Now that August has arrived and fall is just around the bend, it’s easy to assume that Newport is beginning to wind down. Wrong! Another fun-filled, sun-soaked month still lies ahead, and then comes what might be Newport's most glorious months..but more on that later. Get revved up for a late-summer getaway (and don’t forget to check out our Stay & Save packages!)
For music lovers, the fourth annual Reggaefest takes place August 10th. Enjoy jammin’ outdoors by the waterfront at the Newport Yachting Center to reggae favorites such as Chuck Fenda, Bushman, Anthony B., and Spiritual Rez. The Newport Celtic Rock Festival will take place on August 24th for those seeking the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Screaming Orphans, just to name a few. For jazz-lovers, Greenvale Vineyards will continue their Summer Jazz Series of live music every Saturday afternoon through November. Sip, swril and sip local wine and enjoy the rustic accompanied by soft jazz beats.
For families or movie-lovers of all ages, Ballard Park will be holding “Movies on the Rocks” every Wednesday evening at sunset (approximately 8:15 pm). These free showings include classic favorites Mary Poppins on August 7th, Grease on August 14th, Moonrise Kingdom (parts of the film were actually shot in Ballard Park!) on August 21st, and Caddyshack on August 28th. Bring some popcorn and have a picnic while watching these timeless films surrounded by calming nature.
August 31st though September 1st is Newport’s 34th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta. Fort Adams is the best spot to view the Classic Boat Parade featuring everything from small, traditional one-designs to majestic yachts built more than a century ago. In addition to being fun for the whole family, you’ll be showing your support for the preservation of privately owned vintage yachts and recognition of the hard work put into their conservation.
The Newport International Polo will continues their heat-thumping series every Saturday evening through September (when matches move from 5pm to 4pm). Watch teams from around the world compete and major US cities including USA vs. Jamaica on August 17th, Newport vs. New York on August 24th, and USA vs. England on the 31st! Come find out why this weekly event has been voted “Best Reason to Visit New England” and “Best Evening With the Kids” by Rhode Island Monthly.
Hungry for more? The 8th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival begins Friday, September 20 and runs through Sunday, September 22, featuring more than 100 of the world’s finest vintners and some of the region’s finest restaurants and caterers. Sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, the Festival takes place in one of America’s most spectacular settings—the historic Newport Mansions.
Looking for something a little more casual? The 23rd annual Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival returns October 19th and 20th. Coastal Living Magazine called this comfortable gathering one of the "10 Fabulous Fall Festivals on the Coast." Consider it your open invitation to come back to the waterfront after the rush of the summer season. The week after, The Newport Food Truck Festival rolls into town Saturday, October 26th featuring New England's best gourmet food trucks - all in one place on one day.
Top left, Castle Hill Inn; above right, Moonrise Kingdom from Focus Features
Load up the family truckster and make your Newport County experience one you'llbe taking about for years to come. Here's a sample itinerary of just some of the unique places to enjoy!
10am: Embark on a Scavenger Hunt at the Tennis Hall of Fame that guides young explorers through the museum and the grounds while answering questions about the history of the sport of tennis! When you've found everything, collect a special prize. Scavenger hunt maps are provided at the Admissions Desk. Kids 16 years old and under are admitted into the Tennis Hall of Fame for free and adult ticket prices are $12.
11:30am: Pack picnic for waterfront lunch at Newport County’s many free and fabulous picnic spots: Fort Adams State Park, Brenton Point State Park, Storer Park, Battery Park and countless more.
12:30pm: Fly a Kite at Breton’s Point State Park (if you don’t have one, Kitt’s Kites is located on Fair Street, just off of Thames Street in Newport). Brenton’s Point on Ocean Drive offers spectacular views and the perfect location to relax with the family on a large grassy turf. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free; restrooms and free parking are available.
2pm: Sail on over to Rose Island for a picnic and a tour of the historic Rose Island Lighthouse. Learn how this eco-friendly lighthouse was home to keepers and families for over 100 years. You'll also find beaches full of tide pools just waiting to be explored, as well as a natural habitat for many endangered birds and crustaceans. Admission fee for the island is free for children 5 years old and under, $4 for children ages 6-12, and $5 for Adults. Picnics welcome but everything is carry-in carry-out. Rose Island is accessible by the Jamestown Newport Ferry and is open from 10am-4pm daily. For ferry rates and info, CLICK HERE.
4pm: Return to Newport for a little rest and relaxation or get your game on at Ryan Family Amusements with over 50 of the coolest arcade and games that the entire family can enjoy. Open daily 10am-midnight.
6:15pm: Experience Family Night on the Rails! The Friday Night Ice Cream Dinner Train includes pizza and ice cream sundaes with a backdrop of scenic views of the Narragansett Bay. Families of all ages are served dinner by staff members aboard the train and entertained by the Candyman Conductor. The train departs every Friday evening at 6:30pm. Tickets are $19.95 for children 10 and under, and $26.95 for adults.
10am: Hit the beach (and bring a few extra dollars for Rhode Island’s own a Del’s Lemonade)! Easton’s Beach in Newport offers unlimited fun on and off the sand with a carousel, beach volleyball court rentals, surfboard and paddleboard rentals, and a snack bar (Parking: weekday $10; weekend/holiday $20 ).
Island Sports rents surfboards and paddleboards right out of their company truck on the beach. For those who don’t want to get wet, just beyond the sand sits a skate park frequently visited by avid skateboarders, bikers, and rollerbladers. The beach is walking distance from Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path along the Atlantic Ocean that also offers a sneak peek of manicured Newport Mansions. Cliff Walk is open from sunrise to sunset.
Second Beach in Middletown, is another option for family beach-goers and admired for its natural beauty. On the beach’s far right side rests what locals call “Surfer’s End,” where Rhody Surf provides surf lessons, paddleboard excursions, as well as rentals by the hour. At the beach’s center stands a concessions building that offers public restrooms, food, and showers. Parking: weekday $10; weekend/holiday $20
Burn those vacation-induced calories at Ballard Park in Newport or Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown. Both have amazing trails, engaging events for the w
hole family that are usually free or low cost, and offer unforgettable views and experiences. For more information on events like movies, yoga and bird walks, visit www.ballardpark.org, www.fws.gov/sachuestpoint and www.normanbirdsanctuary.org.
Late afternoon: Experience the 22nd season of the Newport International Polo Series where teams from around the world compete against the home team every Saturday evening
at 5pm at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, just 15 minutes from Newport. Tailgating is not only a tradition but it’s encouraged, or you can buy tickets for the tented enclosure for table service. Through September (4pm).
10am: Take the kids to The Breakers and try the Family Audio Tour which transports listeners back in time. You’ll be guided throughout 78 rooms within the mansion, learn its secrets, “meet” family members and staff that lived in the house, and experience imaginative characters such as the dolphin hiding under the grand staircase and the dragon in the
dining room. Kids can learn the rules that the children there abided by,and experience a glimpse into their lifestyle. Go at your own pace and to only listen to topics of interest. Tours are offered in many languages and available during open hours, from 9am to 6pm.
2pm: Delve beneath the walls of historic Fort Adams, the largest coastal fortification in the country, and into its underground tunnels. View the Quarters where officers and their families lived, then ascend to the scenic overlook for a breathtaking view of Newport Harbor & Narragansett Bay. The fort is open 10am-4:30pm, guided tours depart hourly (last tour at 4pm). After, enjoy the new Bay Walk, a along the picturesque East Passage of the Narragansett Bay with unobstructed views of the sun setting over Conanicut Island
Sweet Berry Farm is a post and beam farm market sitting on 100 acres of preserved farmland and is filled with seasonal fresh fruits (and pick-your-own),vegetables and cut flowers. Bring your blankets or chairs to enjoy Tuesday Evening Supper Concerts--free concerts on the lawn.
Before leaving Aquidneck Island, explore the Green Animals Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth where you’ll find 80 pieces of topiary animals, birds, geometric figures, and ornamental designs, as well as a goldfish pond that dates back to the 1920s. Kids are given map upon entering the grounds offering
a hunt for different landmarks of animals and shapes. In the main house on the property sits a room filled with children’s toys from the Victorian Era. Grounds are open from 10am - 6pm, Adults: $14.50, youth: $5.50 (ages 6-17)
Throughout the summer, every Tuesday night there are free concerts on the boardwalk at Easton’s Beach, and Thursday is Beach Idol night for kids under 15.
Action starts at 6pm!
Tour Newport on a Trolley! Enjoy a scenic overview of our historic landmarks, Ocean Drive and the mansions on Bellevue Avenue—all in a charming (and air-conditioned) trolley! Trolleys run daily, 10am, 11am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3pm.
Visit the Newport Fudgery located on Thames Street, where you can watch fudgemasters hand-make candy during all open hours of the day. Mon - Thu, Sun, 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat, 11am - 11pm.
Try an Awful Awful, Newport’s most famous milkshake, at the Newport Creamery (Newport and Middletown locations as well as throughout Rhode Island). For those seeking a challenge, the famous Awful Awful Challenge is open to takers anytime: finish two shakes and get the third free! But we warn you, these shakes are hearty; it’s easier said than done! (oh, and Mondays are buy one, get one Awful Awful day!)
Tap into your inner creativity at Accidental Artist, a do-it-yourself art studio where kids and adults paint personalized pottery of their choosing—a perfect vacation memento. Shelves are lined with white pottery of every shape and size, waiting to be painted and fired in the kiln. Mon - Sat, 12pm - 6pm; Sun, 1pm - 5pm.
Blow Your Own Glass at Thames Glass, where kids can create ornaments, paper weights, or a vase. Varied design choices are available and instructors will assist you and your family throughout the entire process. Each finished piece is unique, and one will never know what exactly it will look like so each experience offers an element of surprise!
Reservations are necessary. Classes begin at 1 pm most afternoons and are not encouraged for children under 7 yrs. Lesson rates
include $30 for an ornament (approx. 10-15 minute lesson), $55 for a paperweight (approx 15-20 minute lesson), and $145 for a vase (approx. 30-40 minute lesson). Finished pieces must be picked up two days after being made. Shipping options available.
Take the kids on a ride they’ll never forget in a “Scoot Coup,” a two-person, small, scooter car with three wheels that goes approximately 25-30 miles per hour (available at Scooter World or Mansion Rentals, both on Thames Street). Driver’s licenses are required for the driver. Click links for rates and more info.
Discover Newport welcomes guest blogger Morgan Devlin, Marketing Communications Manager for statewide nonprofit Preserve Rhode Island and mother to a five-year-old.
Families are always looking for fun activities that will appeal both to the kids and the parents. As the parent of a five-year-old son, I can personally attest to that. Last year, I helped to launch a new program called the Rhody Ramble which provides a calendar of events at Rhode Island’s historic places. Now in its second year, the Rhody Ramble includes events at 25 historic sites all around the state. For our mascot we chose a Rhode Island Red Rooster which is the state’s official bird – and ‘Rhody the Rambler’ was born!
You can follow the rooster's adventures at Facebook.com/RhodyRamble or on Twitter @RhodyRamble. Visit RhodyRamble.org to find a calendar of special events, programs and ongoing tours – all designed for children 5-12 and their families.
Aquidneck Island, which includes Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth and Conanicut Island (a.k.a. Jamestown) boast eight sites (see below). This area – and the whole state – is chock full of history! From oceanfront mansions to historic farms, the Rhody Ramble helps families find places that appeals to their interests and explore Rhode Island’s rich history during their visit. Events include outdoor festivals, music concerts, hands-on activities, walking tours, and museum scavenger hunts. Admission varies for each participating attraction, but many prices are under $10 and several events are free.
Participants on Aquidneck, Conanicut & Rose Island include:
Brick Market Museum & Shop, Newport
Fort Adams, Newport
Green Animals Topiary Garden, Portsmouth
Newport History Walking Tours, Newport
Prescott Farm, Middletown
Rose Island Lighthouse, Rose Island
The Breakers Mansion, Newport
Watson Farm, Jamestown
Visit RhodyRamble.org to find family events and tours at these places and many more just across the bay. Stay in touch with Rhody by signing up at RhodyRamble.org/Register and receive monthly emails with top events and be entered into drawings for tickets and other prizes.
The Rhody Ramble is a family adventure around Rhode Island featuring 25 member properties of the Historic Sites Coalition of Rhode Island, a program of Preserve Rhode Island.
When you’re in the sailing capital of the world, it seems only appropriate to “do at the Newporters do” and get out on the water. After all, Rhode Island boasts more than 400 miles of coastline, much of which surrounds Newport and Bristol Counties. Whether your idea of a day on the water is toasting champagne at sunset on a gentle cruise or rolling up your sleeves and grinding the winches, there is ample opportunity to “get underway” (or watch others that do).
REGATTAS: Watching a regatta can be one of the more relaxing ways to take in this sport. If you want to pack a picnic and unwind, get spots include Fort Adams State Park and Brenton Point State Park. If you want to let others do all the work, Castle Hill and OceanCliff are particularly good vantage points. While you can catch boats enjoying Newport’s breezes almost daily, you can CLICK HERE for an office calendar or upcoming regattas.
Looking for a little DIY on the water? Check out these activities:
Though Newport is a gem of a seaside community any time of year, there’s a reason our population swells during the warmest months. Most would agree that there’s an electrifying energy in the enthralling months of the summer season throughout our destination. Some look forward to staking their claim along one of our pristine beaches, while others look to explore legendary mansions; experience scenic Cliff Walk; learn about our architecture and history; cruise though Newport Harbor; wine, dine and savor local flavor, take in a movie under the stars, and create an itinerary that best allows to discovering our nine coastal towns for one big experience.
With no shortage of culinary events, music festivals, comedy and concerts, it’s easy to make this a summer to remember. CLICK HERE to check out our Events At-A-Glance, or visit our Event Calendar at Discover Newport where you can search things to do by date or theme.
On Memorial Day Weekend alone, you’ll find:
…and that’s just a start. Bring on summer!
photo: Marianne Lee
Today's guest blogger is Alexa Furtado, the Event and Marketing Coordinator for Friends of Ballard Park. The park truly is one of Newport's natural gems; a quiet place to breathe deeply and reconnect with the great outdoors. Those are just some of the reasons why director Wes Anderson decided to shoot part of his Academy Award nominated film, Moonrise Kingdom, thoughout Ballard Park in 2011. From Alexa:
The buds are ready to burst on the trees and the red-winged blackbirds are singing at Newport’s only nature preserve. Over the next few weeks the trails of Ballard Park will be every shade of green imaginable as spring hits Newport. Located at the corner of Hazard and Wickham Roads in Newport, Ballard Park is a thirteen acre nature preserve with a trail system that runs a little over a mile and takes hikers through steep terrain, offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and unique peeks at Newport mansions. Swamp maple trees line the upper loop trail which once served as a pasture for the barn next door which was lovingly converted into a single family home a few years ago. Boardwalks cover most of the muddy areas but be sure to check them out as you may spy the tracks of the white-tailed deer and Eastern cottontail rabbit. Trees with shallow root systems have toppled over in this area creating unique habitats for birds and fox.
Walking along the twin ledges trail, the mating call of the red-tailed Hawk may be heard, as well as the knocking of the Downy and red-bellied woodpecker. The white-throated sparrow, Northern Junco and Golden-crowned Kinglet are nesting in the park before migrating north for the season.
Every day is a great time to enjoy the park’s fresh air as the lichen and moss which grow on the rock ledge indicate. In May, you’ll want to walk the valley trail and enjoy a whiff of the lily of the valley which carpets the area. If you follow the trail to the meadow listen for the stream which bubbles down the cliffside in the rainy months. If you make your way towards it, you may find jack-in-the-pulpit in bloom.
In the three acre meadow the Mallard ducks like to swim in the vernal pond. A grove of pussy willow stand in the pond’s center and
a large Norway Maples grace s its bank. Rock from this area was quarried to build summer cottages like Rough Point, Eldersee and The Hedges. The rock was also used in stone walls and the gravel that paved the Ocean Drive. Today, deer, coyote, rabbit, squirrels, snakes and lots of insects thrive in the tall grasses of the meadow. Robins have traveled in flocks all winter but will soon appear in the meadow solo or in pairs to feed on worms as the ground thaws. A trails map of is available on the Friends of Ballard Park website, http://ballardpark.org/Ballard_Park_Trails_Map.pdf.
Ballard Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset but Friends of Ballard Park hosts special events during off hours. Be sure to check their schedule online. You can sign up to receive their newsletter and receive invitations to events, like our upcoming Earth Day celebration. On Saturday, April 27 Friends of Ballard Park invites the public to celebrate Earth Day in the quarry meadow. A clean-up of Ballard Park will begin at 9am, followed by a free tour of the park at 11am. Participation in the clean-up is not required for the tour. On Sunday, May 5 from 8 to 9am Lauren Parmelee, an expert birder, will lead a walk through Ballard Park to look for feathered friends and migratory species. There is a suggested $5 donation for this eventl. For more information about Ballard Park, visit www.ballardpark.org or call 401.619.3377.
Newport Restaurant Week returns this spring with affordable and delectable dishes April 5-14, 2013. Nearly 50 restaurants throughout Newport and Bristol Counties will be offering the same budget-friendly, prix-fixe offerings as they have in years’ past: three-course lunches for just $16, and three-course dinners for just $30.
Throughout the 10 days of exceptional dinning there will also be culinary experiences to fête the occasion: food and wine pairings, a Samuel Adams beer dinner, cooking classes, tastings, chef-led culinary tours and more. In addition to these tasty activities, gourmands can take advantage of culinary lodging packages as well. For more information, menus and more, visit our brand new website, DiscoverNewportRestaurantWeek.org.
Many of Newport Restaurants Week’s talented chefs will be showing off their skills on The Rhode Show on WPRI Channel 12 Tuesday mornings beginning March 26 and continuing through April 9. Tune in to see how some of your favorite dishes come together (and download recipes)!
The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is one of our proud sponsors this year and are offering an exclusive deal for Newport Restaurant Week diners. Patrons who spend $100 or more at participating restaurants during Newport Restaurant Week will receive a coupon valid through May 1, 2013 for $15 off the price of a ticket to the Sunday, September 21, 2013 Grand Tasting at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.
ABOUT NEWPORT RESTAURANT WEEK
Newport Restaurant Week was established in 2006 as an annual event to encourage both local residents and visitors to Newport and Bristol County to experience the vast culinary talent in our destination at an affordable price and to stimulate local business not only at restaurants but at
retailed and lodging partners as well. In 2008, Newport Restaurant Week expanded to a bi-annual event; one taking place in early spring and the other in late fall. Restaurateurs often create menus that celebrate seasonal ingredients and promote local food and wine purveyors. Many offer vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives to patrons with food allergies or specialty dietary requirements. Newport Restaurant Week is proudly sponsored by Samuel Adams, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Brancott Wines, OpenTable.com, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival and Discover Newport.
We want to introduce to you our new Stay and $ave page on our website, DiscoverNewport.org. Here you can find last minute deals, getaway packages, and even enter to win a getaway package for a memorable weekend in the City by the Sea.
You still have time to enter February’s contest, with the grand prize including a one night stay for two at the Hotel Viking plus 20% off spa treatments at Spa Terre, breakfast for two, complimentary valet parking, and complimentary wireless internet. To enter, simple CLICK HERE.
Under the Last Minute Deals tab, you can find bargains such as the Hyatt Regency’s special offer starting at $105/night with a free water view room upgrade, or at the Howard Johnson in neighboring Middletown, you'll find $49/night rate Monday through Thursday, and just $59/night Friday and Saturday. CLICK HERE for details. These are just two examples of how you can Stay and $ave!
Don’t forget to check back often or sign up for our monthly newsletter (bottom of the page) as new deals are constantly being added!
The Newport Winter Festival, “New England's Largest Winter Extravaganza,” returns to the City-by-the-Sea February 15-24, 2013, marking its silver anniversary. To celebrate this significant milestone and kick off 10 days of non-stop food, festivities, music and fun, residents and visitors will be treated to a fireworks spectacular over Newport Harbor on Friday, February 15 at 6:30 p.m. (rain date Feb. 16). Head downtown to enjoy a warm meal at one of our spectacular restaurants and take in all the action!
Families can spend time together at the 18th Annual Samuel Adams Chili Cook-Off or the 3rd Annual Chicken Wing Cook-Off. Parents can send stir-crazy children to the Children’s Fair presented by Radio Disney and Festival Day at Easton’s Beach. The Martini Drink Contest, the Samuel Adams Brew Master’s Dinner and Beatlemania are just a few of the events that adults can enjoy.
This year, the Newport Winter Festival plans to celebrate with a few surprises including a family-oriented magic show, new music and an edgy comedy show. The festival is also proud to showcase many of its old favorites, including the Ice Sculpting Demonstration, Sand Castle Competition, the Citywide Scavenger Hunt and Teddy Bear Story Time.
The festival was just named one of the Best 2013 Winter Carnivals of the Northeast by the Huffington Post, has received the Governor’s State Tourism Award, was also voted “Best Off-Season Event” by Newport Life Magazine and a “Must Do” by AAA.
Newport Winter Festival buttons, which offer special discounts at local businesses including restaurants, retailers and all official festival events, are available for purchase at the Newport Visitors Center at 23 America’s Cup Avenue (open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) as well as many hotels and retails throughout Newport. Visit www.NewportEvents.com for additional information and a complete event calendar.
Newport welcomed 2013 with a dusting of snow on the ground and excitement in the air! While summer inevitablythrusts Newport in the spotlight, winter may be our best kept secret with lower lodging rates, easy to secure restaurant reservations and dining deals, less crowds at popular attractions and fun activities for the whole family including the Newport Skating Center, mansion tours, walking tours, seal watching cruises with Save the Bay or aboard the Seal Watch Safari--the possibilities are endless!
The highlight of the season is the Newport Winter Festival, celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year when it comes around February 15-24, 2013. Sure to melt away winter blues, the Festival is a 10-day celebration boasting more than 150 events for families, children and adults. Make it a family affair at the 18th Annual Samuel Adams Chili Cook-Off or the 3rd Annual Chicken Wing Cook-Off. Parents can send stir-crazy kids to the Children’s Fair presented by Radio Disney and Festival Day at Easton’s Beach. The Martini Drink Contest, the Samuel Adams Brew Master’s Dinner at Brick Alley Pub and Beatlemania are just a few of the events that adults can enjoy.
Visit www.DiscoverNewport.com/events-calendar for our comprehensive calendar and www.Newportevents.com/winterfest for Winter Festival details.