If you think a visit to Newport, Rhode Island, is only about touring great mansions and meandering along the Cliff Walk, you may want to expand your bandwidth and check out Newport’s vibrant cultural scene. Much acclaimed for its appeal to high society and regal regattas, Newport also boasts an eclectic collection of galleries, studios, boutiques, artisan shops, and museums.
Art lovers will adore the diversity that pays homage to both local and national talent. See the works of local master printmaker Ilse Buchert Nesbitt at Third and Elm Press; take in scenes of Newport by street painter Rosemary Kavanagh at The Lady Who Paints gallery; or experience glassblowing at Thames Glass. There’s a plethora of galleries to explore including Spring Bull Gallery, which showcases a spectrum of regional artists.
Castle Hill Inn For more than 100 years, guests have flocked to the Castle Hill Inn. The historic Relais & Châteaux property offers the ease of a coastal inn and chic elegance. Accommodations include nine guest rooms and suites in the original mansion, and 24 private, waterfront accommodations in the Harbor House, the Chalet, beach houses, and beach cottages. Guests can partake in outdoor activities like stargazing, clambakes, bonfires, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and sailing; or climb one of the property’s grand chestnut trees to gaze at 40 acres of Castle Hill and get a glimpse of the place so enjoyed by Grace Kelly for its beach and fresh air. The beauty of a stay at Castle Hill Inn is that whether you spend your time outdoors or retreat to your room, you will experience a slice of Newport nirvana. 590 Ocean Ave., 401-849-3800, castlehillinn.com
Make time to experience one of Castle Hill Inn’s four dining options, and savor dishes by executive chef Karsten Hart. 590 Ocean Ave., 401-849-3800, castlehillinn. com.
Grilled archer angus beef tenderloin, bordelaise, chanterelle mushrooms, thumbelina carrots, fava beans
Sources say Salvation Cafe’s mantra is “Keeping Newport Weird since 1993.” The eclectic menu and bright vibe illuminate why it has remained one of Newport’s favorites for over a decade. 140 Broadway, 401-847-2620, salvationcafe.com.
Tallulah on Thames features locally sourced delights for those looking for fine dining in the form of artful food. 464 Thames St., 401-849-2433, tallulahonthames.com.
The oldest lending library in America, The Redwood Library & Athenaeum features classic Georgian architecture and proves a splendid spot to thumb through history. 50 Bellevue Ave., 401-847-0292, redwoodlibrary.org.
Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Newport Art Museum’s robust collection of more than 2,300 works of American art celebrating Newport’s and greater Rhode Island’s cultural heritage and contemporary arts scene; the museum’s John N.A. Griswold House turns 150 in 2014. 76 Bellevue Ave., 401-848- 8200, newportartmuseum.org.
Also, be sure to check out the newly hatched home of Egg & Dart, a unique gallery owned by artist Chris Wyllie and designer Kristen Coates. 57 America’s Cup Ave., 401-241-9887, egganddart.bigcartel.com