newport rhode island
The Weekender

An Insider’s Guide to Newport, RI

Nick Papa shares his go-to spots.

Welcome to The Weekender, Coveteur's newest series that allows us to hop into tastemakers' overnight bags as they journey on trips around the world. This week we're joining Coveteur's very own manager of partnerships, Nick Papa, as he spends 48 hours in Newport, RI. Read below as he shares the best spots to eat, shop, and stay.

How did you decide on this location for your trip?

"We had been looking at towns that were within driving distance of New York City, and Newport was the perfect distance that offered a much-needed change of pace."

How did you get there?

"We drove from New York, which was just over three hours."

What sort of activities did you do? Was it a weekend of discovery, or did you have a specific itinerary?

"It was a bit of both! Since I had been a few times before, there were definitely some places I wanted to visit again, but I also wanted to explore what had changed. We spent the weekend hopping from restaurant to restaurant with strolls throughout the town in between. Most of what we did was spontaneous and we were able to stumble upon a few really neat shops like Wald & Sea, which had an incredibly well-curated selection of home decor and furnishings. The city has really continued to develop over the past few years, so it was exciting to see all the newness."

Where did you stay? What sort of accommodations were you in (hotel, cabin, private home, tent, etc.)?

"We chose to stay at one of the newly opened boutique hotels, Hammetts Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown, overlooking Newport Harbor, it was the perfect spot to be able to walk anywhere. With the hotel being newly built, the room was cozy and inviting with all the necessary amenities needed. The property overall is a modern sanctuary with a spacious outdoor lounge and lively bar and restaurant, Guisto, that overlooks the harbor and offers outdoor seating, delicious Italian wines, and local oysters."

What were some of your favorite meals, and from where did you order them?

"Of course, being a city that has a bustling marina, the seafood options in Newport are everything you would expect. But before you dive headfirst into lobster rolls and oysters, you must start your morning at The Nitro Bar. Not only is the coffee locally sourced and locally brewed, their breakfast sandwiches are next-level and the staff are beyond friendly. Another can't-miss coffee spot is at the very end of Bannister's Wharf overlooking the harbor, Coffee Grinder. It is the perfect spot for a midday espresso and delicious baked goods (the zucchini bread is to die for) and has a charming covered patio overlooking the harbor. For lunch, head to Newport Lobster Shack for the freshest lobster roll you will probably ever have—their mantra is "we only sell what we catch." Another option, a little further out of town overlooking the beach and just past the famed Cliff Walk, is Flo's Clam Shack, which offers an extensive menu of all the classic New England fried seafood options and has been around since 1936. For a more formal, sit-down meal, Midtown Oyster Bar and Clarke Cooke House both provide lively environments with locally sourced seafood options. Another favorite, and maybe unexpected in a city full of seafood restaurants, is Diego's, which offers elevated Mexican street food. All in all, the culinary scene in Newport is chock-full of incredible restaurants!"

What was the local scene like? Paint us a picture of the atmosphere.

"Newport is truly a quintessential New England town with a bustling harbor, historic mansions, and cobblestone streets dating back many centuries. Just behind the main street lined with numerous restaurants and shops there is a maze of quaint residential streets which are filled with historic homes from the 1700s. Woven throughout the neighborhoods you will find hole-in-the-wall restaurants, thoughtfully curated shops featuring local artisans, and a slew of antique stores with incredible treasures. Outside of the main harbor and center of Newport, there are also stretches of beaches that are open to the public which locals may refer to as First, Second or Third Beach."

How did you dress for the trip? How did the climate, itinerary, or culture affect your style choices?

"Being that Newport is situated right on the ocean, it does have a tendency to be a few degrees cooler as the sun sets. I made sure to pack light layers that could transition from day to night—overshirts and linen-blend pants with basic t-shirts. Since it is a city where everything is centrally located, I knew I would be walking mostly everywhere, so sensible shoes were important as well. Overall, it has a pretty relaxed vibe that does not warrant overly dressy options, so casual pieces that can be mixed and matched are the best bet."

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