The Great Escape – Newport, RI Edition


Welcome to “America’s First Resort” Newport, RI

The sailing capital of the world, Newport has a vast history, much of which has to do with it being a “City by the Sea”. Known for its Naval Academy as well as being home to bootleggers in the Triangle Trade, Newport was also a place for practicing religious freedom. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, Newport became the summer playground to the elite.

newport harbor

Today Newport remains a beautiful location to visit for all kinds of interests. Only a 1.5 hour drive from Boston’s Logan Airport, it’s an ideal place for a ‘Great Escape’. Whether you choose to visit during peak Fall foliage, the Winter holiday season when the city is decked out with lights or in the height of the beach and sailing season, late Spring & Summertime, Newport is always a perfect coastal destination.


Franklin Spa

An old standby known as ‘The Best Greasy Spoon in Newport’, Franklin Spa is a great spot for a diner breakfast. You may have to wait a bit and it’s cash only but it is worth any possible hassle.

Salvation Cafe

salvation cafe

Fresh, funky & fabulous, Salvation Cafe is a local favorite with its eclectic cuisine and just reopened in late 2012 after renovations. I can attest that the locals must be glad this institution is back. Located in the revitalized area of Newport – Broadway, which – BONUS is a little off the touristy path!

TSK – Thames Street Kitchen

A buzz word in Newport, TSK is a quaint spot a bit removed from the “tourist scene” of Thames. The concept is true farm to table with TSK’s menu changing weekly. Another bonus is it’s BYOB making the experience more affordable. PS – the staff are incredible.



castle hill by lola

Sunset Cocktails

A long time favorite of visitors and locals alike is the stunning Castle Hill off Ocean Drive. Not only is the view amazing but they mix some delicious drinks. I tried the ‘Oyster Martini’ a house specialty made with tomato-basil puree & organic Crop tomato vodka. BEST cocktail of my weekend in Newport!

Bar Hopping

Over on the local happening scene of Broadway can be found many fun spots to “bar hop” such as The Fifth Element with its industrial atmosphere and great nightlife. Across the street is Malt on Broadway with a nice selection of Scotch and Bourbon and next door is Norey’s Bar and Grille, a lively bistro with a strong following.

sunset sail

Beer, Wine & Rum Tasting

Greenvale Vineyards located just 6 miles outside of downtown Newport in Portsmouth, offers regional wine tastings from their own family’s Victorian farm dating from 1863.

Home to Newport Storm Beer and Thomas Tew Rum, Coastal Extreme Brewing Company & Distillery uses a recipe that’s over 200 years old in their rum making methods and in doing so Coastal Extreme revived a bit of history from Newport’s rum distillery heyday when it was the rum capital of the world.


Vanderbilt Grace

vanderbilt grace

Living history + legendary service = luxury reborn. That is Vanderbilt Grace‘s motto and I couldn’t agree more. Breathing new life into a Beaux-Arts style mansion formerly owned by a member of the Vanderbilt family in the Gilded Age era, Vanderbilt Grace has been transformed into a lovely 33 room boutique hotel. Just opened in mid-2012, as a guest at Vanderbilt Grace you have the best of both worlds, stepping back in time within its historically charming walls yet with all the modern-day sophistication and attention to detail you can expect from Grace Hotels. And, it’s all within minutes of Newport’s waterfront and other attractions.

The Attwater

the attwater

Since 1910, the building that now houses The Attwater has had its hand in the hospitality business. Mostly known as a bar and boarding house as well as a B & B, now the revived and most hospitable The Attwater is your home away from home. 12 perfectly furnished rooms with chic decor and pops of color, this hotel provides deluxe amenities, designer linens and is situated in the heart of Newport. Truly, The Attwater offers you a sense of place with imagination and a touch of mischief. Newport Unconventional is their tagline and I say, it’s about time for a new game in Newport. LOVE IT – Well done!

Hotel Viking

hotel viking

A classic mainstay of Newport’s landscape, Hotel Viking, also has its place in history. Hotel Viking’s doors have been open for over 80 glamourous years and has hosted many of the world’s socialites, celebrities and dignitaries in its 209 handsomely appointed rooms and suites. Situated in a prominent spot of Newport, Hotel Viking is known for its New England charm and hospitality. And, on top of it all and no pun intended, Hotel Viking offers a chill, atmospheric space with its rooftop lounge, Top of Newport.


Cliff Walk Stroll

Newport Coastline

This 3.5 mile path wraps along the Atlantic Ocean with its one-of-a-kind sneak peeks of Newport’s mansions is mixed with the beauty of the Rhode Island shoreline. It’s an enjoyable way to take in the oceanside while viewing the manicured grounds of mansion estates but keep in mind it can get treacherous at points and is currently being rebuilt in spots from the most recent hurricane damage.

Mansion Tour

The Breakers  (Patrick O'Connor)     Marble House (John Corbett)     The Elms (John Corbett)

The glorious Newport mansions have been a part of the United States history since the early  2oth century. “Summer Cottages” acting as the playground for the wealthy summering elite, it would be criminal to visit Newport and not step inside the mansions of the glory days gone by. Cared for by the Preservation Society of Newport County, the mansions have been restored and maintained to reflect the time of their owners of the past. Even in the Wintertime, where The Breakers, The Marble House & The Elms are the lone mansions opened, you will not be disappointed. These three are the triumvirate of ultimate “golden age” living. Having once lived in Newport and spent time there visiting, I can honestly say you get a taste of the elite Americana from these three estates.

Boutique & Gourmet Shops

newport shopping

With all its glitz and glamour, of course, there’s also great shopping to be had in Newport. For a start, there is gourmet row is located on Bellevue Avenue with its wine & gourmet shops. Then there’s the name brand shops and boutiques all around Newport that make it a shoppers delight.

Set Sail


And in the warmer, seafaring weather there’s the opportunity to partake in a harbor cruise or a sunset sail. There’s plenty to choose from be it 12-metre sail or upon a famous legacy yacht with America’s Cup Charters. That’s right, yet another thing Newport is famous for, we can all experience.

Thank you Newport for keeping your history alive and for allowing us to truly experience it with all our senses.

A note of thanks to Discover Newport for arranging my visits to the mansions, Salvation Cafe & Vanderbilt Grace. I always love discovering new finds worth mentioning and if I didn’t ‘Lola Approve’ them I’d say otherwise. The views here are mine, merci beaucoup!


Filed under newport, rhode island, the great escape, travel

41 Responses to The Great Escape – Newport, RI Edition

  1. Priscilla

    What? Chez Pilon didn’t make the list? LOL!
    Love my home away from home – Newport!
    Priscilla recently posted…Countdown to the Côte d’AzurMy Profile

  2. Great round-up, and great start of your “Great Escape” segment! We never hear too much about Rhode Island… Newport looks to be a lovely place to visit.
    Francesca recently posted…As 39 approachesMy Profile

  3. I love this new series and I’ll definitely have to add newport to my list of places to visit xc
    Scarlett recently posted…Things That Creep Me OutMy Profile

  4. Great start to a new series Lola! Looks like a great weekend getaway! Thanks for the tips!
    Anita Mac recently posted…Monday Morning Series: Bucket of InspirationMy Profile

  5. Thanks for sharing your favorites. The Attwater looks adorable. I can’t wait to visit this summer. Vanderbilt Grace is a gem — one of my favorites in Newport. I love cocktails at Castle Hill. What are your thoughts on 41 North?

    • i SO agree that Vanderbilt Grace is a gem. AND i just loved the Attwater. i’m thrilled for Newport…they needed some new acts in town.

      PS – 41 North looks and sounds great but i didn’t make it by there this time.

  6. looks absolutely beautiful, miss lola! love the new series- can’t wait to see whats up next! xo
    thelazytravelers recently posted…brewed in brooklyn: a winter’s taleMy Profile

  7. Oooh so pretty! A friend of mine from Dublin spent a summer working in Newport when she was in college. Must find out if she went to any of Lola’s favourite haunts. Also – tomato vodka?! 🙂
    Fiona recently posted…A History of Prague via INXSMy Profile

  8. Hmmm…I’ve often wondered about Newport. There’s good golf up there:) I wonder if any of these hotels are in the Historic Hotels of America. Guess I should find out…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted…The Queen Victoria Room at Victoria & Albert’s – The Best Meal of My LifeMy Profile

    • you definitely should find out DJ. i think Hotel Viking probably is and it’s likely Vanderbilt Grace could be too. great golf in and around Newport for sure.

  9. Seriously.. this has got to be the cutest place ever! LOVE the looks of the shops and that cafe is straight up my alley.
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted…Bathing in BudapestMy Profile

  10. Looks like a beautiful city to get away from the craziness of the busy cities. Great guide for those looking for tips.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Just a man, a benab, and his hammock in GuyanaMy Profile

  11. Great review of Newport! This will come in handy some day!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel in Twitter) recently posted…The Highlights of Food and Wine in 2012. Mostly Food.My Profile

  12. Looks great…the series, graphics, and Newport.
    Leah Travels recently posted…Another Bite out of the Bittersweet Big AppleMy Profile

  13. It’s been years since I’ve been in Newport, and clearly I need to go back. So beautiful! Also, I am loving this new series. What a fabulous idea!

  14. Oh wow, this place looks absolutely LOVELY!! I’d love to check out RI and now I know where to start. 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted…Giveaway: Travel size toiletries by Ickle Bockles [Ends 01/22/2013]My Profile

  15. Girrrllll, I’ve never had the urge to go to RI until now. You’ve convinced me and if I had my way, I’d jump on a plant right now. It looks so adorable! We clearly need to make our way out there asap.
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted…How to survive a Korean drinking experience.My Profile

  16. it’s a pretty place that needs a taste of C&C. you must get yourself there soon & i’ll come meet you and be your personal tour guide 🙂

  17. Sarah Olson

    This article is fabulous!! We just had an incredible 24 hrs in Newport & we were able to pack in so much fun thanks to all the wonderful information provided here. We loved staying at The Viking…mansion tour at Breakwater (especially fun for us Downton Abbey fans haha)…cozy-ing up by the fire with cocktails at Castle Hill…and hitting your recommended bar hopping bars after dinner! Thank you sooooooo much!!!

    • i am SO thrilled Sarah! this is exactly the feedback one hopes for & i truly appreciate you letting me know that you enjoyed my tips 🙂


  18. Damn you go on some nice trips! Making me reevaluate this flashpacker thing!
    Kate recently posted…4 Quirkiest (And All TV-Themed) Things I’ve Done From My Bucket ListMy Profile

  19. Thanks for the travel inspiration. I lived in Connecticut as a child and went to Newport a few times. It is so amazing. That cafe looks like SO much fun!
    Jenna recently posted…Dream Life vs. Real LifeMy Profile

    • i actually lived in Newport for a summer. it’s changed in a lot of ways – for the better. i was thrilled to discover some new hotels there (it was needed) and a whole fun & funky neighborhood where the locals hang out!

  20. Who knew Rhode Island was so interesting???
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted…The Best Places to Ski in New ZealandMy Profile

    • even though Rhode Island is my neighboring state, i haven’t spent enough time there other than really Newport. i did rent a house in a cute coastal town for a week many summers ago. there is some awesome coastline communities there at the very least!

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  23. Dawn

    Just watched the famous film High Society with Grace Kelly. I noticed this area was very beautiful so I looked it up and found your site. Great site, and the place doesn’t look much different. I suppose it is though. Is it still the playground of the Elite or have they moved on and left those gorgeous buildings to be hotels?
    I am in the UK by the way, will never be able to visit unfortunatley, which had I been more local I most certainly would have.

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