Newport, Rhode Island
With its proximity to New York (a quick 3.5 hour drive) and Boston (a mere 1.5 hours), the Gilded Age mansions, scenic Cliff walks, oyster shacks, sailboats, and yachts, make Newport, Rhode Island a pretty ideal seaside getaway. The city draws huge crowds in the summer, but there are enough activities in this old-world, blueblood stronghold to satisfy everyone. No boat shoes or cable knit sweaters required.
The Lawn590 Ocean Ave., Rams Head | 401.849.3800
On any evening of the week, have a drink reclining in an Adirondack chair overlooking the East Bay at Castle Hill Inn’s outdoor restaurant. It opens for the summer each year and along with drinks, serves up delicious New England fare, which is some of the best around.
Tallulah on Thames464 Thames St., Downtown | 401.849.2433
If you need a break from all the chowder, fried clams and lobster rolls, Tallulah is a welcome respite from its neighbors on touristy Thames Street. With its whitewashed walls and beautifully plated food, they’re single-handedly elevating the town’s food scene. Chef Jake Rojas updates his four and six course prix-fixe menu often, and works with local vendors and producers to source all ingredients, which makes for a meal that’s as fresh as they come. During summer months, head to Jamestown to check out Chef Rojas’ taco truck.
Newport Creamery181 Bellevue Ave., Bellevue | 401.846.6332
Belly up to the circular bar at this soda fountain off Bellevue Ave for classic shakes (specifically, the “Awful Awful”), sundaes, and cones, all with flavors ranging from black raspberry to maple walnut and crazy vanilla (vanilla flavor, crazy colors). Newport Creamery began by delivering local milk to residents in the ’30s. They then opened a “milk bar” on Main Road, a little north, but we head to this location for a quick, sweet, pit stop in town.
Perro Salado19 Charles St., Downtown | 401.619.4777
If you’re driving in on a Friday night, make this husband-and-wife helmed restaurant your first stop. Located in the northern part of town, where most restaurants are pretty tired/run-of-the-mill, this casual Mexican restaurant is the exception. Andi makes the cocktails (her cilantro-jalapeno martini is insane) while Dan heads up the kitchen, bringing his own brand of upscale Mexican to Newport. Expect perfectly battered fish tacos, a Mexican-infused kale salad, and avocado fries, which probably shouldn’t be missed.
White Horse Tavern26 Marlborough St., Downtown | 401.849.3600
The tavern dates back to 1673, when it was a colonial watering hole, and it looks it with patriotic flag curtains, deep fireplaces, and woodsy interiors. The food is of the delicious New England variety: Chef Rich Silvia sources local Rhode Island fish, meat, and vegetables to make traditional dishes like clam chowder, fish cakes, lobster macaroni & cheese, and clam boils. There’s a formal dining room upstairs, or stay downstairs and grab a snack and drink at the bar. There’s also a brunch menu on Sundays with local specialties like lobster stuffed omelettes and eggs benedict.
The Mooring1 Sayers Wharf, Newport Wharf | 401.846.2260
Head to this big, bustling Newport Wharf restaurant for lunch before visiting the museum and library just a few blocks away. It’s a no-frills and family-friendly affair during the day (lots of kids coloring on placemats), but the casual food is super tasty. In fact, it’s perfect waterside lunch fare, from the fresh and meaty Mexican white shrimp to the delicious Cajun Redfish Wrap. The real standout, though, is their Native Scallop Chowder, brightened up with bits of dill. Be sure to snag a table out on the patio overlooking Narragansett Bay.
The Franklin Spa229 Spring St., Downtown | 401.847.3540
This classic neighborhood diner serves up gargantuan portions and bottomless cups of coffee for breakfast, brunch, and lunch every day from 6am. It’s nothing fancy, and the décor is expectedly kitschy with red vinyl booths, stools, and a long formica counter, but it’s worth making a stop for breakfast. You will likely brave a line of tourists and locals waiting for Blueberry stuffed French Toast or Eggs Benedict with lobster.
Flo’s Clam Shack4 Wave Ave., Middletown | 401.847.8141
A visit to a Rhode Island seaside town would be incomplete without a clam shack stop, and if you’re only making one, go for Flo’s with its picnic tables and fishermen’s tchotchkes hanging from the ceilings. Open since 1936—when it first introduced New England to the fried clam—it’s now a major, two-floor operation overlooking Easton Beach. Besides fried seafood, they’re known for their chowder. Bring cash