Hotel at a Glance: Bannister's Wharf Guestrooms
Bannister's Wharf has been central to life in Newport since its construction in the mid-16th century, when citizens came to hear news from the incoming boats and buy food, cloth, and other necessities. In 1813, crowds gathered on the docks to welcome back commodore Oliver Hazard Perry after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie. You can get nice views of boats in the wharf from the Bannister's Wharf Guestrooms, which are located right along Newport Harbor.
- A room with a view: Two-double rooms open onto a shared deck with views of the harbor; two-bedroom suites lack water views but have plenty of space, with living rooms and kitchenettes.
- Go shopping at a handful of specialty shops and art galleries lining the wharf.
- Eat here: the Clarke Cooke House, which serves up New England-style seafood in an 18th century home
- Easy day trip: Boston is just a 1.5-hour drive north of Bannister's Wharf Guestrooms.
Newport, Rhode Island: Harbor Town with World-Famous Mansions
Newport sits on Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Island, just 30 miles south of Providence and 70 miles south of Boston. With its picturesque cliffs running along the rocky coast, Newport became popular with America’s upper class at the turn of the 20th century. The prestigious Astor and Vanderbilt families joined other captains of industry in building their summer “cottages” here—sprawling estates that epitomized the Gilded Age’s glitz and glamour. You can sign up for mansion tours at the historic The Elms, Marble House, and The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance–style palazzo commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893 and inspired by the palaces of Genoa and Turin.
Year-round, the Cliff Walk is one of the most popular activities in town. From sunrise to sunset you’ll find visitors strolling the 3.5-mile path, ensconced between the beautiful Newport shoreline and the spectacular mansions. If the conditions are ripe, you might see surfers catching waves on the ocean breakers.
The city slows its pace in winter; find time to shop on Thames and Spring Streets or visit the city’s many museums. The town is home to the National Museum of American Illustration, which features works by Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell, as well as the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
The ocean is easily accessible from Newport’s western, eastern, and southern coastlines. It’s often referred to as “the Sailing Capital of the World,” and in the summertime, fishing boats fill its harbors and beachgoers flock to its shores. Easton’s Beach (or 1st Beach if you’re a local), the largest public beach, sits cater-cornered to the Cliff Walk’s stunning homes. Back on land, the city hosts a variety of festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Kite Festival, held in the ocean-facing Brenton Point State Park.