Earlier in the summer, we made plans for Ryan’s parents to come down to Newport for a weekend in September. Our hope was that the tourists would be gone but the weather would still be nice enough that we could bring them around to explore our little coastal hometown. While we were planning the things we wanted to do, I couldn’t help think that I had to share our weekend itinerary on here, for anyone interested in planning a quick trip to Newport.
If you only have the weekend, it is best to come into Newport early Friday afternoon so that you have both Friday night and Saturday night to fully enjoy.
Weather permitting, I suggest starting with a late afternoon bike ride (or drive) around Ocean Drive. It’ll be good to get rid of any dull travel feelings that are lingering before starting your evening. We had the nicest late afternoon bike around the southern part of the island.
After your ride, grab a few pizzas at Mama Leone’s and head over to Fort Adams. A quick picnic will leave you in the perfect position to catch the sunset and the pink skies that glow behind the bridge. We lucked out and caught one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve had in awhile.
Ready for some laughs? Reserve tickets in advance and head over to see the Bit Player’s at the Firehouse Theatre downtown. Their hilarious show is performed Fridays and Saturdays during the off season. Bring a bottle of wine and prepare for a great evening. The bits are amazing and if you get a good crowd like we did, it makes it even better.
I’m going to offer another bike ride to start your first full day in Newport. Head down to ‘the Point’ and Battery Park early when only the locals are out on the streets. The historic houses around are well worth a bit of gawking and you can actually stop in and ride through the Newport shipyard and down by the harbor.
From there, you have plenty of options for breakfast, although Annie’s on Bellevue is our favorite. The little diner offers great options at awesome prices and you certainly won’t leave hungry.
Originally, we planned to occupy the rest of our morning with some window shopping, so that we were in the perfect position to catch the 11am Harbor Cruise from Perotti Park. The hour long trip around the bay offers multiple stops around Newport. However, we found that the times listed were unreliable due to it being off season and the cruise started at 12pm and not 11am.
Our plan B, once we decided to pass on the harbor cruise, was a tour of Fort Adams. I cannot suggest this enough. Prior, I had no idea how much history resonates with the Fort itself. It’s the largest fort in the country and the way it was constructed is unbelievable. Our tour guide was humorous and enthusiastic- he even taught the kids in our tour group how to load and fire a cannon. Plus, we got to go down into the tunnels below the fort, which was pretty darn cool.
Once your morning excursions are complete, it’s worth heading up to Castle Hill for a few cocktails and some relaxation on the lawn. There is ample opportunity for people watching and great food if you’re in need of a snack.
One thing you can’t pass up is dinner down by the harbor. There are so many different restaurants that offer amazing views and seafood. We enjoyed some great food @ the Deck but I’ve also had a wonderful time at 22 Bowens, Diegos, the Mooring, and Fluke.
Note: This itinerary doesn’t include any extensive night-life suggestions, but if you are looking for a good local pub, Obrien’s is a great option. Fancier option for drinks? Go with Midtown Oyster Bar. Finally, if you want to dance, Pelham and Blue’s Cafe are always a fun time. Otherwise, if you have yard access, make a fire pit to beat the late evening chill.
After a busy Saturday, it’s nice to have a low-key Sunday. You can stay in and cook breakfast like we did, or check-out other local spots over on Broadway like the Hungry Monkey or Corner Cafe.
When in Newport, it is fun to cruise around Bellevue. If you have the time, it’s great to visit a mansion or two. There’s so much history to the area that many of us locals often forget about because we’re traveling by these incredible sites daily. The Elms has a great Servant’s Life tour and the Breakers is undeniably stunning. Then, if the weather is still working in your favor, take a stroll down the Cliff Walk.
Our Sunday ended with a backyard BBQ, but if you don’t have the space, there are tons of parks throughout Newport with grills and picnic tables that people utilize all the time. King’s Park or Morton Park are popular down in the Fifth Ward. Plus, there are a few spots locally to grab fresh food to throw on your grill.
After our long-short-weekend I was pretty exhausted. We fit everything we could into just under 48 hours and we got so lucky with the weather. I couldn’t believe how nice the mornings were and the sunshine we saw during the day. Late September is one of the best times to explore Newport, so if you have the time for a little vacation/staycation, I hope you seize the opportunity.