Cliff Walk - A must-do - beautiful cliffside walk!
Newport Mansions - What made Newport famous - these "summer cottages" that are in fact enormous, beautiful mansions. The Breakers is the most well-known, but I also love The Elms, Marble House, & Rosecliff.
Ocean Drive - Best experienced with a convertible!
International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum - Visit the museum & eat at La Forge. On a nice day, you can sit outside at a table adjacent to the grass tennis court.
Bowen's Wharf - Shops & restaurants on the waterfront. Touristy but fun.
Castle Hill Inn - My favorite place in Newport for a sunset drink is this stunning hotel - their summer lawn is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Brick Alley Pub - I have been here about 1,000 times. It's right in the heart of Newport and the pub food and atmosphere is great.
Clark Cooke House - Date night spot - I like it better in the fall & winter - it's super cozy.
The Mooring - A favorite place for lunch or dinner - great seafood.
Franklin Spa - Another place I've been 1,000 times. It's a classic diner that smells like home fries and coffee - I love the sign outside the store with the old-school Coca-Cola logo. Go for an early breakfast!
Cold Fusion Gelato - Post-dinner stop.
Salvation Cafe - Colorful, delicious local spot for brunch.
Raw Power Juice Bar - If you need a green juice, a zucchini spaghetti bowl, or a big salad.
Frosty Freez - The watermelon sherbet takes me back to the ten years I lived in Rhode Island as a kid. Total Americana, open since 1956!
Anthony's Seafood - THE. BEST. LOBSTER. ROLL!!! It's about ten minutes from Newport. Get it with fresh corn on the cob instead of fries.
Island Books - Cute local, independently owned bookstore. Can't ever get enough of those!
Steve's Pizza - If you happen to find yourself in Portsmouth, Steve's Pizza (conveniently located next to a Rite-Aid) is pretty damn good.
Green Animals Topiary Garden - "Topiary" is a tree or shrub that has been clipped into various shapes - here, it is mostly animal shapes. A magical place that is part of the Newport Mansions/Preservation Society. 20-25 minute drive from Newport.
Providence is one of the coolest small cities in America - so much has changed over the past decade - there is sense-of-place New England architecture, great pubs, and walks. Much of it feels like a mini Boston without the traffic. On one side of the river is Brown University and College Hill. Brown has the best small-town campus feel with red brick buildings and small tree-lined quads. Thayer Street is the main shopping street next to Brown's campus. Definitely worth a stroll if you're near campus, and you can pop into the Brown bookstore.
You should either walk the mile length of Benefit Street near Brown yourself, or take a guided walk. It has one of America's highest concentrations of colonial architecture, with gorgeous 18th & 19th-century homes.
On the other side of the river is downtown Providence, with a revitalized waterfront, Providence Place Mall, the commanding marble State House, the convention center, and Providence College.
The one must-eat restaurant is Al Forno - a restaurant that put Rhode Island on the food map over 30 years ago. They created the grilled pizza and it's SO DELICIOUS. Be prepared to wait!
WATCH HILL - THE OCEAN HOUSE
The Ocean House, first opened in 1868, is one of the most gorgeous resorts in New England, with manicured croquet lawns, expansive decks with Atlantic views, and great dining. Since Rhode Island is so small, it's easy to get here and stop for a drink, lunch, or to stay over. If you want turn-of-the-century seaside glamour, this breezy, beautiful Victorian property is perfect.