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Summer Like a Vanderbilt

Is Posh your favorite Spice Girl? Luxury your middle name? If so, set a course for Newport and prepare to summer like a Vanderbilt. As you may know, the Vanderbilts set the tone for the ton of the Gilded Age. And nowhere was their conspicuous consumption more on glorious display than in the fashionable days and fabulous nights spent in their Newport “summer cottages.”

YOU SIMPLY MUST

Visit the crown jewel of the Newport Mansions, The Breakers. Home to Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, this 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo designed by Richard Morris Hunt must be seen to be believed. Take a self-guided audio tour, or for the exclusive VIP experience, check out the Newport Mansions Exclusive Experiences. To walk in the footsteps of another Newport Grande Dame, visit Rough Point, home to heiress and philanthropist, Doris Duke.

Take a helicopter tour of Newport. While the Gilded Age traveled in expensive carriages and the earliest (and fanciest) motorcars, you can enjoy a thrilling and scenic ride through the skies of Newport, overlooking the coastline, mansions, and more.

Walk the Cliff Walk. It’s a National Recreation Trail full of wildflowers and ocean breezes, the rugged Rhode Island coast on one side of the trail and the amazing Newport Mansions on the other. Beautiful, exhilarating, Instagrammable.

Have a beach day. So basic and yet so necessary: when one is in Newport, one must go to the beach!

Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Audrain Auto Museum. The giants of the sport have all played here, and the history of tennis itself is meticulously preserved and celebrated in this comprehensive and interactive museum. Steps away are the Audrain, a cozy museum that honors the Machine Age, when art and automobiles came together, with ever-changing vehicles and exhibits.

Shop Thames Street. Treat yourself, buy souvenirs, and more at the eclectic shops, galleries, and boutiques of this bustling downtown area. Grab some nautical accessories at Salty Babe, pick up something fun to wear at Pink Pineapple, or some gourmet olive oil and vinegar at Virgin and Aged. Tibet in Port carries authentic arts and artifacts from the Himalayas, and A Christmas to Remember will have the perfect something to hang on your tree as a reminder of your trip.

Get on the water. Take a breathtaking cruise on a gorgeous schooner, or a fun tour on the prohibition-era Rum Runner II (complete with drinks), or an America’s Cup cruise. Whichever one you pick; you will count the experience among your best Newport memories.

More: Art lovers will love the Newport Art Museum. History lovers will want to visit the Newport History Museum and take one or more of the excellent tours available, like “Golden to Gilded,” Rogues & Scoundrels,” and “Road to Independence.”

DINING TO DIE FOR

Newport has many, many exceptional places to dine, as well as restaurants and bars with water and rooftop views. Here are a few superior spots to try out during your visit. White Horse Tavern pairs a contemporary culinary experience in “America’s Oldest Tavern.” At 350-years old, it was around way before the Gilded Age, but it is a National Historic Landmark and the 10th oldest restaurant in the world, and definitely worth a visit.

Then there’s Cara Restaurant at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, where you can enjoy Forbes 4-star fine dining in a former Newport mansion, under a gold-leaf ceiling, just steps from the famous Cliff Walk. Cara offers a 5-course, blind tasting experience prepared by Executive Chef Jacob Jasinski as well as a personalized private dining experience.

Another Forbes 4-star dining experience in Newport is at The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn. Located in the historic Agassiz Mansion, The Dining Room boasts a prix fixe-style menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a wine list with more than 800 selections.

More: Fluke (fresh seafood, craft cocktails, harbor view), 22 Bowen’s (casual elegance, waterfront, and al fresco dining, private dining), Midtown Oyster Bar (raw bar, lively atmosphere, outdoor seating), and The Grill at Forty 1° North (casual elegance, timeless cocktails, upscale dining).

COCKTAIL HOUR(S)

Whether you’re looking for a scenic spot for an adult beverage or a little nightlife, Newport delivers. Visit Newport Vineyards for a tour, wine or craft beer flight, and snacks in nearby Middletown and you can pop into the Newport Car Museum while you’re in the neighborhood. Relax on The Roof Deck at The Vanderbilt and sip champagne as you watch the sunset over Newport Harbor. Enjoy cocktails, snacks, and upscale nightlife At The Deck at Waite’s Wharf.

More: Check out Newport Blues Café and One Pelham East for nighttime entertainment.

REST, RELAX, REJUVENATE

For luxury accommodations in Newport, consider The Chanler at Cliff Walk (in-room aromatherapy bath and spa services available), Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina (and onsite Seawater Spa), or Castle Hill Inn (and onsite spa The Retreat at Castle Hill).

EVENTS

Make a splash this summer at these spectacular Newport events!