It's easy to fall in love with Newport, Rhode Island: the well-preserved colonial buildings, sprawling Gilded Age mansions, sparkling harbor (which plays host to equally magnificent yachts), and manicured streets. Pickled to near perfection, the blue-blooded locale has long served as a playground for the New England aristocracy (including presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower). This season, a host of new restaurants and revamped retreats make it an especially great place to visit.
Where To Stay
Montauk hot spot Gurney’s debuted its second outpost this Memorial Day on Newport’s Goat Island. The $18-million project transformed the former Hyatt Regency, situated on roughly ten acres of land with 360-degree views of Narragansett Bay. In addition to 257 new guest rooms and refreshed public spaces, the revamped property now hosts Scarpetta restaurant, Corso coffee bar, and the Pineapple Club bar and restaurant. The resort has partnered with on-demand, mobile-based helicopter charter service BLADE to give guests easy access to Newport from Manhattan, and to offer direct transportation between the hotel’s two properties. From $249; 1 Goat Island; 401-849-2600; gurneysresorts.com.
One of New England’s classic seaside resorts, the Ocean House debuted a multimillion-dollar renovation this May. The project, spearheaded by Ocean House Design Group and designer Peter Niemitz, refreshes the 49-room property’s coastal New England charm with rich ceramic tile entryways, custom wool carpets, updated technology, renewed color palettes, and new state-of-the-art technology. Over Memorial Day weekend, the hotel unveiled a new outdoor lounge, the Secret Garden, which exclusively serves Veuve Clicquot. From $655; 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill; 855-678-0364; oceanhouseri.com.
Watch Hill Inn
Watch Hill Inn, Ocean House’s sister resort, has announced a partnership with Lilly Pulitzer that includes a new Lilly-outfitted one-bedroom suite. The 825-square-foot stay, furnished in the designer’s signature pastel prints, comes complete with a fully equipped stainless steel kitchen, fireplace, washer/dryer, and its own deck overlooking Little Narragansett Bay. From $825; 38-44 Bay St.; 855-677-7686; watchhillinn.com.
Castle Hill Inn
This year, the historic Castle Hill Inn debuted renovations to its bi-level Turret Suite (which boasts a bath area with panoramic views of Narragansett Bay and the Long Island Sound), its beach houses, and The Retreat at Castle Hill by Farmaesthetics, the luxe green beauty brand’s first-ever permanent spa. The inn also added a relaxation area outside the spa’s two treatment rooms. From $445; 590 Ocean Ave.; 888-466-1355; castlehillinn.com.
Where To Eat
The space that once housed Stoneacre is now home to La Vasca, a Spanish and Basque-style tapas spot owned by Christopher Bender and David Crowell; the two met working in New York’s restaurant scene and are alums of the city’s Mas (farmhouse) and the now-closed Mas (La Grillade). 515 Thames St.; lavascanewport.com.
Opened in May at Gurney’s Newport, Scarpetta is the newest outpost of chef Scott Conant’s modern Italian concept; the restaurant also has locations in New York City’s Meatpacking District, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, and Montauk. 1 Goat Island; gurneysresorts.com.
Ragged Island Brewing Company
Located in nearby Portsmouth, craft brewery Ragged Island Brewing Company opened its doors in March. In its taproom, visitors can sample varieties like a TwoTree Double IPA, a Baulston Porter, a Ruggles ESB (extra special bitter), a Coggeshall Pale Ale, and more. 200 High Point Ave., Portsmouth; 401-318-2991; raggedislandbrewing.com.
What To Do
The Newport Regatta brought excitement to the port from July 7–9 this summer. The one-design regatta—in which identical boats compete against each other—is considered one of America’s finest sailing events. If you missed it, don’t worry; the Classic Yacht Regatta (August 26-27) is also a competition to behold. 60 Fort Adams Dr.; 401-846-1983; sailnewport.org.
Newport Antiques Show
As one of the country’s top events for Americana artworks, furniture, folk art, and jewelry, the 10th annual Newport Antiques Show showcases the wares of more than 40 of the country's top antique dealers from July 28–30. 375 Purgatory Rd.; 401-846-2669; newportantiqueshow.com.
Newport Jazz Festival
Every summer, the town's harbor plays host to the area’s two biggest festivals. While tickets to the ever-popular Newport Folk Music Festival are already sold out (newportfolk.org), the Newport Jazz Festival (August 4–6) brings in headliner acts like The Roots, Snarky Puppy, and more to perform under blue skies (newportjazzfest.org).
Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival
From September 21–24, Newport will host the 12th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, hosted by the area’s Preservation Society. The four-day event, hosted at the Elms, Rosecliff, and Marble House mansions, includes wine tastings, seminars, and more. newportmansions.org.
Newport Car Museum
This 40,000-square-foot museum opened its doors for the first time on June 1. It houses a private collection of more than 45 automobiles from more than six decades (since World War II) and a collection of mid-century modern furniture. newportcarmuseum.org.