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Best of Newport, Rhode Island | Editors’ Choice Awards

by in May 2013
Best of Newport, Rhode Island | Editors’ Choice Awards
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Located just 23 miles south of Providence, and 61 miles south of Boston, the seaside city of Newport, Rhode Island thrives with beauty and culture, not to mention plenty of good things to eat and places to stay.

Here’s a look at our picks for some of the best things to do, plus where to eat, shop, and stay in Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport Pell Bridge
Photo/Art by Eric Full
A view of Rhode Island’s Claiborne Pell Bridge from Rose Island.

BEST ATTRACTIONS IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

BEST NEW MUSEUM:
AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
“I think of them as moving sculptures,” says director David de Muzio of the collection he curates: some 200 rare cars, from an 1898 steam-powered Crouch to “the latest and greatest supercars.” Every four months, a new exhibition spotlights about 15 of these drool-worthy vehicles, owned by real-estate moguls Nick Schorsch and Bill Kahane, who renovated the 1902 Audrain Building for offices but quickly recognized its potential as a showroom of dreams. 222 Bellevue Ave. 401-856-4420; audrainautomuseum.org

BEST INTERACTIVE ATTRACTION:
INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME
In a city filled with “look, but don’t touch” attractions, this architecturally magnificent sports shrine engages an interactive generation. Gutted to the walls for a complete overhaul, the hall reopened in May 2015 with vibrant galleries and multimedia marvels, including a Roger Federer hologram. Plus, you can participate in clinics or book time on the grass courts where 1881’s first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships were played. 194 Bellevue Ave. 401-849-3990; tennisfame.com

BEST ALL-AGES BOAT TRIP:
FISN’N TAKES ADVENTURES LOBSTER TOURS
Help bait traps, band claws, and learn the intimate details of lobster courtship rituals. Captain Rob DeMasi, one of Rhode Island’s last lobstermen, offers a 90-minute lobster-boat excursion—an authentic look at commercial lobstering in one of New England’s most scenic and historic bays. Bowen’s Wharf. 401-619-4431; northeasternlobstertours.com

Best of Newport, Rhode Island
Photo/Art by Alex Gagne
Best All-Ages Boat Trip | Fish’n Tales Adventures Lobster Tours

BEST HARBOR TOURS
GANSETT CRUISES, Newport
Board the M/V Gansett, a beautifully rehabbed wooden lobster boat, for a 90-minute narrated tour showcasing the area’s top coastal sites, plus a complimentary taste of Del’s lemonade, a quahog stuffy, or a coffee cabinet. 150 Bowens Landing. 401-787-4438; gansettcruises.com

BEST FOOD TOUR
NEWPORT GOURMET TOURS, Newport & Providence
From crepes to cocktails, burgers to baguettes, these chef-run walking tours take you behind the scenes at some of the finest kitchens and specialty shops in Newport and Providence. Call for a reservation. 401-787-4058; newportgourmettours.com

BEST BEER (AND RUM) TASTING
COASTAL EXTREME BREWING COMPANY, Newport
Peek in on production, then sample the goods. Taste three Newport Storm brews, or if the hard stuff is more your speed, sip through three stages of Thomas Tew single-barrel rum (raw spirit, cask-strength aged rum, and final product). 293 JT Connell Road. 401-849-5232; newportstorm.com

BEST FOOD & DINING IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

Best of Newport, Rhode Island
Photo/Art by Angel Tucker
Best Raw Bar | Midtown Oyster Bar

BEST CAFE:
CRU CAFE
Russell Morin Catering’s multisensory cuisine is the talk of Newport’s most-exclusive parties. Not invited? Be wowed by the flavors—and affordable prices—at the company’s new casual eatery. Breakfast, lunch, supper, and BYOB Sunday-brunch menus are revamped weekly to highlight local ingredients. Don’t miss the Bellevue blend: a collaboration with Rhode Island’s Custom House artisanal coffee roasters. 1 Casino Terrace. 401-314-0500; crucafenewport.com

BEST RAW BAR
MIDTOWN OYSTER BAR
In oyster lovers’ heaven, icy platters are heaped with glistening molluscs freshly plucked from local waters; crispy fried oysters and remoulade jazz up juicy burgers; and even the beer is brewed with oysters. You can behave and bide your time, or savor these divine creations now. With two bars, two decks, high-ceilinged dining rooms, a marble raw bar, and oyster stout—crafted by Harpoon—on tap, Midtown is where shellfish devotees congregate. 345 Thames St. 401-619-4100; midtownoyster.com

BEST BRUNCH:
STONEACRE PANTRY
“Refreshing” it says in the brunch menu’s top-left corner. The heading refers to beverages like lemon–elderflower spritzer. But that single word encapsulates midday meals served Saturdays and Sundays, indoors and out, at this homey yet sophisticated restaurant. Handcrafted dishes like lemon–ricotta pancakes with rhubarb and whipped crème fraîche reflect the owners’ mission to sustain local farms. 515 Thames St. 401-619-7810; stoneacrepantry.com

BEST BYOB RESTAURANT
THAMES STREET KITCHEN, Newport
It’s all in the family at TSK. Chefs Chad Hoffer and Tyler Burnley, along with their wives–twin sisters and front-of-the-house managers Julia and Anna Jenkins–have created the ultimate elevated neighborhood BYOB. The menu is small, but the food (from striped-bass ceviche to fried chicken with French toast) is as fun as it is creative. 677 Thames St. 401-846-9100; thamesstreetkitchen.com

BEST AL FRESCO DINING
THE LAWN AT CASTLE HILL, Newport
The most scenic place in the state to grab a G&T and watch the water has upped the proverbial ante with the addition of an official moniker and a special al fresco menu. The view is even better when your belly is full of New England favorites such as clam chowder, lobster rolls, and just-shucked oysters. 590 Ocean Drive. 401-849-3800; castlehillinn.com

BEST SEASIDE SPIRITS
FLUKE WINE, BAR & KITCHEN, Newport
With almost 40 rums alone, it’s clear that Fluke means business with its bar program. From classic cocktails to seasonal house signatures, nonalcoholic sippers to a wine list that’s as deep as it is varied, Fluke has every beverage base covered. 41 Bowens Wharf. 401-849-7778; flukewinebar.com

BEST LODGING IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

BEST B&B ALTERNATIVE:
GILDED
With a courtyard styled like the Mad Hatter’s croquet party, a fringy chandelier dangling over the white-lacquered billiard table, a jewel-toned library, and 17 funky guest rooms, this newcomer is a visual feast. So is the daily spread of breakfast tapas. If historic inns’ intimacy and formal décor aren’t your thing, this posh, irreverent boutique hotel is your anti-B&B. 23 Brinley St. 401-619-7758; gildedhotel.com

BEST GOURMAND GETAWAY:
BOUCHARD INN & RESTAURANT
Hospitality power couple Sarah and Chef Albert Bouchard possess that je ne sais quoi that transforms a mere meal or a stay into a memory. Even as their Newport empire has expanded, their flagship French restaurant exudes unparalleled warmth and creativity. With a bellyful of filet de boeuf aux brie, retire to one of 14 rooms upstairs or steps away, and dream until fresh-baked pastries arrive. 505 Thames St. 401-846-0123; bouchardnewport.com

BEST HOTEL MAKEOVER:
NEWPORT MARRIOTT
A $35 million renovation has catapulted Newport’s largest hotel into the upper echelon of seaside places to stay. All 320 rooms underwent high-tech, yacht-chic makeovers, but it’s the lobby’s swings, fountains, and Plank Bar; Mainsail restaurant’s boat-shaped booths and waterside two-tops; and Skiff Bar’s wicked martinis, bacon pops, and ceiling raining nautical rope that are attracting spirited crowds. 25 America’s Cup Ave. 401-849-1000; newportmarriott.com

BEST (TEMPORARY) LUXE LIVING
VANDERBILT GRACE, Newport
Rarely does a hotel score a trifecta like this: good food, posh accommodations, and a stellar view. With a menu overseen by The White Barn Inn’s Jonathan Cartwright, tastefully refurbished rooms, and a rooftop lounge that floats above the city, it’s a romantic retreat for the Gatsby crowd–and those who want to dream for the weekend. 41 Mary St. 401-846-6200; vanderbiltgrace.com

BEST DESIGNER HOTEL
THE ATTWATER, Newport
Self-described as “Newport unconventional,” the Attwater recently underwent a total renovation. If your weekend in Newport is half as fun as these rooms–bold fabrics, sleek furnishings, ultramodern accents–you’re in for a treat. 22 Liberty St. 401-846-7444; theattwater.com

BEST HOSPITALITY
LA FARGE PERRY HOUSE, Newport
The best of both worlds: high living with down-home hospitality. Innkeeper Jennifer Balch goes the extra mile, from booking coveted dinner reservations to fixing a healthy breakfast on request, to make guests feel like VIPs. 24 Kay St. 401-847-2223; lafargeperry.com

Selections originally appeared in print in 2013 and 2016.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
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