Saturday, April 7, 2018

Quaint Newport Rhode Island: Splendor At The Sea...

Newport is one of our favorite places in the United States... such a fabulous place visit, whether it’s just for family fun or for corporate meetings. There is so much to do, and you can see everything in just a few days. Start off with a calming, scenic sailboat ride on the Narragansett Bay (perfect for an off-site excursion at a corporate event). Take a hike on the Cliff Walk. Tour the glorious mansions. Have an incredible seafood meal. Shop at adorable boutiques. It’s all there. Whether you're looking for waterfront accommodations, a great meal, lively nightlife, a unique shopping experience or just somewhere to dock your boat, this is the place. We absolutely love it in the Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring. It's a different experience for each and every season.

Vanderbilt Grace Hotel…This hotel (that used to be a Vanderbilt family mansion) is stunning… right off the pages of Architectural Digest! The location is perfect… right near downtown and overlooking the spectacular harbor. You can walk just about everywhere because you’re right on the end of the historical residential areas and only one block from the Thames Street quaint shops, fantastic restaurants, and cool bars. The warm and inviting, beautifully-decorated suites are a generous size, with a bedroom, two bathrooms (with a invigorating massaging shower head that is divine), a desk, living room area, refrigerator and microwave. Generously sized and more than enough room for everyone. Relax and enjoy the sunshine at their pool, which is so peaceful. The gym and spa are charming. Have a great workout and then get pampered. End the day with a few drinks on the rooftop bar while you watch the spectacular sunset…a perfect ending to a perfect day. The staff and service are exceptional, helping in any way they can. This is one place that you will absolutely want to come back to.

Cliff Walk…If you love to walk, and you love the beach, you will be in heaven on the Cliff Walk, a National Recreational Trail that can’t be missed. This lovely 3.5 mile (7 miles round trip) walk will take you, at points, past the jaw-dropping mansions on one side of you and breathtaking views of the ocean on your other side. Most of the trail is smoothly paved, but towards the end it gets a little rugged around the rocky shoreline, so be prepared for a little more of a challenge at that point. You will travel through tunnels, over a bridge, on long, winding pathways, and beautiful vistas. You will pass by the 40 Steps, an attraction on its own. Many years ago, 40 Steps was a popular recreation spot for the servants who worked at the mansions. After their long, hard working hours they would gather here to dance, listen to music, and watch the mesmerizing waves crash into the rocky Atlantic coast. Take lots of gorgeous pictures of the stunning ocean, mansions, and picturesque cliffs, rest if you need to on one of the many benches scattered along the walk, breathe in the delicious salt water air, and get in some exercise at the same time. Can’t ask for more than that on a walk. It’s best eye candy in Newport and it will rejuvenate you! And if you can’t make it back for the full 7 miles, go 3.5 and take a cab back. Just don’t miss out on this enjoyable trip.

Newport Mansion Tour…
The Preservation Society of Newport County conserves and preserves the historic mansions of Newport. Whether it’s cleaning or restoring valuable paintings, flooring, roofs, or furniture, they are meticulous in their efforts. There are constantly projects being worked on. The opulence and excessiveness inside and outside of these mansions will make your jaws drop…they are so impressive. The architecture, art, and landscaping are truly unimaginable until you see them for yourselves. The décor is insane and it’s so interesting to see how this group of families lived during the Gilded Age era. This way of life is gone and forgotten, until these tours transport you back in time and provide you with insight into that era. Our favorites are Breakers (summer house of Cornelius Vanderbilt), Marble House, and The Elms. We also loved Rosecliff (you might remember it from the movies True Lies and The Great Gatsby). There were many extraordinary parties there, and to this day there are private events and wedding receptions held there. Most mansions have fascinating audio tours that are very informative, a nice addition. You will enjoy hearing stories about this amazing piece of history in our country and how different things were back then, getting a firsthand view. Teens will love hearing about some of their favorite movies being filmed in some. We also loved the Elms’ Servant Life Tour, which is so relevant as you glimpse into and hopefully understand relationships better the servants and their employers. It’s fascinating. You will even get to see the third floor’s staff quarters. To us, however, Breakers is the most spectacular, the crème de le crème. Each mansion is very different and you will certainly find your favorites. For a great meal, try the Teahouse at the Breakers, with its exhilarating view of the ocean.

Restaurants… (there are endless choices, but we’d like to highlight a few)

Mamma Luisa’s…
This quaint, 2-story restaurant (changed over from an old home) prepares authentic Italian food that is utterly mouth-watering. Not to mention that their service is impeccable. It’s quiet and romantic, with lots of charm and character. Some of the standouts were: Butternut Squash Ravioli, Zuppa de Mare (a soup made with delectable mussels and clams), awesome bruschetta, veal scallopini (best in Newport), chicken parm (wow), pasta Bolognese (outstanding), and clams over linguini with a fresh and spicy marinara sauce. All pastas are homemade, and the bread is perfect. The explosions of flavors will delight your taste buds. End it with a delicious fruit tarte and you’re good to go! A great night out, and a wonderful dinner.

Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen…
With a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere, this restaurant offers everything you desire. They use local sources for most of their ingredients so everything is fresh as can be. Their fois gras was whipped and was as fluffy as cotton, the pan-seared fluke was perfectly cooked and so flavorful, their crispy oysters were heavenly, prime ribeye steak was just right, the scallops with broccoli was divine, the braised short ribs were… wow… and the chocolate and banana brioche bread pudding was a great choice for dessert. The wine and house cocktail list is terrific but for non-drinkers, the selections of creative drinks is just as wonderful. Delicious food, great wine, and spectacular sunsets over the bridge. It’s all you need for an incredibly satisfying evening out.

Shopping…Unique shops are scattered all around Newport but we especially love the atmosphere of Thames Street. Along with many historic colonial homes, Thames Street is home to shops, restaurants and bars. Explore unique shops like Thames Street Glass, Accidental Artist, Muse, Music Box and Aardvark Antiques. There’s a reason why Newport is considered a shopper’s paradise, and this is a prime example why… Bannister's Wharf is now home to the Clarke’s Cook House and other great shops. The Clarke Cooke House has great sushi at The Candy Store, sophisticated dining on The Porch and the most popular discotheque in Newport in the basement at The Boom Boom Room. Then there’s always Ben & Jerry's to cure your ice cream craving, and the numerous stores to cure your shopping craving. End up at the Coffee Grinder and relax on an Adirondack chair while you enjoy an authentic Italian espresso while also enjoying the harbor view. We just love Newport Rhode Island. It feels like home. Ahhhh.

Sightsailing of Newport – Lovely Sailboat Excursions…Ahhh.A Schooner sailing cruise on the Aquidneck is a blast for all ages and something you need to be part of on your visit to Newport. Named after Aquidneck Island, the island where Newport, Rhode Island is located, Aquidneck was designed to carry guests in safety and comfort. She is 80 feet long and her beam of 17 feet provides a smooth, stable and comfortable sail. Since you sail in protected water and are constantly moving in fresh air, seasickness is never an issue. Teak benches and chair-height cabin tops provide comfortable seating and her uncluttered decks and wide beam enable guests to move about with ease. You will board this gorgeous boat, and then sail through Newport Harbor, into Narragansett Bay. You’ll pass the Newport Bridge sail and along the spectacular rocky shoreline of Newport's Ocean Drive, viewing stunning seaside estates, famous yachts and colonial towns. The sights are extraordinary. It’s a great experience and we loved it because you can either relax and enjoy the sites, or you can help raise sails and participate. Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay are two of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world with some of the best sailing conditions in the U.S. You'll see the major sights including Goat Island, where the U.S. Navy made most of the torpedoes used in WWII, Fort Adams, one of the largest forts on the East Coast, Hammersmith Farm, the summer Whitehouse of JFK and Clingstone, an iconic home perched on a rocky outcropping. Vintage America’s Cup boats, lighthouses, and weekly races are common sights. Their captains and crew all know the history of the bay and will point out the highlights on their fun and informative cruises! This will be one of the highlights of your stay in Newport.

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