Newport Flower Show 2018, Great Chowder Cook-Off, and More!

Newport Flower Show 2018Here comes summer! The closer we get, the more jam-packed the months. June will see Newport Flower Show 2018, The Great Chowder Cook-Off, a British Motorcar Festival, the Newport Bermuda Race, Secret Garden Tours, and more!

There’s always something to do in Newport County, Rhode Island but there’s no denying that the warmer months offer even more variety.

With summer just around the corner, the reasons to come and soak up some Rhode Island atmosphere are greater than ever! (more…)

Newport by the Month

Planning a trip to Newport is always a good idea, but there are many things to consider when doing so.  Newport changes with every season and depending on the atmosphere and what you want to be able to do, picking the right time of year is crucial.  If you’re looking for a quiet get away without a lot of crowds, the spring is best.  If you want a bustling city with plenty of sunshine to head to the beach, the summer is yours.  If you’re looking for something in between, think about visiting in the Fall.  Here’s a quick glimpse into what you can look forward to when visiting Newport throughout the year:

January: January is perhaps the slowest and coldest month of the year.  Some Inns and Restaurants will be closed for vacations or renovations and many attractions are closed.  The only mansion open in January is the Breakers.  The good news is that rates are the lowest this time of year and there is no trouble with crowds.  For those interested in very quiet getaways, January might be for you.  My suggestion: book a room at an Inn with a fireplace and treat yourself to spa treatments.

February: February is another slow and quiet month, but with the two-week long annual Winter Festival, there is plenty to do.  Planned around February break for schools, the Winter Festival offers discounts at local stores and restaurants as well as a variety of events and concerts. My suggestion: Purchase a Festival button/bracelet and take advantage of as many activities as you can.  It’s a great opportunity to do something you probably wouldn’t have done before.  I have made soap, watched ice sculptures being created, had free mini spa treatments, eaten endless chicken wings and free nachos, and enjoyed a cocktail by an outside fire pit at an ice bar during the Winter Festival.

March:  The highlight of March is St. Patrick’s Day.  This is one of the biggest days for locals in Newport and is taken very seriously.  Events start early with Irish brunches before the big St. Patrick’s Day Parade which usually lasts around 2 hours and runs from Bellevue to Carroll Avenue.  After the parade, restaurants and bars will be open celebrating until close.  After St. Patrick’s Day, things slowly start to pick up and make way for the new season to start.  My suggestion:  Arrive early for the parade to get a great spot and take advantage of the great brunches and Irish specials.

April: Spring is in full swing in April, with daffodils everywhere you turn.  Blithewold Mansion celebrates with Daffodil Days, a month long celebration with various activities.  April is also host to Newport’s Spring Restaurant Week, where three course lunches and dinners are served at Newport’s best restaurants.  My suggestion:  Take advantage of the slower pace and enjoy activities such as Cliffwalk and Ocean Drive with smaller crowds.

May: I would consider May a transition month, where the crowds slowly start to pick up and things become more lively around Newport.  Memorial Day is the first big holiday weekend that brings people to town.  My suggestion:  Come in the middle of the month to enjoy Newport with good weather and small crowds.

June:  June is the jumpstart to summer.  The Chowder Festival unofficially kicks off the season at the beginning of the month and crowds grow as the month goes on.  The Newport Flower Show is also held in June, so many visitors come to enjoy the great garden displays at Rosecliff Mansion.  Sailing races start to become more frequent and Newport comes alive.  My suggestion: Book a stay for 3-4 nights and enjoy everything you can.  The weather is usually great and everything is open and in full swing.

July: July is probably the busiest month in Newport and rightly so.  With the month starting off with the 4th of July and ending with two of the most popular events in town, the Folk and Jazz Festivals, reservations should be made as soon as possible as July weekends seem to fill up the fastest.  The Tennis Hall of Fame Championships lasts for a week in July and fills another weekend with activity.  This month is also great for heading to the beach.  Expect large crowds and high energy. Restaurants will be busy, so make reservations if you do not want to wait to be seated.  My suggestion: Come during the week if you can, but if you can’t rent bicycles to get around town as traffic gets backed up during the summer.

August: Another busy summer month, but with less weekend festivals than in July.  August is usually the hottest month of the year, making it a great time to visit for beach days, boat rides and sipping cocktails at sunset.  First, Second and Third Beach are great beaches just over the Newport/Middletown Line with large parking lots and facilities.  Gooseberry and Reject’s Beach are along Ocean Drive and are smaller than the first.  Newport offers a variety of boat rides, from morning mimosa cruises, to sunset cocktail cruises and everything in between.  Take advantage of the sunshine and stay cool on the water.  My suggestion: Get to the beach early and take a bike if you can, enjoy lunch outdoors on the waterfront and end the day with a sunset sail.

September:  September sees the end of summer over Labor Day weekend, and gears up for the beautiful Fall season.  Cruise ships are frequent in September so the downtown shops and restaurants, as well as the mansions stay pretty busy.  The Newport Mansion Wine & Food Festival is held in late September and weddings keep the weekends busy as well.  My suggestion: Enjoy the last few warm days on the beach after Labor Day when parking is free and enjoy al fresco dining.

October:  In my opinion, October is the best month to visit Newport.  Unless your heart lies at the beach, October offers it all, beautiful crisp weather, festivals, and lesser crowds.  The holiday weekend and the Seafood Festival act as an unofficial end to the busy season.  The Harvest Fair at the Norman Bird Sanctuary starts off the month and the wharfs offer live music and activities.  Many restaurants close for the season after Columbus Day, so check with your Innkeeper or online to see what has closed.  My suggestion: Come for the Seafood Festival and head to Fort Adams for Baywalk and enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery.

November: November is another transition month.  After things slow down in mid-October, the crowds dissipate and Newport gears up for the Holiday Season.  The highlight of November is Fall Restaurant Week.  Metered parking downtown is free from November to April, so if the weather is too cold to walk, try to snag a spot without having to pay.  My suggestion: Enjoy the quiet and participate in restaurant week at a restaurant you usually wouldn’t think of going to.

December: December is all about the charm of the Holiday Season.  Downtown is filled with lights and it’s a great time to get your holiday shopping done.  The Breakers, Marble House and the Elms are all decked out with trees and poinsettias and are beautiful and unique experience this time of year.  My suggestion: Choose a mansion to visit in the morning and spend the afternoon and evening strolling through Newport’s unique shops, picking up gifts here and there for your loved ones.

Fall In Newport

After a wonderful summer season in Newport, fall is upon us and with it a variety of great festivals and activities to get us to winter.

The Newport International Boat Show will be back for its 41st year September 17th through the 20th. It is one of the country’s largest in water boat shows, covering 13 acres of Newport’s waterfront. All sorts of boats from power boats to sailboats, from 16 feet to 100 feet will be showcased on the water for guests to board and buy. International and national vendors will be on the shore with marine products and services that enhance the boating experience. Different seminars will be held at Christie’s at 41 North each day, with topics including: how to use radar effectively, cruising the Bahamas, suddenly singlehanded, outfitting above and below deck, catamaran cruising, wind and wave concepts, and full length battens. There will also be sailing for those looking to get a taste of the sport, a treasure hunt, and a cruisers party.

Wine and Food Festival September kicks off on Friday, September 25th with seminars at the Hotel Viking and the Wine & Rosecliff event followed by two days of grand tastings, wine dinners, seminars and more. Grand Tastings are held on Saturday and Sunday at Marble House from 12pm to 4pm and feature hundreds of wines, food tastings, cooking demonstrations, book signings, and a silent auction. On Sunday at 11am, Martha Stewart and Jacques Pepin will be talking about what is hot or not in lifestyle and food trends. Guests will be able to listen to their ideas while sipping champagne in Marble House’s Gold Ballroom.

Newport Vineyards will be celebrating their 20th year on September 27th with a “20th Anniversary Bash” held at the Vineyard.   The event starts at 2pm and tickets include wine tastings, food samples from Brix, Fatulli’s Deli & Bakery and Rhody Fresh Cheese, and a commemorative glass. There will be live music from the Little Compton Band and a Great Grape Stomp-Off.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary’s 41st Annual Harvest Fair starts things off for October. October 3rd and 4th from 10am to 5pm, this old fashion fair will be bringing all the colors of fall to life. This fair offers something for everyone – from the “Mabel Express” barrel train, to the monkey bridge and mud pit for children to local artisans and vendors for adults. All can play games at the Midway game area, listen to live music and enjoy food and drinks from various vendors. There will also be a home and garden competition, hay rides and more.

Nothing says fall quite like the Bowens Wharf Seafood Festival. This year’s Festival will be held on October 17th and 18th. Coastal Living Magazine called the Bowens Wharf Seafood Festival one of the “10 Fabulous Fall Festivals on the Coast.” From stuffed quahogs to clam cakes, shrimp to raw oysters and clams, and clam chowder to full lobster dinners, this festival has all the seafood a person can dream of. Local restaurants come together on Bowen’s Wharf for a weekend of celebrating great seafood and a great season. Beverages and non-seafood options are also available. There will be live music on the waterfront as well as children’s activities. The Festival starts at 11am and ends at 6pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.

This year’s Fall Restaurant Week will be held from November 6th through the 15th. Local restaurants will be offering three-course lunches and dinners for $16 and $35, respectively. Newport Restaurant Week is a great way to experience seasonal dishes and try restaurants that you might not have tried otherwise.

Mark your calendars, the next few months are filled with great activities for the whole family.

Off the Beaten Path

Historic mansions, waterfront dining and Cliffwalk are all things that come to mind when someone says they are visiting Newport, Rhode Island, and while visiting them will fill up plenty of time while here, there is lot more to Newport than just that. For those visiting for a second or third time, there are a variety of “off the beaten path” places to go and things to do. From vineyards, nature preserves, food tours, and more, you’ll be coming back again and again.

A ten minute drive can take you to two wonderful wineries with completely different styles. Both Newport Vineyards and Greenvale Vineyards produce a variety of great wines and offer daily tours and tastings. Newport Vineyards, located on East Main Road, is newly renovated and includes a new tasting room, marketplace and restaurant, Brix. They produce the greatest number of wine grapes in New England and have a large selection of wines. Daily tours leave at 1pm and 3pm, with tastings all day long. Greenvale Vineyards is located on Wapping Road and has a more country feel to it. They produce seven varieties of wine and offer daily tours at 2pm and tastings all day. On Saturday evenings, they host Jazz nights.

Sweetberry Farm is a 10 minute drive from Newport and depending on the time of year, you can pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins. They also have a small market, cafe, ice cream and a summer dinner and concert series every Tuesday night until September.

Cliffwalk may be the gem of Rhode Island but it isn’t the only scenic walk in town. The Sachuest Nature Preserve, the Normal Bird Sanctuary and Baywalk at Fort Adams all offer a different take on the scenic walk. The Sachuest Nature Preserve is just past second beach and offers two different trails, with about 3 miles of trail total. There are great views of second and third beach as well as the ocean, the Sakonnet River and over into Little Compton. The Norman Bird Sanctuary is in Middletown and offers seven miles of hiking trails, bird watching and hosts various events throughout the year. Baywalk at Fort Adams is a two mile loop that takes you around the whole park. This walk along the bay gives you great views of downtown Newport, the Newport Pell Bridge, Jamestown and the Historic Fort itself.

For those who aren’t sure where to eat, a food tour might be the thing for you. New to Newport, Newport Food Tours and Rhode Island Red Food Tours both offer great tastes of local foods. Newport Food Tours run Tuesday through Saturday at 5pm and takes guests on a two hour tasting tour of the Broadway area. Guests enjoy food and drinks at a variety of locally owned restaurants during this two hour tour. The Rhode Island Red Food Tour is a combined history, walking and food tour that lasts about three hours. They run on Fridays and Saturdays at 12pm. This tour teaches you about historic sites, architecture and folklore and you get to enjoy food from at least 6 different locally owned restaurants.

While the main beaches are located in Middletown, Ocean Drive has some great hidden beach gems. Both Gooseberry Beach and Reject’s Beach are great alternatives and are a little calmer and quieter. Gooseberry has a parking lot and some amenities, while Reject’s Beach can only be accessed by foot or bike. It is located at the end of Cliffwalk and is the public end of a private beach.

Sometimes the best way to end the day is with the sunset and a nice cocktail. While there are plenty of great waterfront restaurants downtown to enjoy a drink at dusk, Pineapples on the Bay , Castle Hill Inn and the Roof at the Vanderbilt Grace offer some of the best views in town. Pineapple’s is located at the Hyatt on Goat Island and offers picturesque views of the Newport Pell Bridge as well as the Goat Island Lighthouse. Castle Hill Inn is located on Ocean Drive and overlooks the bay. Sipping a cocktail in one of their Adirondack chairs on the lawn is a great way to end the day. The Roof at the Vanderbilt is located on Mary Street and has an incredible “top of Newport” view.

With so many things to do and see, we wouldn’t be surprised if you needed to extend your stay!

Festival Season has Arrived

Once June hits, and summer is in sight, Newport comes alive with festivals and special events occurring almost weekly.  From seafood to sports, land to sea, Newport’s festivals keep everyone entertained year after year.

The summer’s unofficial kickoff is at the Chowder Cook-Off, whose new home is at Fort Adams.  Enjoy endless samples of traditional chowder along with creative spins on the classic on Saturday, June 6th from 12pm to 6pm.  This is the longest running chowder championship and has been featured on both the Food Network and Travel Channel.  After sampling, vote for your favorite to win the cook-off.  Along side the Chowder Cook-Off, the Newport Oyster Festival will also be taking place, where local shellfish and seafood are presented farmers market style.  Enjoy various oyster varieties and participate in educational presentation and contests such as the oyster shucking and slurping contests.

The Newport Flower Show will be held from June 19th to the 21st.  Join the Preservation Society at Rosecliff to celebrate their 20th anniversary and the American Beauty Rose.  Rosecliff was the birthplace of the American Beauty Rode, which became a symbol of excellence.  Flower Show highlights include: floral designs, horticulture exhibits, garden displays, shopping, lectures, childrens activities and special guests, Jane Godshalk, Peter Hatch and P. Allen Smith. Things kick off Friday Night at the Opening Night Cocktail Party.  For tickets and more information, click here.

Clay Fest at Rough Point will be held on Saturday, June 27th.  Partnered with the Newport Art Museum, see the exhibit: Fired and Inspired: Ceramics at Rough Point and then try your hand pinching, coiling, throwing and firing on the lawn to celebrate the art of clay.  Various activities will be happening throughout the day for all-ages.

Kite Festival will be held at Brenton Point State Park July 11th and 12th.  This free event is held every year and people of all ages can come together to fly kites to fill the sky with all shapes and sizes.

The Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Championship takes place every year after Wimbledon, and is the first stop in the United States pro-tennis summer season.  This tournament is the only event outside of Europe to be played on grass courts and is the only chance to see professional men’s tennis in the Northeast before the US Open.  The Championship starts on July 11th and goes until the 19th.

The 32nd Annual Black Ships Festival will take place from July 17th through the 19th.  This festival commemorates the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, where Commodore Matthew Perry of Newport, which opened up trade between Japan and the United States, ending two centuries of Japanese isolationism.  To celebrate, the Black Ships Festival offers a weekend of events focusing on Japanese Art and Culture.  Some of these events include a formal gala, arts and crafts, martial arts and a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

This is only the start of all the fun activities that take place in Newport during the summer season.  Check back for more event information!


Volvo Ocean Race – Newport Stopover

The Volvo Ocean Race started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race with 19 teams and a 27,500 nautical mile course starting in Portsmouth, UK.  324 sailors set out on the first race, many not knowing the conditions that they would be facing on the open water. Three men lost their lives during this race with many other facing injury and disasters.  Sayula II was the first victor in this Ocean race, skippered by Roman Carlin, a Mexican business man.  His crew consisted of two Britons, a Dutchman, and Australian and five other Mexicans including his wife and son.  The next race started in 1977 and subsequent races every 4 years.

The race sponsorship was taken over by Volvo starting with the 2001 race and various stopover points were added.  Focus shifted and a new points system was created.  Since then, this round the world race takes place every 3 years, generally starting in Europe and stopping in various and changing cities each time.

This year’s race is set to be the longest course yet – 39,379 nautical miles.  This year’s race started in Alicante, Spain in October and has thus far seen Cape Town, South Africa, Abu Dahbi, United Arab Emirates,  Sanya, China,  Auckland, New Zealand, and after the longest leg of the race, Itajai, Brazil.  On April 19th, the teams started their 5,010 nautical mile journey to Newport where they will remain until May 17th when they will continue the race to Lisbon, Portugal, Lorient, France, and finally end in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of June.

Seven teams started in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, with crews from 19 nationalities and the first all-female crew to enter the race in over a decade, making it the most diverse fleet in years.  This year’s teams are Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel, Team Alvimedica, Mapfre, and Team Vestas Wind. Vestas Wind’s boat is currently under repair after being stranded on a reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals in the Indian Ocean.  The crew had to abandon the boat, which has since been recovered and brought to Italy for repair.  They are working to get the boat back in the race for the last two legs starting in Lisbon.

Racing crews consist of eight sailors and one non-sailing multimedia reporter.  The all-woman teams can race with 11 sailors and a multimedia reporter.  Every team must have two members that are under 30.  Each vessel qualifies by sailing 2,000 nautical miles non-stop.

Teams are estimated to arrive between May 5th and 9th and will remain in Newport until May 17th with various events leading up to the In-Port Race and the start of the Newport-Lisbon leg of the journey. Race Village will be open every day at Fort Adams State Park from 11am to 7pm.  Guests will be able to see the race vessels docked at the pier, enjoy views of the racing action, hear commentary about the on-water activity, see team exhibitions and enjoy food and entertainment.  Both weekends will feature youth sailing races and exhibition sailing.

The Pro-Am Race 1 will be held on May 14th and the Pro-Am Race 2 and 3 on the 15th.  The Sailors Parade will be held on Saturday, May 16th leading up to the In-Port Race followed by the IPR Prize Giving Ceremony.  The teams will then start the race to Lisbon on the 17th, following a Leg Restart Dock-Out Show from 11:30am to 12:15pm.  Newport is going to be bustling with activity and in the racing spirit.

Newport’s 27th Annual Winter Festival

After the holidays, things in Newport slow down quite a bit as the town gets ready for the new season.  Many attractions and restaurants close down for a winter break or some renovations. However, don’t write off Newport in the winter, especially February, when the February Winter Festival takes over for 10 days.

The Newport Winter Festival offers a variety of great events as well as restaurant and retail discounts to those who purchase a festival bracelet.  The bracelet costs $10 and can be purchased online or picked up at a variety of places in Newport, such as the Visitors Center.  You can still participate in Winter Festival Events without a bracelet, but you won’t get the great discounts that come with it.  The Festival will be held from February 13th, through the 22nd and includes over 150 events.

The Festival brings a variety of events to Newport from contests, to comedy, so there will be something for everyone.

Each Saturday during the festival, there will be a different cook-off.  On the 14th, the 20th Annual Samuel Adams Chili Cook-Off will be held at the Newport Harbor Hotel. Various restaurants, catering companies, and the local fire department will bring their best chili creations to see who makes the best chili in town.  The following Saturday, the 21st, the Hyatt Regency will be holding the 4th annual Chicken Wing Cook-Off, where you can vote on which local restaurant serves up the best wings.

There are also a variety of drink contests, such as the Tropical Drink Contest on Sunday, the 15th at the Gas Lamp Grille, the Martini Contest at the Barking Crab on the 18th and the Best Hot Drink Contest at the Red Parrot on the 19th.

For those who enjoy wine or a nice cocktail outside, Newport Winery is holding its annual “Wine-ter-fest” on the 14th and 15th. Guests can enjoy the outside wine bar while tasting a variety of Newport Vineyard wines, cheeses, chocolates and other edibles from local purveyors.  If that isn’t enough, the Hyatt Regency will have its Polar Pineapples on the weekends – an outdoor ice bar for those brave enough to endure the cold, while those who prefer the warmth can enjoy complimentary hot chocolate inside.

For those visiting with children there is a child fair at the Hyatt on the 15th and 16th with music, face painting, art, crafts and more.  OceanCliff is hosting a Princess Party on the 18th.  Anna and Elsa from Frozen will be there for a “royal” afternoon.  Festival Day will be held at Easton’s Beach on the last day of the Festival, the 22nd.  There will be a Children’s Block Hunt, Sand Sculpture Contest, and a Polar Plunge for those brave enough.

For those who are looking for music and entertainment, there will be a few concerts throughout the Festival, as well as an Illusionist and Comedy Show.  All shows will be held at the Hyatt Regency on Goat Island.  Beatlemania kicks things off on the 13th  There will also be an Eagles tribute band, “Another Tequila Sunrise” on the 14th, as well as a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, “Changes in Latitude,” on the 21st.  David Garrity, a professional illusionist will be entertaining on the 19th and on the 20th the Winter Festival Comedy Show with Kevin Meany and Kerri Louise will have people laughing all night long.

The Winter Festival bracelet also gets you great discounts and deals at your favorite restaurants, attractions and stores such as: free small plate appetizer at Deigo’s, 15% discount at Cupcake Charlie’s, free nacho sampling at The Brick Alley pub Tuesday – Friday 2-4pm, 20% off lunch, dinner and afternoon tea at the Hotel Viking, $2 off admission to the Newport Mansions, $2 off Seal Watching Tours, 15% off wine purchased at Greenvale Vineyards, 15% off at Bailey T’s Resortwear and much, much more.

For a complete list of discounts and all events, check out the Festival Website.

Holiday Happenings in Newport

The holiday season is in full swing and there are plenty of fun things to do in Newport to celebrate.  Decorated mansions, historic tours and tree lightings are just a few events to look out for when visiting  Newport in December.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions lasts until January 4th.  Marble House, the Breakers and the Elms are all decked out with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, wreathes and a total of 24 Christmas trees. Windows of all the mansions are lit with white candles, in order to keep with colonial traditions.  Local pastry chefs have created gingerbread mansions that are on display in the Breakers’ kitchen.  The mansions also host holiday evenings where guests can enjoy live music and light refreshments as they enjoy the beautifully decorated mansions.  Rosecliff will be hosting the Nutcracker, where you follow the performers through the mansion.  It’s last show is Friday, December 5th.

This year the theme for Christmas at Blithewold is “You are Invited,” where they will celebrate the Van Wickle family’s love of entertainment.  Every room will be an interpretation of a festive occasion that happened at Blithewold in the early 1900s.  Such occasions include: tea, garden parties, and sailing parties.  Events for Christmas at Blithewold includes afternoon teas, Santa sing-alongs, musical performances, and creative workshops for adults and children.   They are open from Tuesday through Sunday.

Undecked Halls at Rough Point is a behind the scenes tour of Doris Dukes Mansion in the wintertime.  Doris Duke spent her winters in her Hawaii home, so this tour showcases the quiet house, with decorated staff wing and stories about her holiday in the sun.  The tour includes the staff dining room, which is not normally open to the public as well as information about Rough Point’s winter caretaking.

The 44th Annual Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on December 6th, with events starting at 4:30 with Frosty the Snowman.   The tree lighting will take place at 6pm after a Christmas Carol sing-along.  Santa will be there after the lighting and local shops and restaurants will be open.

The Newport Historic Society will be sponsoring Holiday Lantern History Walking Tours, which will share the history of early American holiday traditions.  The tour includes how people of Colonial Newport recognized the holidays.

On New Year’s Day, those who wish can participate in the Polar Bear Plunge, which benefits A Wish Come True.  The plunge happens at 12 noon, followed by an after party.

For more information and more events happening during the holiday season in Newport, click here.

Fun Fall Festivities in Newport

There is no shortage of things to do in Newport now that it is officially Fall.  Fall in Newport is filled with a variety of festivals to keep you occupied from the Harvest Fair at the Norman Bird Sanctuary to the ever popular Oktoberfest to the Fall’s Restaurant Week.  You can spend your days picking apples and your nights drinking the latest pumpkin beer, enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in Newport.

Apple and pumpkin picking are fall favorites, and there are a few places in Newport County where you can do that.  Rocky Brook Orchards and Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown have plenty of apples for the picking.  You can spend a weekend with the family picking from over 60 varieties of apples from Rocky Brook Orchards, or spend an afternoon picking and then relaxing with a tasty meal from Sweet Berry Farm’s café.

Every weekend in October there’s a festival happening in Newport, starting with the Norman Bird Sanctuary 40th Annual Harvest Fair.  This year’s fair will be taking place October 4th and 5th on the grounds of the Norman Bird Sanctuary.  Family friendly games and activities will be available all day long as well as competitions to see who has the best fruit and vegetables on the island.

Columbus Day brings Oktoberfest to Newport.  The Newport Yachting Center will be taken over on the 11th and 12th and will bring the site, sounds and beer of Bavaria to you.  It’s Newport’s “official sendoff to summer” and will include three Biergartens showcasing a variety of seasonal beers and German food.

The third weekend in October, the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival will be taking over.  Local restaurants get to showcase their best seafood all day long.  Two days of seafood and live music will keep Bowen’s wharf buzzing.

The 3rd Annual Foodtruck Festival will be making its return on October 25th.  More than 20 of New England’s best food trucks will take over the Yachting Center to serve up great food ranging from BBQ to ice cream sandwiches.

This years Fall Restaurant week will be held from November 7-14th and is the perfect opportunity to visit some of those restaurants that were just out of your price point over the summer.  Three course lunches and dinners will be available at Newport’s best restaurants.  For participating restaurants and menus, click here.

Summer may be over but there’s still plenty to do to keep you busy on your trip to Newport.

August and September Happenings

Summer is in full swing and there is plenty happening in the next few 
months to keep you entertained and having fun.  From the Newport Jazz 
Festival, to the Annual Food and Wine Festival, there’s something for 

To kick the month of August off, the Newport Jazz Festival is in town, 
and while the weather might not be the best, it’s sure not going to 
stop anyone from hearing some great Jazz acts.  Taking place at Fort Adams, 
this is the second of two large festivals put on by the Newport 
Festivals Foundation and brings the world of Jazz to Newport for three 
days.  There are still tickets for those of you who need a last minute 
activity.  Fort Adams is also putting on a summer concert series, 
Sundown Thursdays, where they host free concerts by local artists.

The Newport Yachting Center hosts the Newport Concert and Comedy 
series, which has a lot of great acts coming between now and the end of 
September.  Some of these great acts include: Artie Lange, Nick 
Swardson, the Newport Reggae Festival, The Beach Boys, Bill Cosby, 
Alanis Morissette, Jim Jefferies, the Newport Celtic Rock Festival, and 
Amy Schumer.  For more details and to purchase tickets to one of these 
shows, click here.  Also happening down at the Newport Yachting Center 
is the International Boat Show, held from September 11th through the 
14th.  This show is one of the largest in-water boat shows in the 
country and showcases a variety of makes and models of sailboats and 
powerboats.  Domestic and International dealers will be present.  Off 
the water, there will be marine products and services available.

For those of you interested in drinking socially, the Newport Storm 
Luau and the Newport Food and Wine Festival might be for you.  On 
August 16th, Newport Storm will be hosting its 16th Annual Luau to 
support the Fort Adams Trust.  Beer and Rum drinks will be available as 
well as food vendors and a variety of Hawaiian themed entertainment 
will be keeping Fort Adams alive from 4:30 to 10pm.  The 9th Annual 
Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival will be held from September 
19th to the 21st.  Events take place all weekend at the Elms, Marble 
House and Rosecliff.  This year Martha Stewart and Sara Moulton will be 
joining the events along with a variety of other guest chefs, wine experts 
and personalities.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click 

If sports are more your thing, the Newport International Polo Series 
runs every Saturday until the end of September.  Top level amateur 
players from countries all over the globe head to Glen Farm in 
Portsmouth to compete in the Polo Series. The Tennis Hall of Fame will 
be celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary this year with the Hall of Fame 
Diamond Celebration, which will be held on August 16th.  There will be 
hors d’oeuvres, and open bar, dancing, croquet and prizes for the best 
50’s themed costumes.  For tickets, click here.

There’s still plenty to do in Newport as summer gives in to fall.  
Don’t miss out on all the fun activities while you’re here!

Spending the Summer Outside

Summer is officially here and the weather is beautiful.  Newport is a beautiful, historic destination, with plenty to do if you like to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the summer.  Whether you like to walk, lay on the beach, be out on the water or sip cocktails from an outdoor patio, Newport has you covered.

Cliffwalk is one of Rhode Island’s most popular attractions, and while parts of it are still closed until mid-July, the section from Memorial Boulevard to Marin Avenue offers spectacular views.  As you walk, you’ll get picturesque views of the water and cliffs you’re walking along, as well as the historic mansions on your other side.  When Cliffwalk re-opens in its entirety, the full 3.5 mile walk is a must.

If you’re looking for more, Fort Adams’ Baywalk, the Norman Bird Sanctuary and Sachuest Nature Preserve are all great places to get in a couple miles of walking, while enjoying different breathtaking views.  Not only can you tour the historic fort at Fort Adams State Park, relax on the beach, or learn to sail, there’s also a 2 mile walk called Baywalk that affords views of the downtown waterfront, the Newport Pell Bridge and views over into Jamestown.  The Norman Bird Sanctuary offers a variety of walking trails, one of which takes you on the rocks that overlook Second Beach.  If you’re not satisfied with those, the Sachuest Nature Preserve offers two trails, with views of Second Beach, Third Beach and the ocean.

If laying on the beach and swimming is more your style, there are plenty of beaches at your disposal in Newport.  First, Second, Third, Gooseberry, and Reject’s Beach are all open to the public and each offer something a little different.  First Beach, also known as Easton’s Beach, is located on Memorial Boulevard.  This Beach offers a snack bar, carousel, aquarium, skate park and gift shop and hosts a variety of tournaments and concerts during the summer.  Second Beach, or Sachuest Beach, is located in Middletown, past First Beach and is quieter than First Beach.  It’s bigger and offers better waves for those who enjoy surfing.  Third Beach is past Second Beach and offers calm waters without many waves.  It’s a great spot for windsurfing or SUP and also has a public boat ramp. Gooseberry Beach is located along Ocean Drive and is in a cove so the waters are calmer.  This beach is great for families and has a cafe where food can be purchased.  Finally, Reject’s Beach is a public section at the end of Bailey’s Beach, which is private.  You can only access it by walking or biking and is usually less crowded.

If you’d rather be on the water than in the water, Newport offers a variety of boat tours for every taste.  Whether you’re looking for a sunset sail with a cocktail, a boat with a story to tell, or a private charter, Newport has it.  Classic Cruises of Newport offers outings on both their Schooner Madeline and Rum Runner II.  The Schooner Madeline is a 72 foot rig schooner that allows you to experience a 19th century Bermuda rig schooner.  They offer day tours and a sunset cocktail cruise.  If sailing isn’t your thing, they have a classic speedboat, the Rum Runner II, which is a high speed motor yacht that will bring you back to the days of rum smuggling during the prohibition.  Day sails and cocktail cruises are available.  The Adirondack II is an 80-foot, turn-of-the-century-style pilot schooner where you have a choice of mimosa sails, dark and stormy sails, day sails and sunset sails.  On Watch Sailing offers private charters of their Lyra, a 6 passenger sailboat for those who want to spend the day on the water with a close group of friends or family.  These are just a few of the wonderful boating options Newport has to offer.  For other options and more information, click here.

Finally, for those who just want to relax all day with a cocktail, or wind down after a long day of exploring Newport, there are some great outdoor bars that offer some of the best views in town.  Pineapples on the Bay on Goat Island, The Lawn at Castle Hill,  Top of Newport at the Hotel Viking, and the Roof Top Bar at the Vanderbilt Grace all offer great cocktails with incredible views.


June and July in Newport

The summer season is fast approaching and there are many events happening around Newport to keep you occupied through the end of July.

The events kick off with the Great Chowder Cook-Off and Newport Oyster Festival on June 7th at the Newport Yachting Center.  The Chowder Cook-Off draws competitors from around the country and is the longest running chowder championship.  If you’re attending, get ready to sample endless amounts of traditional and exotic chowders in three categories: clam, seafood and creative.  There will be live music and alternative food and bar options throughout the festival.  The Oyster Festival takes place along with the Chowder Cook-Off and includes great local shellfish and seafood presented farmers’ market style.  The Oyster Festival continues after the Cook-Off comes to an end so it’s a great “after party.”  For more information, click here.

If you’re looking to get all dresses up and attend a Gala, then consider the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry Underwater Gala happening on July 5th.  This event is sponsored by the non-profit Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island in order to celebrate their 200-foot square rigged Tall Ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s first summer.  The Gala will take place at the Newport Shipyard and will pay tribute to the completion this official Sailing Education Vessel.  Guests of the Gala will be able to enjoy cocktails, dinner and dessert while touring the ship and participating in live and silent auctions.

Come July, the summer season is in full swing, and festivals become more frequent, starting with the Newport Kite Festival.  The Newport Kite Festival will be held July 12th and 13th at Brenton Point State Park.  This events is just what it seems, a weekend spent flying kites and enjoying the outdoors.  A variety of kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors will fill the sky on Ocean Drive.  This event is free and is always a great site to behold.  For more information, check out the official Newport Kite Festival website here.

On July 17th, the Preservation Society of Newport County and Designer Angela Moore will be hosting their first fashion show and champagne brunch that will be held at Rosecliff mansion.  The theme is “Newport Forever,” to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Newport and the city’s “nautical chic resort style.”  Angela Moore will be showing her new collection as well as debuting limited edition Newport Forever jewelry.  The doors open at 9am with cocktails and will proceed to the ballroom for the fashion show and brunch.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

The Black Ships Festival will be held from July 17th through the 20th.  This festival is a celebration of the friendship between Newport and Japan and includes events that emphasize Japanese Art and Culture.  It commemorates the achievements of Commodore Matthew C. Perry of Newport, who negotiated the Treaty of Kanagawa, ending two centuries of Japanese trading isolation.  Events during this festival include: a formal Gala, Japanese arts and crafts, martial arts, tea ceremonies and Taiko Drums. For the full calendar of events, click here.

One of, if not, the most popular Festival that takes place in Newport is the Newport Folk Festival, which will take place July 25th through the 27th.  This music festival has been a Newport tradition since it was founded in 1959.  This festival is known for introducing some major stars to the folk world such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.  This years line up includes Nickel Creek, Deer Tick, Jenny Lewis, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Houndmouth, Phox, The Oh Hellos, Benjamin Booker and many, many more.

If you weren’t able to get tickets to the Folk Festival in time, the Newport Antiques Show will also be in town from July 25th through the 27th and will take place at St. George’s School in Middletown.  This is one of the nation’s premier antiques venues and it presents a large selection of American antiques, from over 40 of the country’s top dealers.  This event benefits both the Newport Historical Society and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County. For a list of exhibitors and ticket information, click here.

With summer rolling in, make sure you check out some of the great festivals and events happening to round off a great Newport vacation.

Newport Preservation Society Mansions

In the early 1900’s, Newport transformed into a summer resort area for many of America’s wealthiest.  Families from the Vanderbilt’s to the King’s and Griswold’s, built their summer “cottages” on the streets of Newport, many overlooking the ocean.  Today, many of these mansions have been preserved by the great work done by the Preservation Society of Newport County, and have become one of the most popular attractions when visiting Newport.

The Breakers is the most popular mansion due to its size and amazing location, but there are many other great mansions to visit.  The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff and Chateau-sur-Mer are also very popular and are among the main five that are open for the majority of the year.  Later in the season Kingscote, the Green Animals Topiary Gardens, the Isaac Bell House, Chepstow and the Hunter House open for tours.  All of these mansions offer something different and take guests back in time to see what life was like and how architecture and has developed throughout their history.

The Breakers is the grandest of the “summer cottages” in Newport.  It was built by the Vanderbilt’s in 1893 and is a symbol of the family’s social and financial superiority.  The current version was built to replace an earlier wood-frames house that had been destroyed by a fire.  The 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin inspired the Breakers and it was kept in the family until 1972 when it was purchased by the Preservation Society.

Marble House was a social and architectural landmark that helped set the tone for Newport’s transformation into a summer resort area filled with lavish mansions.  It was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K Vanderbilt.  William gave the house to his wife as a 39th birthday present, however they divorced in 1895 and Alva remarried to Oliver H.P. Belmont and moved down the street to Belcourt Castle.  She later added the Chinese Tea House to the property and held rallies for women’s rights.  She sold the house in 1932 and it was acquired by the Preservation Society in 1963.

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York.  Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry and had his house designed in 1898, after the mid 18th century French Chateau d’Asnieres.  Construction ended in 1901 and the house remained in the family until it was purchased and opened to the public in 1962.  The Elms not only offers an audio tour of the property, but also a behind the scenes Servants Life Tour, which allows you to see a different side of the mansions.

Rosecliff is well known for its movie history.  Movies such as Amistad, 27 Dresses, True Lies, and The Great Gatsby were filmed there, and it is also a popular venue for hosting various events throughout the year.  It was completed in 1902 and Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a Nevada silver heiress, hosted grand events and had famous guests, such as Harry Houdini.  It was given to the Preservation Society in 1971.

Chateau-sur-Mer was the most palatial residence in Newport from 1852, until the completion of the Breakers in the 1890’s.  It is a showcase of High Victorian architecture and furniture.  It was built for William Shepard Wetmore, a China trade merchant, as an Italianate-Style Villa. It remained in the family until the Preservation Society purchased it in 1969.

Other Preservation Society mansions include: Kingscote, Chepstow, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House and the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, which open up later in the year.  For a complete operating schedule, click here.   To look at ticket options and purchase, click here.

Spring Happenings in Newport

The cold weather is starting to turn warmer, and soon enough spring will be in full force.  Newport is waking up and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy this spring.  Whether you enjoy great dining options, historic mansions, or great sailing, Newport has something to offer while the flowers start to bloom.  Here are just a few of the great events happening between now and the end of May.

The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff and Chateau-sur-Mer are all open daily from 10am to 6pm, except the Breakers, which opens at 9am.  On May 10th, two more mansions will open for the season: Green Animals Topiary Garden and Kingscote.  Rough Point will be opening for the season on Friday, April 11th.  These mansions are full of beauty and history and you can see what life used to be like in Newport.

It’s not surprise that Newport is home to fantastic restaurants with varying cuisines.  One of the best ways to enjoy these restaurants is during Spring Restaurant week, which will be held from April 4th through the 13th.  You can enjoy three course lunches and dinners for $16 and $35, respectively.  It’s a great opportunity to try a new restaurant you’ve never been to before.  To see participating restaurants, menus and to make reservations, click here.

Blithewold Mansion in Bristol will be celebrating it’s annual Daffodil Days from April 1st through the 27th.  You can enjoy thousands of yellow daffodils as you welcome spring and move on from the cold winter we’ve had.  Various events will be held during the month, including afternoon teas, April vacation camp and hands-on workshops.  Daffodil Days ends with the Fairy Festival on April 27th, which celebrates spring with a “play-day” for all.  For more information about Blithewold and Daffodil Days, click here.

This year, Easter falls on Sunday, April 20th.  On April 19th, the Newport Preservation Society of Newport will be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch at Rosecliff.   Children will get to take part in a giant egg hunt and meet the Easter Bunny.  On Sunday, follow up Easter Sunday mass with a brunch.  Many hotels offer great brunch options, such as the Hotel Viking, Vanderbilt Grace and the Hyatt.

In May, the Atlantic Cup is back during Memorial Day weekend.  This event is a carbon neutral sailing race.  The race starts in Charleston, SC, heads to New York and ends with the final stretch here in Newport.  Teams will race in Narragansett Bay for the third and final leg of the Class 40 sailing race, the only one of its kind held in America.  There will be activities for everyone to enjoy, on and off the water.  To learn more about this race and see a schedule of events, click here.

Did Somebody Say Festival?

Summer certainly is the season of festivals here in Newport. This summer has been off to a great start with lots of warm sunny days and beautiful starry nights perfect for enjoying just about everything Newport has to offer . This time we’ll be highlighting events from July 15th to August 15th and as always there’s sure to be something for everybody.

All sorts of music festivals abound this time of year! The Newport Music Festival allows concert goers to enjoy chamber music in the historic mansions from July 10th-28th. See their website  to buy tickets and view the complete schedule. The Newport Blues & BBQ Festival on July 20th  is sure to be a delicious treat for ear and palate alike! Just like all events at the Newport Yachting Center, it’s sure to be a hit. Click here to get your tickets now! Just a week later is the not to be missed, world famous Newport Folk Festival out at Fort Adams from July 26th-28th. Hurry to their website because tickets for Friday are still available to an otherwise sold out event which will feature acts such as The Avett Brothers, Beck, and The Lumineers. The lineup is always spectacular so it’s never too early to start planning for Folk Fest 2014. For another famous festival out at the fort, check out the Newport Jazz Festival on August 2nd-4th. Several great acts are on their way and tickets for all days are still available at their website.

Looking to celebrate a bit of local culture? These festivals will have something in store for you! The Black Ships Festival celebrates a history of friendship between Newport and Japan which began when Commodore Perry was the first foreigner to trade with Japan after nearly 200 years of isolationism. Stop by Touro Park on Pelham Street on July 18th-21st and see some fine examples of Japanese art and culture and check out their website for more details. Once you’re ready for something more Mediterranean, head over to the Hellenic Fest at the corner of Thames and Brewer Streets on July 19th and 20th. Experience the finest food, music, and ouzo that Newport’s Greek Community has to offer! Get your preview of the festivities here. Lastly, you haven’t been truly immersed in Newport’s local culture until you consider the pull the that the tides and the surf have on this community. Water Bros will be hosting their third annual Surf Fest on July 20th. Click here to learn more!

The summer is also the season fantastic parties and important galas. Have an eye for fine art? Help us celebrate Newport Art Museum’s 100th year on July 20th. Come participate in Newport’s tradition of fine art by clicking here for more details. Or support the Newport Music Festival at the Sapphire Gala on July 29th. Tickets are available here. On July 27th the Aquidneck Land Trust hosts Fiesta Verde, their annual summer fundraiser which helps raise the money to protect Aquidneck Island’s remaining green space. To contribute to this important cause and to attend what has recently been named one of Newport’s best summer parties click here and scroll down to the “Fiesta Verde” section.

Is it time to kickback and just enjoy summer? Newport’s famous cliff walk, which gives breathtaking views of ocean and historic properties alike, is in great shape despite some damage from Hurricane Sandy. Most of the 3.5 trail is still open! So get out your walking shoes! After you’re done you can always head to the beach! Newport is blessed with many fantastic beaches. Easton’s (First) Beach is a short walk from Bellveue Avenue right on Memorial Boulevard. After a good long day outside in the sun, be sure to catch a Newport Gulls game in historic Cardines Field! Click here to see their schedule.

There is plenty going on here in our little city by the sea. We hope that you join us, whether for a day or a week, and come explore. See you on the beach!