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10 ways to spend a Winter Weekend in Newport, RI.

We all know Newport is the place to be during those hot summer months, but what about the other half of the year? Contrary to popular belief Newport doesn’t just fall into hibernation as Labor Day Weekend comes to a close. This seaside city offers a variety of hidden gems to endear even the most stubborn seasonal traveler. Here’s our winter guide from a year round perspective.

Start your day with a hot beverage at Empire Tea & Coffee.

Empire is a Newport staple and a great way to start your trip with a much needed caffeine spike. Empire is known for fresh coffee and a modern vibe. Sip your morning latte in the bustling cafe before heading out on the town. The “3rd Degree Burn” latte is a must try!

Take a drive down Bellevue Ave

Bellevue Avenue in Newport is home to some of the most extravagant estates on the East Coast. Queue up your favorite playlist and take a slow drive as you admire the rich history and impeccable architecture of these well preserved homes. Those itching for a peek behind the gates are in luck as several mansions offer walking tours year round. Continue on and you’ll be treated to unobstructed ocean views as you travel down famous Ocean Drive.

Photo: Alexander Nesbitt

Visit Trinity Church

Trinity Church is a National Historic Landmark and even more beautiful in the winter. The Church has appeared in several films such as “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Evening”. The Church carries a rich history dating back to the 1700s. A must stop spot for any history or architecture buffs in the group!

Grab lunch with a view on Bowen’s Wharf

Bowen’s Wharf is home to a handful of scrumptious restaurants each with their own unique offerings. Diego’s offers Mexican street food and a variety of libations, the Cranberry Bog cocktail is a personal favorite in the winter months! The Wharf Pub offers a cozy rustic setting with lots of exposed wood. Don’t leave without trying their homemade tater tots!

Explore the Newport Art Museum

You didn’t think you’d make it through this guide without some art recommendations did you? The Newport Art Museum is housed in the Historic Griswold House and offers exhibitions of all different mediums from sculpture to photography. This museum may look small from the outside but it’s packed with over 2600 works of art. Keep your eyes peeled for iconic works by Andy Warhol & Roy Lichtenstein.

Trek the world famous Cliff Walk

Bundle up and set off for the Cliff Walk where you will be delighted by unobstructed Newport ocean views and three miles of walkable trail. Adventure down the famous 40 steps and watch the waves crash against the the coast. Explore the stunning attraction with a friend or loved one, but be sure to bring some good walking shoes for the rocky areas.

Tour the Audrain Auto Museum

Got a car fanatic in your life? This is the spot for them. This museum showcases over 200 rare and exceptional automobiles. View cars from the 1890s all the way to present day in immaculate condition. The exhibited cars are ever changing so there is always something new to admire.

Slurp Ramen at Boru Noodle Bar on Broadway

Boru Noodle is a cozy spot for a warm lunch. They have delectable appetizers like their signature pork buns and basil chili wings. It is also BYOB so make sure to bring your favorite bottle! For the main course they offer a variety of ramen dishes such as spicy miso and thai seafood. The portions are large so bring your appetite.

Retail Therapy on Thames Street

Boru Noodle is a cozy spot for a warm lunch. They have delectable appetizers like their signature pork buns and basil chili wings. It is also BYOB so make sure to bring your favorite bottle! For the main course they offer a variety of ramen dishes such as spicy miso and thai seafood. The portions are large so bring your appetite.

Photo: Alexander Nesbitt

End your trip with an Awful Awful from Newport Creamery.

It doesn’t matter how cold it is out, you can’t drive back over the bridge without an Awful Awful in your cup holder! The awful big and awful good beverages are a beloved favorite of generations of Rhode Islanders. These tasty milkshake like concoctions are made with whole milk, syrup and their secret ingredient: frozen ice milk. The Choco-Nutter flavor is not to be overlooked.

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Our Tips on Newport’s Best Beach

Sunset at Second or Sachuest, often voted the best beach
Sunset at Sachuest Beach

Newport’s Best Beach?

Its true Newport is known for its world class sailing but sometimes we all need to take a break from being on the water to being in the water. Luckily, Newport offers some great beaches for relaxing, walking, playing and swimming. Each beach has something that’s a little special just about it. So read on to discover which beach might be the best beach for you. (listed, not ranked)

 

1. Easton’s Beach (a.k.a. First Beach)

Newport, RI - Number nine lifeguard chair - first beach. the best beach to walk to.If you find yourself in Newport without a car, Easton’s beach is an easy choice. You can walk there from most parts of town, the road features bike lanes, and the sidewalks are wide enough for strollers. If its a family outing the kids will love a break from the sun to grab a snack at the snack bar, explore the Save the Bay touch tank or take a ride on the old carousel. And if sandcastles and carousels aren’t their thing – there is also a pretty nice playground. Easton’s Beach is a cove beach, with an awesome view of the famed Cliff Walk. Most days the surf isn’t too rough, but has enough movement to let you know you’re definitely in the ocean. If you’d like an adult beverage to wash the salt out of your mouth, there are a number of great bars nearby (I like Flo’s Clamshack and Easton’s Point) to cap off your beach day.

2. Sachuest Beach (a.k.a. Second Beach)

Del's lemonade truck 1
Del’s Lemonade truck at Surfer’s End

Winter Sunset - 2nd Beach 1

The largest of the beaches, Sachuest Beach has a bit of everything. If soothing views, long walks on the beach, boogie boarding, building 3′ sandcastles, surfing or kiteboarding, and slammin’ sunsets are your thing then Second Beach is the place for you. What’s that? You don’t think all those things go together? They do! The south end of the beach, “Surfer’s End” is often populated by locals, and beginners at surf camp. The north end of the beach, not only joins the beautiful Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge, but is also the place to see skilled kitesurfers late in the day. Everywhere in between is packed with families and people looking for that traditional beach experience. Pack up your chairs, umbrellas and coolers and head out for a day at the beach. Note that this beach does have a public restrooms but the snack bar is an on again off again thing- so you’ll want to bring a lunch, and keep it really contained lest the seagulls eat it before you do. Feeling thirsty? Take a walk down to Surfer’s End and grab a Del’s Lemonade, you won’t regret it.

3. Third Beach (actually called Third Beach)

No fancy name needed for this small no frills beach. A favorite of local families, Third Beach is a great place to take anyone who prefers pools or ponds to ocean adventures. A rare northeastern facing beach, there is basically never any surf and no steep drop off. Rumor has it this is the best place to try SUP, and it offers nice calm waters for kayaking, or a training swim. A public boat ramp is available to anyone who pays for parking, or has a season pass. The beach area has a few pavilions with barbecue pits, but they are hard to snag. You can also make reservations for private parties. No public restrooms or concessions.

4. Gooseberry Beach

Dune fences at Gooseberry
Dune fences at Gooseberry

Gooseberry Beach is a family-friendly beach situated off the Ocean Drive. With paid parking primarily for season members.  You can try your luck early with a paid parking spot or can visit on a bike and enjoy this sheltered cove beach with views of the open ocean.  The beach has virtually no surf because of the sheltering islands which, like a carefully placed folly in a garden, offer excellent views.

5. Reject’s Beach

Reject's Sunset 1

A favorite of the younger adult crowd, Reject’s Beach is a wonderful “unofficial” beach in Newport. Situated between the southern Cliff Walk access and Bailey’s Beach (private, members only) is this great spot for hanging out, reading a book, or taking a swim. It’s got no amenities – not even a parking lot, but it does have plenty of room to lock up your bicycle, and the town trolley has a stop nearby. If you’re looking for a spot to meet up with friends, play some games, or relax on your own without a pile of children kicking sand nearby this is a great choice. Just don’t cross the line in the sand or you’ll get growled at by the Bailey’s guard.

I can’t let it pass without noting that two of the beaches on the list are not located in the 02840. When it’s all said and done, if your best beach is Second or Third, then maybe Newport’s best beach is actually in Middletown . . . Hi, neighbor!

General rules to remember – there is no smoking or alcohol permitted on any of the beaches, glass containers are not allowed and frowned upon, and your pets need to stay at home. Always expect to pay for parking (although you’ll occasionally get lucky if you just drop in for an evening swim.)

 

Post contributed by Newport resident Nichole Smith

All photographs ©Alexander Nesbitt Photography