Twelve hundred miles on a motorcycle through ninety-degree heat and roving thunderstorms offers challenges. I have assembled a best and worst list just perfect if you find your family heading to New England this summer. In no special order, but with the best first, here’s my list for you.
Best Town for a 3-Day Stay:
In the summer months, Debbie and I live in Newport, RI, and no town in New England offers all of what Newport does. You have a never-ending choice of great B&Bs and historic inns, such as the impeccable Hilltop Inn or Francis Malbone House, and the centrally located, Nobel House owned Hotel Viking. Directly across from the Viking on Bellevue Ave. is a run of four of the best shops in Newport: Newport Wine Cellar, The Petit Gourmet, La Maison de Coco, and Frank Antonio Hair & Make Up. A short walk on Bellevue heading south is the not-to-be-missed Isoude (beautifully crafted clothing) and Farmesthetics Skincare Apothecary.
Where do you eat? As in all tourist towns, there’s no end of tourist traps and just plain junkers. But I have a short list of beauties for you. Stick with my list, or you will probably end up sorry.
We love eating at Fluke’s great third-floor bar overlooking Newport’s harbor. The terrific staff, welcoming owners, whom we know well, and imaginative menu of small and large plates make Fluke a no-brainer first choice in its class.
A BYOB experience awaits you at Thames Street Kitchen, which may be or not why you want to eat there. We know the owners (twins who are spouses of the chefs) and visit them weekly when in town. The small but delightfully eclectic menu is always a surprise and a major homerun for us. You no doubt will find it as well. Avoid the nearby package store and instead buy your wine from the aforementioned knowledgeable Newport Wine Cellar or from Bellevue Wine.
If New England seafood, including a raw bar, is your choice, you want Scales & Shells on lower Thames. A warning: it’s cash only and parking can be a bear, as it can be in much of Newport. You will certainly get ticketed—or worse—if you get my drift.
For Italian, a lot of places trumpet their award-winning positions, but our favs are Pasta Beach on Memorial Blvd for takeout and Mamma Luisa on Thames for more formal Italian dinning. Finally, Tallulah on Thames offers locally sourced ingredients, lovely presentation, and another detail-oriented chef/spouse team. But be in no rush, as the Tallulah experience requires patience. Wine and beer only here.
Next post I will lead off with the best non-Newport destination. We would never miss a stay in this great little town. Don’t miss this post.