details!

  5. Katja of Skimbaco

    July 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Looks like a DREAM trip!
    Katja of Skimbaco recently posted..The Royal Suite at the New York Palace: Special Occasions in LuxuryMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      It was fab fab fab!

  6. Erin at The World Wanderer

    July 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I absolutely love Newport, but it’s been years since I’ve been back. Actually, my friends and I were just talking about making a trip in the fall. I’ll send this over as inspiration. 😉
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: Limbo.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 16, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Good girl!

  7. Mary Anne

    July 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Havenºt been to Newport for years.. such a nice place! Love this post!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks! really loved Newport too!

  8. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    July 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    What a phenomenal visit! I did my first heli ride at the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles. It was a wonderful -and too short- a ride! And a margarita with the clam chowder? Class!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Boarding Pass Stories: Christchurch, New ZealandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      I needed something special after the wet boat trip!!

  9. Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

    July 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I love everything about this except for the boat ride – would it trigger my motion sickness???? Sadly, this is my downfall in life!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      I would say skip it, in that case!!

  10. Anita Mac

    July 9, 2013 at 3:33 am

    All over a day on the water…and that sunset! Gorgeous. Have never been to Newport but have been inspired.
    Anita Mac recently posted..Monday Morning Series: The Beauty of Plitvice Lakes National ParkMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Ohh,thank you! Hope you make it there, it’s fab!

  11. lorrie brooks

    July 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    awesome photos you got to do the high life of Newport I did the cheaper tourist version that I made up myself which was compacted into several times
    Day 1- check into bed and breakfast Marshall Sloccum in which is near the Viking Hotel, explored near waterfront went to stored bought painting. that evening found a restaurant near the waterfront
    Day 2- walked to the cliff walk and did that then visited the breakers later found the ben and jerrys store there and went to tourist shop nearby.
    Day 3- took bus to providence did some ancestry work for my family tree and went to the zoo which was a major disspointment
    lorrie brooks recently posted..Your CommentaryMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Sounds like fun, too!

  12. lola

    July 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    that was so much fun to read!! makes me miss it already. you definitely need to return and bring Mr. O along too.
    lola recently posted..Lil Lola enters Barbie’s World in real lifeMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Now that is an idea!

  13. preston brookes

    July 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

    phew, im catching up with ya. im saving some for tomorrow 🙂 a great read. thanks 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you, Preston!

  14. Inma, A World to Travel

    July 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Awesome piece of info that comes in handy since I’m heading there on Monday! 🙂 btw, loving Rhode Island and today’s 4th of July parade in Bristol!
    Inma, A World to Travel recently posted..Planning a South America adventureMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Hope you have an amazing time!

      • Inma, A World to Travel

        July 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Thanks! We did have a fab day!
        The Breakers mansion, Ocean Drive and Bellevue Ave as well as a nice lobster-involved dinner were in the menú 🙂 Loved it! See if we can make it to Newport another day before leaving RI!
        Inma, A World to Travel recently posted..Meet us halfway through 2013My Profile

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          July 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

          Hope you can!!

  15. Kiera Reilly

    July 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend. I must visit one day. I love that Lauren introduced you to dirty martinis…so yummy!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      She’s a great girl!

  16. John M

    July 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Haven’t been to Newport for a good 10 years. Very good place. May be time to go back

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Indeed!

  17. Madalena

    July 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, what a place! You ladies had a lot of fun!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Madalena, it was fab indeed!

  18. Mira

    July 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Wonderful 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Yup, no way around it!

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