The Folk Festival has been luring us to Newport for years and the small New England city never fails to surprise us. A contrast of old and new, nature and culture, Newport has been a playground for everyone from the Astors and Vanderbilts, to seafaring scalawags, hearty surfers, and sailing royalty. The extravagant mansions lining Bellevue Avenue preserve the city’s Gilded Age past, while historic sea captain homes along the downtown waterfront have been reimagined as modern-day galleries and sushi spots. Summer festivals attract music legends, while fall hurricane swells draw diehard watermen. And don’t get us wrong, we love oysters and lobster rolls, but we were thrilled to find new flavors, like an authentic Jamaican spot that serves spicy jerk chicken. With every trip back we uncover something new.
Here are some of our local loves:
The Cliff Walk Winding 3.5-miles along the island’s eastern shores, this designated Recreational Trail is one of Newport’s star attractions for its diverse views. We didn’t know which way to look, it was all so gorgeous. One side of the path is lined with grand Gilded Age mansions, and the other affords sweeping vistas of rocky beaches and the breaking waves of the Atlantic.
Midtown Oyster Bar The raw bar is the main attraction but the fish and chips shouldn’t be missed. Score a seat on one of the two outdoor decks.
Humming Bird Owned by Jamaica natives Dezna Bowen and Abraham Parkes, this newcomer to Newport’s food scene specializes in authentic Jamaican dishes like broiled oxtails, fiery shrimp curry, and irresistible five-spice fried chicken.
Corner Cafe All-day breakfast. Need we say more? You can’t go wrong with the avo toast and breakfast burritos. If you’re more of a sweet tooth, the French toast options come topped with everything from fresh berries to homemade maple pecan butter.
Empire Tea + Coffee Rhode Island’s largest coffee shop is known for its creative lattes (cardamom, turmeric) brewed with beans roasted in-house.
Castle Hill Inn Built in 1875, Castle Hill Inn is one of Rhode Island’s most romantic hotels. The 40-acre estate’s Adirondack Bar overlooks Narragansett Bay, making it the perfect spot for sunset drinks.
Harvest Market Rhode Island’s first non-profit market champions local farmers and makes the best bagel sandwiches in town. The Ruggles, an everything bagel topped with bacon, egg, cheese, basil aioli, and avocado mash, is the ultimate post-surf breakfast.
Island Outfitters This boutique on Thames Street stocks coastal-inspired brands, including Faherty.
Clarke Cooke House Set within a colonial home on Bannister’s Wharf, this upscale Newport institution gives you a reason to get out your Faherty Inlet Knit Blazer for dinner.
The Lobster Bar Located at the end of historic Bowen’s Wharf, this is the spot to eat hearty lobster rolls while taking in harbor views.
Benjamins Raw Bar A locally loved watering hole with shucked-to-order oysters and great burgers.