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Beyond yachts and mansions: a to-do list for Newport, RI

By Kristy

If you’re stuck in preppy, affluent Newport, RI for say, a conference or a visit with an old friend, you may feel like your only option is to embrace the preppy affluence and just tour mansions in your khakis, and then board a yacht for some chardonnay at sunset.  There are a few things to do that are slightly more interesting than this in Newport, but all-in-all, the best way to see Newport is drink in hand, embracing the ridiculous boat-shoe-wearing, 8-hr-workweek life you’ll never live yourself.

1. Start the first day with lunch at the clam shack Flo’s, near Easton beach, then walk to the start of the Cliff Walk at the other end of the beach, following the full 3+ miles of coastline and mansions, past the 40 steps and Salve Regina (which has to be the most gorgeous college campus in the world). If beachside cocktails are more your style, head to the Atlantic Beach Club’s beach bar across from Flo’s. If you’re lucky, a beach volleyball game will be in process.
2. Drive Bellevue and Ocean Drive (pit stops at the Breakers or Rosecliff for tours), then, to imagine the lifestyle you’ve just glimpsed, head to Castle Hill Resort for cocktails on white adirondac chairs outdoors on a plush green lawn that slopes to the boat-filled ocean. Now its time to tick off Mansions from the mandatory Newport to-do list…
6. Browse all the Island named establishments: Island Books is great, as is Island Cinema…then head to the Wharves (Bowens, etc) for some nautical shopping or to pick up some fresh fish at the market on the dock (another great spot for a boat-side cocktail – keep ’em coming).
8. If you head back to Newport for something like the folk festival at Fort Adams (I highly recommend this, albeit a dry event…you can still float nearby in your boat), then be sure to avoid the accidental $8 crossing of the Pell bridge…google maps will trick you every time.
7. In the historic district you’ll find independent coffee shops, Schmear bagels, an art house cinema, many well maintained historic houses, and the oldest pub in the USA, The White Horse Tavern.  By far the most interesting part of Newport.
3. Dinner is a must at Talulah on Thames, or the newest farm-to-table spot TSK (Thames Street Kitchen), both of which serve fresh, seasonal, inventive and endlessly tasty cuisine. TSK is BYO, which can be a plus with all the nice wine stores in town.
4. For a more casual dinner, head to the hip block of Thames St to Firehouse, followed by cocktails and dessert at next door Asterisk (which bottles it’s own flavored vodkas). Then head down the road to ultra-mod cocktail house Christie’s, where you can imbibe outdoors or in a swing-chair.  Cold-fusion gelato is nearby, too, if you need it.
5. What NOT to do?  I was very excited that Newport had its own rhumerie (Tew), but when we arrived 10min before closing we were turned away rum-less.  Later, barkeeps told us the rum wasn’t worth a taste anyway.  So there.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Kristy, Travel

 

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Portland, Maine – do it like the locals do it

by Kristy & Friends

Kristen just moved back to the Northeast, so I compiled a list of my favorite things in Portland hoping to inspire her… and asked a few friends to do the same.


Zack’s Portland Awards:

Best dog-friendly beach: East End Beach
Best dive bar with late night food: Ruski’s (West End)
Best bar (and best beer selection in New England): Novare Res (Old Port)
Homegrown Tea Shop on (Munjoy Hill)  — guaranteed coziness
Best coffee shop — Hilltop Coffee (Munjoy Hill)
Best soup: Kamasouptra (Monument Square, upstairs in the public market)
Best place to encounter crazy people: Around Joe’s Smoke Shop (congress st.)
Best place to hang out for hours without buying much: Upstairs at the Public Market.
Best grilled peanut butter and fluff sandwich: Upstairs at the Public Market
Best place for fried pickles and/or milkshakes (and many other great things): Silly’s (Washington Ave/munjoy)
Best place to watch the sunset — Eastern Prom.
Mondays (Bluegrass night) at the Empire (Congress St.)
Thursdays (Bluegrass night) at Gritty McDuffs (Old Port)
Most intimate music venue (folk/blues): Blue
Best music venue for a fairly big act: State Theater
Everything at the Space Gallery is awesome! — concerts, lectures, films….
Free admission to art museum every Friday night.
Best bowling (I hear): Bayside Bowl
Best local alternative publication: The Bollard.com
Best place to be if Portland is once again burned down by the British navy: Fort Gorges.
Best breakfast: Front Room (Munjoy Hill)
Best hair salon: Options Hair Studio (Old Port)

Kristy’s Portland Favorites:

Food & Drink:
-Otto (pizza)
-Duck Fat
-Sushi: Miyake, Fuji
-Silly’s
-Flatbread Pizza
-brunch at Bintliff’s
-Best Bagels: Mr Bagel
-Local Sprouts
-Coffee: coffee by design, Bard coffee
-dive bars: Rosie’s, Bubba’s silky lounge, J’s Oyster, Amigos
-Pubs: Gritty’s, Brian Boru’s (live music often), Bull Feeney’s, RiRa, Sebago Brewing
– bars with better drinks: Empire, Novare Res, Local 188, Sonny’s

-nice restaurants: 555, The Front Room (and other ‘Rooms’), Street & Co, Fore Street, Bresca, Evangeline, Hugos, Bar Lola (lots of good ones on Munjoy Hill…and lots of great spots popping up all around Portland, all the time!)
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Kristy, Maine, Travel

 

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