Newport Travel Diary
My best friends and I decided we needed a major girls’ weekend away together, after spending so much time a part this year. This is the same group of gals that I went to Peru with this time last year, so we were due for another adventure (but this time, one that was closer to home and within driving distance!).
We decided on Newport, RI because none of us had really spent a lot of time there and it has all of the qualities we love in a place– a fun hotel, lots to do, and cocktails aplenty. 😉 Per usual, we were asked a few times if we were a Bachelorette party, which is honestly just a testament to how rowdy we are 😂 and how ideal Newport would be for a Bachelorette spot! Every activity + meal that you find below would be perfect for a Bachelorette or trip with your girlfriends.
It goes without being said, but I honestly would not recommend a single place in my travel diaries that I wouldn’t recommend to a close friend. Everything I share below is worthy of a glowing review and definitely worth doing or visiting!
That brings me to the planning of this trip– before we went, we pooled everyone we knew who had visited Newport before, and received the best recs from them. Then my friend Nicole put together our itinerary (she’s also the one who planned our trip to Peru and Cashiers, NC!) and she does a meticulous and phenomenal job of researching and putting an itinerary together. So consider this post my love to note to her and a recap of a total dream trip with my best friends!! xx
p.s. I didn’t bring my DSLR camera because I was trying to “unplug” for the most part and enjoy time with my friends, so all of these images are iPhone shots that I snapped. Definitely a more casual travel diary, but I kind of like how they turned out?!
Where We Stayed
Hotel Viking— We stayed at the Hotel Viking, which is a historical hotel that opened up in the 1920s, to accommodate the guests of those visiting for parties being held in the Newport mansions (love this). We stayed in the ‘Newport Guestroom‘ which had two queen sized beds and was on the first floor, which was helpful because we didn’t have to wait for the elevator (they were limiting the number of people in the elevator so there was often a line outside of it).
The best part of this property was the location and its rooftop bar! It was a 12ish minute walk to Bowen’s Wharf, where we had the majority of our dinners, and a 15 minute walk to the shops on Bellevue Avenue (where the Tennis Hall of Fame is!). We even walked to the Easton’s Beach and The Elms and The Breakers mansion from the hotel, which were longer walks but definitely feasible and enjoyable. The only time we weren’t walking was when we hopped in the back of a golf cart that was giving free rides (I’m typing this out and realizing that it doesn’t sound safe but I promise this was legit and the man who drove it couldn’t have been nicer 😂) on our way back from the Cliff Walk.
Anyways, the location of this hotel was more centrally located and convenient than any others that we saw, and for that reason I’d recommend it! We enjoyed Saturday night on their rooftop bar, called the Top of Newport, which was a really fun spot to have a drink too.
What We Did
Shopping at every boutique— As soon we decided on Newport, you better believe that I made a list of all of the stores I wanted to pop into! 😂 We did lots of walking around town during our first afternoon there, and found that if you wander the streets, you’ll walk past so many good boutique shops–especially in Bowen’s Wharf, Thames Street, and on Bellevue Avenue (right by the Tennis Hall of Fame). Make sure to stop by CK Bradley, Kiel James Patrick, The Mandarine, Monelle, and the Pink Pineapple. Those were all favorites!
Stopped by the Tennis Hall of Fame— While we were walking on Bellevue Avenue, we decided to pop into the Tennis Hall of Fame (it’s a beautiful cedar shake + deep green building!) and the guard was too kind and let us walk right in and look around the grounds. It was so beautiful and worth popping your head into to see. You’ll appreciate it if you’re a tennis player or not!
Walked the Cliff Walk— On our first full day in Newport we decided to get up early(ish) (around 8:30) and get our coffees to go. We wore comfy sneakers and went right to the start of the Cliff Walk on Memorial Boulevard to walk it– and we were so glad we went on the early side! Someone had recommended that to us and it was such a great tip. The walk runs along the ocean, and right past all of the gorgeous historic mansions, and it wasn’t too crowded at all. We wore our masks the majority of the time, but were able to take them off every now and then when we had the trail to ourselves, which was such a nice reprieve. We ended up doing the whole walk (it’s 3.5 miles) and did some read alouds of the history that was on signs and QR codes along the trail. It was truly the best way to see the famous Newport mansions from the coastline!
Sailing on the Hope San Sailboat— This may have been my favorite activity of the trip! We chartered the Hope San sailboat, which was captained by Patrick and Monika, a precious married couple from Switzerland who have extensive sailing/boating experience and owned the most gorgeous classic sailboat! We brought our own wine and cheese/crackers (that we picked up in the Bellevue Gardens Shopping Center beforehand) and enjoyed them while Patrick and Monika sailed us all around the Newport Harbor. It fit the five of us perfectly and was was such a dreamy way to spend the afternoon!
Beach day on Easton’s Beach— On our second morning in Newport, we were recouping from one too many rosés at the Castle Hill lawn the night before 😂 and decided to pick up breakfast and coffees at Cru Cafe and take them to the beach for a morning of lounging. It ended up being just what we needed and such a relaxing start to the day! A few things to note– it looks like the parking lot fills up quickly so if you can walk there do that, and there are public restrooms on the property as well, which were actually very nice!
Touring the Newport Mansions— On our final afternoon in Newport we decided to visit and tour two of the historic mansions in Newport– The Elms and The Breakers. It ended up being a highlight of the trip and a really informative and interesting history lesson of the area. We brought headphones along and listened to the Newport Mansions audio tour through their app. Each tour guided you through the rooms of the mansions and was so entertaining! I now have a newfound interest in Gloria Vanderbilt after touring The Breakers…
Where We Ate
Black Pearl— On our first afternoon in Newport we had lunch here, which is located right smack in the middle of Bowen’s Wharf (which I would consider to be the most touristy part of Newport, but still unbelievably charming!). It was the perfect spot to get acquainted with the town and the beautiful harbor. We dined al fresco and they had fresh seafood and an especially delicious rum punch, which you can see in the first image below! I’d highly recommend having lunch here.
The Landing— We enjoyed drinks here before dinner our first night, and it’s another lively spot right on the dock of Bowen’s Wharf. They have an extensive drink menu, and it’s the perfect spot to bring a deck of cards and watch the sunset! Their ‘Pirate Punch’ was one of my favorite cocktails of the whole trip.
The Mooring— Our first dinner of the trip was here, which is a more upscale seafood restaurant in the little wharf right next to Bowen’s Wharf. Their clam chowder was phenomenal, as well as their seafood ravioli! Highly recommend for a “comfort seafood” spot (AKA chowder and pasta 😉).
The Lawn at the Castle Hill Inn— If you’re looking for a cozier, on-the-water inn for your stay in Newport, then I’d 100% go with the Castle Hill Inn. It was a tad too small (and expensive) for us this time around, so we opted to visit for drinks on their famous lawn instead. We made reservations exactly two weeks in advance and were reserved a table on the patio, where we had a round of cocktails and focaccia, and then took our drinks to go and sat in their beautiful Adirondack chairs on the lawn to watch the sun go down. It was a 10/10 sunset viewing experience and the cocktails were just as good as the view. Get the ‘tiki do you love me’ cocktail– it tastes just like a painkiller and comes in the cutest cup!
Clarke Cooke House— The wine, the atmosphere, and delish food made this spot my favorite restaurant of the trip! We sat on the porch, which was partially inside but partially outside (they had huge bay windows that were all the way opened up!) and it was so lively yet cozy– the kind of place where you want to stay seated at your table for two hours after you’re finished eating. 😊 I got the penne with chicken (to have a break from all of the seafood I had been eating 😂) and it was the perfect comfort-food type of meal!
Cru Cafe— We picked up coffee and breakfast from Cru on our way to walk to Easton’s Beach, and it was just what we needed! I got an iced dirty chai and a bacon, egg, and cheese, on a bagel and it was SO good. It looked like the cutest spot if you wanted to eat outside at their picnic tables as well!
Top of Newport— This was the bar located on the rooftop of The Viking Hotel, which we went to on our final evening in Newport. We went on the earlier side so we didn’t have to wait for a seating area, and enjoyed the live music they had playing! It’s a great spot to meet up with a friend or take your group of girls for a scenic drink.
Pasta Beach— We enjoyed our final dinner at Pasta Beach, which came highly recommended and for good reason. The décor was right up our alley with banana leaf wallpaper and all. We ordered a bunch of apps, pizzas, and pastas to split and enjoyed everything! A major standout had to have been the Bucatini Cacio e Pepe though… unreal!
Belle’s Cafe— On our last morning there we walked down to the Newport Shipyard (where lots of the larger yachts in the area are docked) and ate at the cutest little spot right on the water. It was a casual setting with really good breakfast sandwiches… and of course we had to order ‘table pancakes’ to all split, with bananas and chocolate chips (got to go out with a bang, naturally). It was another awesome casual breakfast spot that allowed us to see a different section of Newport (the shipyard!).