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Old 12-08-2019, 04:51   #1
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Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

... Hope this is the right place to ask - otherwise please move the post ...


Hi,

my wife and I will be doing 'our annual trip' to NYC starting this Wednesday for 10 days. We'll be staying at a friend. As we never made it to the Newport area we are thinking of renting a car and drive up to Newport for two nights or so ...

Any suggestions where to go / what to see (harbors, nice bars on the waterfront, ...) - we are well aware what tripadvisor & Co. suggest so more interested where sailors would go.

Thanks!

Carsten
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:59   #2
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

The harbor is easy to navigate on foot. We love eating
No at the Black Pearl. The bar is casual and less expensive. Go to the Inn at Castle Hill and sit in the lawn and walk to the lighthouse from the south end of the parking lot.
The Hereshoff museum is about 30 minutes away in Bristol.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:01   #3
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

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Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
... Hope this is the right place to ask - otherwise please move the post ...


Hi,

my wife and I will be doing 'our annual trip' to NYC starting this Wednesday for 10 days. We'll be staying at a friend. As we never made it to the Newport area we are thinking of renting a car and drive up to Newport for two nights or so ...

Any suggestions where to go / what to see (harbors, nice bars on the waterfront, ...) - we are well aware what tripadvisor & Co. suggest so more interested where sailors would go.

Thanks!

Carsten
The entire town and every restaurant and bar on the waterfront are where sailors go. It's in the DNA of the town.

Everything in the main part of town on Thames street is within walking distance and it's easy to see it all. Plenty of places to stay.

There is a municipal garage to leave your rental car.

For some specific ideas of things to see that are boat related:

12 meter sailing day charters
Seamen's Church Building
Newport Municipal Maritime Center
Walk the marina yards to see some pretty expensive boats
Maybe take the water taxi over to Fort Adams to see the harbor better and also the fort.
Go on a tour of the Breakers mansion
Take the cliff walk to see some mansions
Sachuest National Wildlife refuge offers a very pretty, quiet and relaxing walk around some beautiful ocean waters

Food is not great in Newport, other than seafood. It's just. It a culinary hotspot and you don't see a lot of focus on local, organic foods. Some are ok but nothing spectacular.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:13   #4
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

Hi Carsten,

Newport proper is rather touristy but since the streets and "downtown" area is so small, you can walk everywhere. Park your car somewhere nearby, or in the downtown lot and walk.

I go to Bristol (small town next door) every 4 years for the Classic Yacht Symposium and last time, part of the weekend included a tour of the IYRS (International Yacht Restoration School) https://www.iyrs.edu.

The school is all the way at the end of Newport's downtown "main" street - Thames Street. They are doing a collossal restoration of... the USS Constitution, I think the name of the ship is. If you walk down that way and ask for Warren or Bill Kenyon (Director of Education) perhaps they'd give you a tour - or allow you to just wander the Constitution shed and have a look at her. She is ginormous! (I have no idea if the project has already been finished or not. It seemed a tremendous undertaking at the time, and the minimum time referred to was a "4-year project".)

Not exactly a sailor's bar, but that was a special highlight for me last time I was there.

Hope you have a lovely time,
Warmly,
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:53   #5
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

A favorite town. Too many choices,but all good. It is touristy, but, you are a tourist. I used to work at the Newport Boat show for many years. My dealer put us up in a B&B, which was much better than the hotels. There are many to choose from. And Bristol is nice, and just a little ways away. Great place, there is some sort of fest every weekend.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:26   #6
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

This takes me way back. I used to berth on a private dock over towards Fort Adams a long time ago. That was when the two 120 & 130ft J Class Yachts, Endeavour and Shamrock V were based at the IYRS (and I was fortunate enough to aboard Shamrock V quite often)

The Js used to sail in pairs on day charters. I can still remember one very windy day when they both came screaming in under full sail to do their 'fly by' past the wharves. At close quarters this was one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. The coastguard were very upset

As LittleWing77 mentioned the IYRS https://www.iyrs.edu/ is well worth a visit as is the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol https://www.herreshoff.org/ that TheOffice suggested.

Everything on Chotu's list is worthwhile too. Newport is a small place so you can do a lot of things close to each other.

Try and sneak or wangle getting into the New York Yacht Club if you can. Because, why not

And well worth a ride on Old Port Marine's Launch Service too Oldport Marine Services Launch Service - Oldport Marine Services, Inc. which is a reasonably priced way to get out on the water (now $4 across to Fort Adams, I think it used to be $2 way back when, but that still sounds pretty fair!).

They also do a Harbour Shuttle Oldport Marine Services Newport Harbor Shuttle - Oldport Marine Services, Inc. which is $12 to ride all day and does a loop which I think you can get on and off to see many of the sights.

I have no affiliation, only fond memories.

For something different, at the south end of Thames St is the Thames St International Yacht and Athletic Club ("the AC") IYAC Newport This sounds very posh but is the complete opposite and is where the Racers, Paid Crew, and other Marine Professionals hang out.

It's probably fancier now but used to be somewhat of a dive bar with crew in sailing gear, dogs on the floor, etc, much of which wasn't appreciated at some of Newport's other "fine establishments".

The 'Private Club' status is somewhat of a (licensing law) ruse, since 'membership' was granted at the door upon payment of a small fee

Hailing from one of the world's great sailing cities (and no, not Ft Lauderdale!) I found Newport, RI to be the only other place that I have been that eats, drinks, lives, and breathes sailing and all things maritime in the same way.

The America's Cup was in Newport, RI for 132 years. It has been a sail trading port since the 1700s. It has a long association with the US Navy and the Naval War College and the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), the center for Surface Warfare Officer training, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center are all there. They have museums too.

You are surrounded by maritime (and other) history there

NB: if any of my info is out of date I'm sure other CF members will correct it.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:57   #7
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

A little both of Newport is Blount Clam Shack which is my wife’s and my favorite. Outside seating on a small harbor with excellent and reasonably priced seafood.

If you like beaches then Second / Sachuest Beach is nice. Get there early especially on weekends and holidays.

Franklin Spa is a favorite breakfast place with the locals.

Castle Hill Inn is a nice restaurant but expensive.

A harbor sailing cruise is always nice with many options.

Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:52   #8
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

Drive to Bristol - nice little town - and spend Friday in the Herreshoff Museum, you won't be disappointed. Several good restaurants for lunch and dinner - Aidens, SSDion, Pompadoro, Bristol Oyster Bar, etc. All have menus online. On Saturday, leave the car at the ferry dock in Bristol and take the SeaStreak high speed ferry from Bristol to Newport. $5.50 per person, but it only runs on the weekend. The ferry ride gives you a chance to see some of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor from the water. The ferry dock's right down town in both Bristol & Newport. You won't need the car in Newport. Spend the day, spend a couple days, whatever. Great walking town and fun to people & boat watch. lots of touristy shopping, etc. If you're a yacht club member, stop in at the Newport Yacht Club for lunch - they offer reciprocity to almost all other yacht clubs, just show your card to the bartender and sign the guest book. You can get two lobster rolls (yes, TWO) for $16.00! You'll eat both of them. Beers are also reasonably priced and it's right on the harbor. Once done with Newport, catch the #60 bus right downtown at the Visitors Center back to Bristol, it runs every 1/2 hr or so. $2.00 per person and about a 40 min. ride. Tell the driver you're parked at the ferry dock and you'll get dropped off on Hope street 1 block from your car. Great way to see both Bristol and Newport, both by land and by water.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:46   #9
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

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Originally Posted by mvmojo View Post
Drive to Bristol - nice little town - and spend Friday in the Herreshoff Museum, you won't be disappointed. Several good restaurants for lunch and dinner - Aidens, SSDion, Pompadoro, Bristol Oyster Bar, etc. All have menus online. On Saturday, leave the car at the ferry dock in Bristol and take the SeaStreak high speed ferry from Bristol to Newport. $5.50 per person, but it only runs on the weekend. The ferry ride gives you a chance to see some of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor from the water. The ferry dock's right down town in both Bristol & Newport. You won't need the car in Newport. Spend the day, spend a couple days, whatever. Great walking town and fun to people & boat watch. lots of touristy shopping, etc. If you're a yacht club member, stop in at the Newport Yacht Club for lunch - they offer reciprocity to almost all other yacht clubs, just show your card to the bartender and sign the guest book. You can get two lobster rolls (yes, TWO) for $16.00! You'll eat both of them. Beers are also reasonably priced and it's right on the harbor. Once done with Newport, catch the #60 bus right downtown at the Visitors Center back to Bristol, it runs every 1/2 hr or so. $2.00 per person and about a 40 min. ride. Tell the driver you're parked at the ferry dock and you'll get dropped off on Hope street 1 block from your car. Great way to see both Bristol and Newport, both by land and by water.
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Old 12-08-2019, 13:02   #10
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

... hey - thank you all VERY much for the sound advise! We for sure will have a great time based on all the great info you gave.

Again - thank you very much!

Carsten
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Old 12-08-2019, 13:30   #11
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Re: Visiting Newport area by car, suggestions ..

Take a walk on the Cliff Walk, along the backside of many of Newport's Golden Age mansions including the Breakers. You don't have to do the entire walk to get a good sense of the reason they built their mansions there. I like to park at north side of Salve Regina (end of Narragansett Ave) and walk south. You go by the Breakers, Rosecliff and the Marble house, turn around at Sheep Point. Easy to drive around Ocean Drive clockwise for the rest of the shore, stopping in at Castle Hill Inn, already mentioned. The Breakers is a decent tour as well.

Food can be hit or miss as a lot of tourist places are. The Pearl has good chowder. Perro Salado is a funky Mexican place with good food and a good vibe. There are some decent fried clam shacks (Blounts as mentioned) and Flo's by Easton's Beach, but not as many as you might think. There is only one answer to the question of bellies or no bellies. All the bars you want. Thames Street is good but go a few streets into town on Broadway (all walkable from the waterfront)
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