When people think of Newport; mansions, sailing and beaches come to mind. While these are all wonderful things about Newport, we are very blessed with many amazing restaurants. Guests often ask “which is your favorite?” To be fair, that is a very loaded question. First, we never recommend a restaurant we don’t visit ourself. There are so many great Newport restaurants that to choose just one is impossible. If you visit our “Area” page you will find a long list of restaurants, and they are not the only ones we love, just the most popular that seem to best suite our guests. So I will give you my top five Great Newport Restaurants for very different reasons…
Without a doubt, my favorite restaurant for a special occasion is Bouchard. This amazing Fine French Restaurant is only a five minute walk from the inn. The cozy atmosphere sets the perfect tone for celebrating an anniversary or special birthday and the food is absolutely delicious!
Another of my favorite restaurants for a special occasion or if you are in the mood for just really good food is TSK. This hip restaurant features delicious creations using local and seasonal ingredients. TSK had taken a break for a few years and we were so thrilled when they returned this spring to a new location, just next door to Bouchard and only five minutes from the Samuel Durfee House!
Since we are in a port town, we can not leave out a great seafood restaurant. While I love the Mooring and Scales and Shells, I must choose Benjamin’s as my favorite seafood restaurant. Casual, reasonably priced, popular with locals and tourists, Benjamin’s offers great seafood (and an amazing raw bar) served in two different dining areas (downstairs is super casual, upstairs more traditional) as well as a seasonal deck. On raw bar Tuesdays, oyster are only $1! About a 10 minute walk from the inn.
When I am in the mood for something different and fun, my go to choice is Diego’s! Located on Bowen’s wharf about a 10-15 minute walk, Diego’s offers creative mexican cuisine with a strong emphasis on seafood. Recently expanded, the second floor dining room has views of the harbor and the downstairs courtyard is open air in the summer. I absolutely love the fish tacos!
Lastly, my favorite place for lunch on a beautiful day on the water is 22 Bowen’s. Upscale dining and amazing wine, 22 Bowen’s patio is the perfect place to enjoy a great lunch while enjoying the beautiful harbor scenery and watching the boats come in!
Newport may be known for it’s mansions and sailing, but there are also three wonderful local wineries located in Newport County that are worth making time for when visiting Newport. Each vineyard has it’s own distinct vibe and wines!
Newport Vineyards, located 10-15 minutes from downtown Newport in Middletown, was first started in 1977. The family owned and run vineyard recently underwent a huge remodel and expansion resulting in a hip rustic large tasting room that opens up to the vineyard. On a beautiful day the doors are open with outdoor games, sitting areas and outdoor tastings. On Saturday and Sunday live music is played from 1 to 4 pm, April through October. Newport Vineyards is open Monday thru Saturday from 10-5, tours at 1 and 3 (expanded tour schedule on Saturday), and Sunday from 12-5, tours at 1 and 3. The cost of the tour, tasting and souvenir wine glass is $15. Included in their expansion, is the Vineyard Cafe, a great place to get lunch before or after your tasting. Newport Vineyards also now has a full service restaurant serving dinner.
Greenvale Vineyards is just a 15 -20 minute drive from downtown Newport located in Portsmouth. Greenvale Vineyards started as a farm and has been in the same family since 1863. This quaint vineyard is located down a long driveway and is a relaxing escape from the busy happenings of Newport. The tastings are done out of a former stable and open up onto the patio in the warmer months. Live jazz is performed every Saturday from 1-4, May through November and a food truck now accompanies the jazz performance for a perfect picnic lunch. Greenvale Vineyards is open Monday through Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 12-5. Tours are on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm and by appointment Monday through Friday. Tastings are $12, jazz tastings $15. Greenvale Vineyards has reduced winter hours.
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard is about 45 minutes from downtown Newport located in the town of Little Compton. It is worth a drive to Sakonnet Vineyard which was originally opened in 1975 and has since been purchased by the owner of the jewelry company, Alex and Ani. You get a sense of this when you drive down the winding road and are greeted by two black panther statues and by the art work in the tasting room. The winery is set on a beautiful piece of land and there is a large outdoor seating area across from the tasting room. There is an onsite cafe (check the website for hours) and there are live outdoor concerts in the summer months. Daily tastings from 11-5 (later on Friday and Saturday), the $14 tasting includes a keepsake glass.
As mentioned in my Top Ten Things to do in Newport, going to the beach is one of our favorite things to do in Newport! We are very fortunate to have several different beaches to choose from! For those that like the quiet, non-wave style beaches, there are Third Beach in Middletown and Gooseberry Beach in Newport. Third Beach is part of the Sachuest Beaches in Middletown, RI and is on a cove around the bend from the main beach. It tends to be quieter with young children. Gooseberry Beach is located around the Ocean Drive in Newport, RI. This beach is very popular with locals and tourists. Even though it is located right on the Atlantic, it is in a cove with very gentle waves. The setting with large rocks and beautiful coastal homes is stunning! For those that desire the more typical beach setting with waves, “Second Beach” in Middletown and Easton’s Beach or “First Beach” in Newport are the two to choose from. Easton’s Beach in Newport, RI (known locally as First Beach) is a mile long beach located just down the hill from the entrance to Cliff Walk. This beach is most popular with tourists as it is close to town. If you go to First Beach, make sure to stop by the snack shack for the delicious lobster rolls (twin rolls for $12). Middletown’s ” Second Beach” (known formally as Sachuest Beach) is popular with locals and tourists as the setting is beautiful and the waves tend to be a little better than First Beach. Parking at Second Beach can be challenging on the weekends. One last beach to mention, is known as “Reject Beach”. This tiny beach is located at the southern end of the cliff walk and the beginning of the Ocean Drive. It gets it’s name as it is located next to the private Bailey’s Beach. There is no parking nor facilities at “Reject Beach”, you must walk or bike to get to it. Excluding “Reject Beach”, all of the beaches have parking for a fee (higher on the weekends-about $20, and $10 mid-week). Guests of the Samuel Durfee House can borrow beach bags with towels and chairs.
Anyone who has been to Newport, Rhode Island learns quickly that there are many things to do. For first time visitors, it is difficult to know where to start. This is a list of our favorite things and activities to do in Newport. We will update our blog in the future by expanding on each item on our list but this will certainly get you started!
Top Ten Things to do in Newport, Rhode Island (according to the innkeepers at the Samuel Durfee House):
1. Cliff Walk! This is a beautiful 3.5 scenic walk which runs behind the mansions and above the ocean.
2. The Mansions! The Preservation Society of Newport County and the Newport Restoration Foundation give visitors the chance to explore these beautiful “summer cottages.”
3. Ocean Drive. This 10 mile scenic drive around the southern tip of the island is breathtaking.
4. Have a drink on the lawn at Castle Hill.
5. Take a sail around the harbor.
6. Stroll Thames Street, America’s Cup Avenue, and Bellevue Avenue Restaurants and Shops.
7. Visit Fort Adams for either a tour, concert or both.
8. Visit Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in America.
9. Take a tour and tasting at a local vineyard or brewery.
10. Relax at one of our many beaches.
There are many attractions that draw people to Newport but what you might not have realized is that Newport is also know for its birding! Birders from all over New England and beyond have flocked (pun intended) to Newport recently to see the snowy owl. The barn owl was also recently spotted. We had a return guest visit us recently that wanted to do something outside. Since only part of cliff walk is currently open, I suggested a couple of other places he could explore for taking pictures. I told him about Sachuest Point, a nature preserve located a 10 minute drive away in Middletown. He and his wife were enjoying their trail walk and were fortunate enough to see a snowy owl in flight and he had his camera ready! I was visiting Sachuest Point this summer when I spotted many beautiful smaller birds. Another wonderful place for birding in the area is at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, not far from Sachuest Point. There are many trails to explore through the woods. If you would prefer to bird by car, there is a wonderful side road off of the Ocean Drive where I have been fortunate enough to spot many birds at sunrise.
If you have not yet heard the story of the Red Chair Travels, it is a story about an innkeeper who took a now famous photo of a simple red chair on a frozen pond and posted the photo on her facebook page. The photo inspired a photographer to visit the inn and take photos of the red chair in different settings. The Red Chair took a trip to several New England Inns last year. This June the Red Chair began a journey that will take it down the east coast and then across the country. The Red Chair Traveled to the Samuel Durfee House in mid-June and we got to show the Red Chair some of what Newport has to offer (there is so much to do here that one would need to visit for many days or more to see everything). We began our tour of Newport by visiting Easton’s Beach and the Cliff Walk-the Red Chair even got to sit on a lifeguard stand! We then took the Red Chair for a drive down Bellevue Avenue to see the famous Newport Mansions, the Red Chair even stopped for a photo with the ‘camels’ at Doris Duke’s Rough Point! It was then off to the Ocean Drive, a beautiful scenic coastal drive around the Southern tip of our island. We took a break and had afternoon tea at the Samuel Durfee House before heading downtown to Newport’s new Queen Anne Square and Trinity Church. We then headed to Bannister and Bowen’s Wharf to check out the shops and restaurants and visit the lobsters at the Aquidneck Lobster Company (the Red Chair even gave a lobster a place to take a break). To see another side of Newport, we went out to Fort Adams and walked around the fort before watching a sailing race in the bay. After a long day of touring Newport, we decided to take the Red Chair to one of our favorite places to watch the sunset, Castle Hill. The Red Chair had a wonderful visit to Newport and the Samuel Durfee House before heading to Connecticut to begin the next stop in it’s long journey.
Last year my husband and I saw a news report of a photo of a red chair on a frozen pond. The photo was taken by an innkeeper on Cape Cod and posted on the inn’s facebook page. It spread across the cyber world and found its way to a photographer who was inspired to visit the red chair and photo it in different settings. We both were intrigued and inspired by the story. The red chair began a journey traveling to different inns. The red chair has just begun a journey that will take it from New England traveling across the country staying in bed and breakfasts and inns along the way. We are honored to be chosen to host the red chair while it travels to Newport, Rhode Island! We will treat the red chair like an honored guest showing it all Newport has to offer. The red chair will arrive at the Samuel Durfee House on June 11th and stay with us until the morning of June 14th when the red chair will travel to Connecticut. Please check back on our blog next week when we will post photos of all of the exciting places the red chair will see in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island! In the meantime, please check out the website www.redchairtravels.com for the story of the red chair!
If you are looking for a New England fall getaway, look no further than Newport and the Samuel Durfee House. Fall has arrived in Newport, Rhode Island. The leaves have just begun to change and fall to the ground and the air is getting cooler. New England is known for it’s fall foliage and it is a beautiful time to visit Newport. The drive to and from Newport is one of the things I look most forward to this time of year. In addition to the beauty this time of year brings, are many unique and fun events. This upcoming weekend is one of our favorite festivals in Newport, the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival. Delicious New England dishes are available from some of Newport’s finest restaurants, under colorful tents with live music playing all day-a perfect way to spend a fall day! Also this upcoming weekend, is the 10th Annual Ballard Park Pumpkin Tour. A community wide event in which area schools and businesses carve over 1,000 jack-o-lanterns. As you walk the trails, this will certainly get you in the fall spirit! Other ongoing special events include ghost tours, finding your way through a local corn maze, visiting a local farmers market, and visiting the pumpkin patch at Trinity Church. Another exciting happening in Newport this fall is the Newport Fall Restaurant Week. This event is from November 2nd through November 11th and is the perfect chance to try one (or more) of our excellent restaurants! Participating Restaurants will be serving three course lunches ($16) and three course dinners ($30). We hope to see you at the Samuel Durfee House for your New England Fall Getaway!
Romantic couples will enjoy the Samuel Durfee House
If you are looking for romantic getaway, then look no further than Newport and the Samuel Durfee House. Newport offers so many romantic things to do with your special someone. Take a stroll on one of our beautiful beaches, enjoy a champagne toast while watching the sunset over the harbor, take a romantic sail, or enjoy a wine tasting while listening to jazz at a local vineyard. Romance abounds in Newport.
The Samuel Durfee House is the perfect place for your romantic getaway. Our beautifully decorated guest rooms set the tone for romance. Some rooms have private decks, one has a whirlpool tub, and the Harrison Suite a romantic gas fireplace. All of our guest rooms have wineglasses with corkscrew, should you wish to bring a special bottle of wine. If there is a special touch you need help with to make your romantic getaway perfect, we would be more than happy to help you.
We love to hear from our guests how they enjoyed their stay. We have gone to Bedandbreakfast.com a trusted source for Bed and Breakfast reviews and have listed some of them below for you to check out.
Absolutely wonderful— everything!
The rooms are beautiful, well-kept, and comfortable. The house is extremely convenienlty located to the main shops in Newport and also walkable distance from the famous mansions and cliff walk.
We spent a wonderful weekend in Newport and our stay at the Samuel Durfee House made it special. The house is very cozy and comfortable and beautifully decorated.
Excellent long weekend
Heather and Mike are wonderfully caring and knowledgeable people. They gave a lot of useful information about the area, places to go, restaurants to eat at.
Perfect Newport Experience
Great food! Good people! Wonderful location! Thank you!
Perfect place to stay while in Newport
Perfectly situated and we got to walk to all major attractions without taking our car from the parking lot.
Great B&B in great location
Really enjoyed our stay in Newport- and loved this B&B. The owners Heather & Michael were nice and helpful, and the breakfasts were just excellent! We loved our stay- definitely one for the memory books!