Besides Yachting
September 30, 2010 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I'll be up in Newport, RI on Columbus Day weekend. What are some not-obvious neat things to do there?

I already know about the Oktoberfest, but looking for other quirky things there that are off the beaten path.
posted by Threeway Handshake to Travel & Transportation around Newport, RI (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have a drink at the Castle Hill Inn (great inn with a great view), do the cliff walk, poke your head in the Tennis Hall of Fame (there's a grass court right inside the door of what looks like a main street shopping area).
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:03 PM on September 30, 2010

There's some food recs here on the green that are good. For incredibly cheap (mediocre) bar food, but also good people there - Billy Goode's for lunch. Cheapest fish and chips in New England. Fort Adams has nice areas - down over by the Eisenhower house, you can walk down and have some nice shots of the Newport bridges with the boats.
posted by quodlibet at 8:41 PM on September 30, 2010

There are quite a few colonial houses, restored by Doris Duke's generosity. Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue building still standing in America. The Redwood Library and Athenæum is the oldest lending library in America, and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country. Cardines Field is one of the oldest baseball parks in the country, dating to 1893 and the oldest documented construction of a baseball stadium in this country. It is still in use. If you only eat one thing, make it chowder at the Black Pearl. If you only see one "cottage" make it Marble House; it's not the biggest but I found it magnificent and home to incredible stories.
posted by Anitanola at 11:48 PM on September 30, 2010

There are a handful of wineries in the area. It's no Napa Valley, but some of them are good and inexpensive to tour and taste.
posted by olinerd at 3:38 AM on October 1, 2010

Oh, and you say "besides the obvious", but you only mention yachting and Oktoberfest as obvious, so just to make sure: you are aware of the Newport Mansions, right? Definitely get a tour of at least one of them.
posted by olinerd at 3:39 AM on October 1, 2010

If you hop over the bridge to Jamestown, you can go to Beavertail State Park, which was one of my favorite hangouts when I lived there.
posted by cottonswab at 4:50 AM on October 1, 2010

There's a Waterfire scheduled in Providence for the 9th. Oddly enough, when I'm in Newport and looking for quirky I tend to head to PVD, to things like the RISD. Given the time of year some of the Mansions might be running "ghost tours" for Halloween. If you're interested in really old houses, wander around the area just north of the visitor's center, a significant number of them are on the National Register. If you're interested in military history, the War College Museum is open on weekends. Keeping on the quirky theme, if you like wandering through old cemeteries there's Common Burying Ground.
posted by Runes at 6:15 AM on October 1, 2010

Seconding the Cliff Walk. It can get a little windy up there but the views of the ocean and the mansions are pretty great.

If you head up to Middletown, the next town to the north, there's a good brewpub (Coddington Brewing Company) and a good Mexican place (Tito's Cantina). It's kinda strip-mall suburb-y up there though, so it's not the best in terms of atmosphere, but hey.

Other than that, just walk around Thames St, both Upper Thames (the part with the cobblestones) and Lower Thames (the part on the other side of Memorial Boulevard); there are lots of neat little shops and restaurants. Lower Broadway is pretty cool too ("lower" being, roughly, the area up until the hospital).
posted by xbonesgt at 7:48 AM on October 1, 2010

If Providence is an option, then Providence is having PRONK! the Providence HONK Festival on Monday which features a bunch of 'activist street (read: marching) bands". It will be good fun.
posted by WickedPissah at 8:06 AM on October 1, 2010

Go geocaching: Rhody has tons of caches, all over the state.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:53 AM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: While I was living in Newport, I enjoyed Cliff Walk, the evening Ghost Tour, Armory Antiques, touring the Artillery Company (free!), catching a polo game, and visiting Touro Synagogue and museum, the oldest synagogue in the US. If you're interested in a mansion, I really enjoyed Astors' Beechwood - it's a lot more accessible and "hands-on" than the other mansions, and they do murder mysteries and tours with actors in period costumes as guides.

It's fun to just wander the streets of Newport, too - plaques in unexpected places providing trivia such as the location of the home of the man who "introduced the tomato into this country", etc.

As for food... I still miss the chowder at The Mooring, and breakfasts at Franklin Spa and Atlantic Grill. Avoid the Barking Crab (aka the Barfing Crab).
posted by illenion at 4:28 PM on October 2, 2010

« Older What you pay for, is it what you get?   |   Should I quit my job? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.