The preppy seaside haunt that is Newport is full of food, shopping and family-friendly fun. We asked Billy Decaneo and Andrea Wood — the GMs for Lark Hotels’ fashionably quirky property, The Attwater — to give us a quick tour suitable for sea dogs of all ages.
How to get there
You can always drive to Newport — it’s about two hours by car — but it's also a town that’s accessible by foot or pedicab once you get there, so hopping the first bus out of town is another ideal option. “The easiest and best alternative to driving is the Peter Pan bus,” says Wood. “It’s about $31 and you may just make friends on the way!”
Where to stay
“We’re a little biased,” admits Wood. While they welcome guests to the comforts of the plush 17-room Attwater, they’re also quick to shout out their opulently decorated, Instagram-perfect sister property, Gilded on Brinley Street, and the Mill Street Inn, their neighbors just down the road. “[Gilded] transports guests back Newport’s golden age with bright colors, gold details and a billiards room.”
Where to chow down
Wood and Decaneo say a state specialty called a “Stuffie” is a must-have and can be found on most menus around Newport. “They’re huge Rhode Island clams, stuffed with Portuguese chorizo sausage, chopped clams, red and green peppers and breading,” explains Wood. “All of it is mixed together and baked until golden brown.” Drool, much?
For a morning coffee fix, Wood suggestsMegs’ Aussie Milk Bar, a husband-and-wife joint that serves cold brew cappuccino and kiddy-friendly savory Australian meat pies and sausage rolls. Snag an “incredible” crab cake sandwich at theShop on Thamesbefore an afternoon Cliff Walk and wash it down with drink while enjoying the view atFluke. “They have great cocktails and one of the largest high-end rum selections in town,” adds Wood.
Finish your night with brews and a feast of tots at theWharf Pub and Raw Bar, where tater tots can come topped with Tasso gravy and melted cheese, or sauteed Napa cabbage and soy glaze with a wasabi aioli for dipping.
Where to spend your dough
“We suggest starting in Washington Square and walking along Thames Street all the way to Wellington Street,” says Wood. “You’ll cover every option you could want or imagine — cheesy souvenirs, name brand stores, handmade Newport items, nautical clothing and decorations and even a store with every flavor popcorn you can imagine.” That shop — Impopnito — indeed carries every flavor under the sun, including Orange Soda, Animal Cracker, Blue Crab and Potato Skins.
Bring some bags home to share, but when you realize you’ve eaten them all, there’s a backup: “Newport Sea Foam Trading Co. makes bars of soap that smell like vacation, even when you’re back in the grind at home,” says Wood.
Where to bring the fam
After the beach, the famed Cliff Walk is an obvious itinerary staple, but should a fear of heights and/or cranky kids have you feeling hesitant,Woods and Decaneo suggest taking your wee ones for a tour inside the Breakers or Marble House Mansion instead.
“There’s so much incredible history in both of these mansions,” she notes. “You can see how they’ve adapted to the changing technologies with chandeliers that are equipped to burn gas for light, then [later] wired for electricity.”