Though it’s not part of South County, Newport is only about 20 minutes away on Aquidneck Island, and can easily fill up a whole day (or night). The City by the Sea became famous during the Gilded age as the summer playground of wealthy families like the Astors, the Vanderbilts and the Dukes. Though the age of the iconic Newport mansions (or, as they were known back then, “summer cottages”) has come and gone, it remains a lively summer boomtown. It boasts a great dining scene, several of the summer’s biggest festivals and, of course, those cottages, most of which are open for tours.
Explore the Mansions
Get some history on a tour of one of the newport Mansions like the Breakers (44 Ochre Point Ave.), Marble House (596 Bellevue Ave.) or Rosecliff (548 Bellevue ave.) For a little fresh air with your history, try the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that overlooks the ocean on one side and many of the mansions on the other. newportmansions.org, cliffwalk.com
Lunch on the Water
Many of the city’s most revered restaurants offer outdoor patios where you can try the food that made them famous without committing to a fancy sit-down dinner. Try the Waterside Patio & Bar at the Black Pearl (Bannister’s Wharf, 401-846-5264, blackpearlnewport.com), the Midway Bar at Clarke Cooke House (Bannister’s Wharf, 401-849-2900, clarkecooke.com) or the outdoor seating at The Mooring (Sayer’s Wharf, 401-846-2260, mooringrestaurant.com).
Stroll and Shop
Newport’s main drag is on Thames St. and America’s Cup Ave. on the waterfront, along with the wharfs that run off them, are packed with restaurants, shops and attractions. Lemon and Line (421 Thames St. lemonandline.com) specializes in nautical jewelry and gifts; Toci (18 Franklin St. 401-848-9600, thisistoci.com) is an exclusively cashmere boutique.
Have an Extravagant Dinner
Newport has more than its fair share of fine dining. Tallulah on Thames (464 Thames St., 401-849-2433, tallulahonthames.com) is known for its seasonal, market-driven menu. The Spiced Pear (117 Memorial Blvd. 401-847-2244, thechanler.com/dining) in the Chanler Hotel epitomizes haute cuisine. Castle Hill Inn (590 Ocean Ave. 401-849-3800, castlehillinn.com) is a top notch restaurant in a gorgeous seaside resort.
Newport Blues Café (286 Thames St. 401-841-5510, newportblues.com), One Pelham East (270 Thames St. 401-847-9460, thepelham.com) and Perry Mill Tavern (337 Thames St. 401-846-0707, perrymilltavern.com) are all popular spots for live music.