Winter Goals: Newport with Your Squad
Book some much needed gal-time for you and your besties in Newport this winter!
Bonding with friends and going on vacation are two of the best things you can do for your well-being, and you can double down on the positive vibes with a girl’s getaway in Newport filled with spa days, shopping, dining, and dancing.
Broadway is Newport’s coolest neighborhood, so impress your friends with a breakfast outing to the Corner Cafe, where you can order a light take on Eggs Benedict topped with spinach, avocado and red peppers — or simply indulge in French toast stuffed with banana, berries, and cream, Portuguese-style.
Newport’s famous mansions are monuments to Gilded Age style and architecture, with women playing a leading role: Alva Vanderbilt, for example, lorded over the legendary summer social scene of the time but also hosted rallies for a women's right to vote at Marble House, one of several mansions open for tours year-round (the others include the Vanderbilts’ other Newport “cottage,” The Breakers, the French chateau inspired Elms, and Rosecliff, modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles). Be sure to pop into the flagship Farmaesthetics store on Bellevue Avenue near the mansions to freshen up: facials are offered daily (except Sundays) by appointment using the company’s signature herbal skincare products.
A lighter lunch naturally follows a big breakfast: warm up your afternoon with the root vegetable ramen or a Korean rice bowl from Boru on Broadway, or nibble on sweet and savory treats during The Vanderbilt hotel’s classic afternoon tea service (the Auberge Resorts hotel, with its spa, included breakfast, and suites accommodating up to six guests, is also a great option for overnighting in Newport). Either way it’s a short walk to shopping at the Brick Marketplace, including footwear from Sole Desire, Bermuda Bay resort wear, and searching for consignment treasures at Snooty Hooty’s Yellow Submarine.
On Thames Street, Pink Pineapple hits the sweet spot with cashmere fashions, and the shops lining nearby Bowen’s Wharf include the bath and body delights at Soap and Water, American-made clothing at Kiel James Patrick, and nautically themed fashions and accessories at the Sail Loft and Sea Bags. The Black Dog and Tyler Boe on Bannister’s Wharf beckon you in with men and women’s sportswear. For a light bite on the go, order some rolls and sashimi at Mori Sushi in the Brick Market or something sweet or savory at Le Petite Creperie on Bowen’s Wharf; or, celebrate the day’s steals and deals with a steak or lobster at the 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille.
Bishop’s 4th Street Diner is a Newport classic: slide into one of the booths at this stainless-steel sided eatery and start your day with traditional Rhode Island style Jonnycakes, maple cinnamon French toast, or a lobster “Benny.” Just a few minutes from downtown Newport is Newport Vineyards, which sits amid 100 acres of vines in neighboring Middletown. The winery, which produces a wide variety of vintages (red, white, rose, sparkling, port, and ice wine, to name a few), offers tastings, tours, live music, and themed dinners at the in-house Brix restaurant and Taproot Brewery. The latter is good for a lunch of shared plates, with brew-friendly snacks like mushroom toast, pickled eggs, Mac and cheese, and hummus with sliced vegetables for dipping.
Taking a cooking class is another way to bond over food in Newport: the Surf Club on Thames Street offers monthly pizza-making lessons, and Newport Cooks offers chef-led instruction on everything from making pasta and classic Italian desserts to how to whip up authentic Indian curry paste. You can combine food and wine tasting and learning at the Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet on Memorial Boulevard, which offers cookbook classes on Thursday nights, free wine tastings on Friday and Saturday nights, and a variety of other cooking and wine classes throughout the week. Better yet, schedule a private class with just you and your BFFs.
Dinner might feel optional after a day of eating and drinking, but save a little room for the raw bar at The Landing, one of the best spots in town for watching the sun dip below the waves of Newport Harbor. Skating on the outdoor rink at Gurney’s resort on Goat Island is a nice way to start the evening in Newport, and your group can reserve one of the resort’s four heated pop-up igloos — themed sanctuaries that seat up to six and offer paired cocktails, music, and games to pass a couple of fun hours together (the hotel also has a coastal-themed spa and offers “stay and skate” packages).
Speaking of music, Newport’s nightlife doesn’t end when summer does. DJs and live bands provide the soundtrack for a night of dancing at venues all over town. Whether your tastes tend toward rock, jazz, hip-hop or R&B, you’ll find the sound you seek at the Newport Blues Cafe, which has live music every weekend. Broadway’s Parlor Bar and Kitchen hits all the right notes with a menu of speciality pizzas, sandwiches, and more elaborate dinner entrees accompanied by performers filling the room with sound from an intimate stage. You can also hear bands at One Pelham East, a multi-story club with the city’s liveliest dance parties and dueling pianos in the third-floor Top of Pelham bar.
Start your day with a sun salutation at Forty 1º North, a boutique hotel and restaurant that hosts 8 a.m. Vinyasa yoga classes in its waterfront Gallery room (if you stay over here, the hotel will serve you breakfast in bed before or after your session). For a more extensive choice of classes and disciplines, check out the new Mend Yoga studio in the Broadway district, which offers power Yinyasa, sculpt, and guided meditation sessions from Monday to Saturday. Wave Cycle on Thames Street has spin classes daily, including rides powered by rock and country music.
Ease into the intimate (and dog-friendly) Coffee Grinder on Bannister’s Wharf for coffee, Italian espresso, and a muffin or pastry before heading down Lower Thames Street to continue your Newport wellness day at the Bodhi Spa. The spa offers typical services like massages and facials, but sets itself apart with a Water Journey — a hydrotherapy ritual that both relaxes and exhilarates as bathers move from hot tub to cold plunge, steam room to sauna.
Breakfast and lunch is available all morning and afternoon at Stoneacre Brasserie on Washington Square, which showcases locally sourced and seasonally available ingredients on its menu of savory topped toasts, egg dishes, sandwiches (including tempura cauliflower for vegetarians in your group), and heartier mains. The restaurant is also one of the six tasting stops on Rhode Island Red Food Tours’ Flicks and Fare tour, which combines light eats with a movie screening at Newport’s historic Jane Pickens Theater.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame immerses visitors in the history of tennis with interactive exhibits (including a hologram of Roger Federer), and you can cap your tour of the Bellevue Avenue museum with a game of doubles on one of the three indoor hard courts on the grounds. Or just take the rest of the afternoon slow with a stroll through the galleries of the Newport Art Museum, the Audrain Automobile Museum, or the Museum of Newport History. Wrap up your Newport getaway with craft cocktails at Broadway’s Fifth Element, which serves Sunday brunch until 5 p.m. and has live jazz every Monday night.