Boston Traveler: Sightsee, Sail, and Sip in Newport This Summer
The little City by the Sea is serving up big fun this season.
Newport has always been an ideal destination for Bostonians looking for a quick day trip. But if you feel like you’ve “been there, done that,” think again. With splashy new luxury hotels and enticing restaurants and activities, you now need more than just a day or two to explore all this bustling seaside town has to offer.
Ogling Gilded Age mansions along the famed 3.5-mile Cliff Walk remains a must, especially for those new to the area. But if you’d prefer to keep away from crowds, Fort Adams State Park (home to the Newport Jazz Festival, held this year July 30 through August 1) and Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge are also scenic spots to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
For a touch of culture, the Newport Art Museum showcases more than 3,000 works from the 18th century to the present day. The International Tennis Hall of Fame started welcoming visitors again in April and features a fascinating exhibit called “The Original 9,” which tells the story of the women who took a stand against wage discrepancies in the professional game. And God’s Little Acre, an African Colonial cemetery, gives new life to the story of people involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
Thrill seekers, meanwhile, will also find plenty to keep them busy. Family-friendly Rail Explorers USA, which opened in 2017 in nearby Portsmouth, lets you literally ride the rails as you pedal your way down decommissioned train tracks with views of Narragansett Bay and magnificent homes. For an even more adventurous diversion, the America’s Cup Yacht Racing Experience allows guests to hoist the mainsail and race along the bay in authentic 12-meter sailing yachts.
Quench your thirst after a long day of sightseeing at Newport Vineyards: Spread over 100 acres of farmland, the complex is New England’s answer to Napa after undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation that greatly expanded its restaurant, on-site brewery, and vineyards. When it’s time to dine, head to the newly opened Stoneacre Garden, which serves up farm-to-table dishes on its glorious rooftop deck—or take advantage of the restaurant group’s picnic service, which offers delightful spreads set up in some of Newport’s most beautiful settings. Then savor a nightcap at the Salvation Café, a hidden gem beloved by locals for its tiki-inspired cocktails and mojito bar. Just don’t tell anyone else about it.
It takes less than two hours on Route 24 to reach Newport’s shores. Or enjoy a leisurely 2.5-hour ride on Amtrak, which has eight departures from Boston to Newport daily.
The 57-room Brenton Hotel is one of Newport’s newest waterfront luxury properties, offering intriguing amenities such as sunset cruises on a private yacht and a rooftop bar with spectacular views of the harbor. The 84-room Hammets Hotel, another new property on the wharf, pays homage to the working-class maritime roots of the city with nautical-themed design touches throughout.