Hotel at a Glance: Mill Street Inn
In the early 1800s, J.D. Johnston—a builder who worked with renowned architects Frederick Law Olmsted and William Hunt—ran his mill out of a large woodworking shop on Mill Street in Newport, Rhode Island. When it burned down in 1890, he rebuilt with red brick and added a steam-powered boiler in the basement. The building was used for millwork until the 1980s, when it was converted into an all-suites hotel: the Mill Street Inn. Today, the inn retains some of the original features, including wooden beams and exposed brick.
- Historic design notes: Guests can see pictures of the inn's original steam-powered machinery in the breakfast room.
- Bird's-eye views: The rooftop deck overlooks downtown Newport and Newport Harbor.
- Complimentary dining: deluxe continental breakfast and afternoon tea
- In-suite luxuries: feather beds, rainfall showerheads, and Aveda bath products
- Eco-friendly: When the inn was remodeled in 2007, the owners added low-flow plumbing, energy-efficient lighting, and other green technologies.
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 understandably attracted 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.