Why is Newport in the Fall amazing?

The Best Time To Visit Newport, Rhode Island Is The Fall.

Do not just take it from us, take it from Forbes Magazine!

Newport, Rhode Island has long been a summer playground of the rich and famous, from way back when “rich and famous” meant New York’s high society, and not celebrities snapping up waterfront homes, like Jay Leno recently did. But here’s a controversial opinion: summer isn't the best time to be in Newport. The crowds, and the city’s increasing popularity, make the season a challenge. On peak weekends, Newport's population goes from its normal 27,000 residents to upwards of 100,000. This is why any local will tell you that the fall - specifically from mid-September to mid-October - is actually the best time of year in Newport. Here’s how to spend a perfectly New England weekend off-season in The City By The Sea.

Eating & Drinking

Thames Street Kitchen was known throughout Rhode Island and beyond for its inventive menu and locavore sensibility - but outgrew its space and closed three years ago. The new iteration of TSK opened earlier this year, serving simple, stunning dishes like Grilled Lobster with miso butter and baby leeks. (Its sister restaurant, Winner Winner, serves Korean-meets-Southern fried chicken with a solid dose of humor.) 22 Bowen's Wharf, a gourmet steakhouse, and White Horse Tavern, in a reportedly haunted Colonial building where George Washington once stayed, both have cozy fireplaces for fireside dining on chilly nights.  

Seasonal Fun & Games

Shopping along the waterfront is fun in any season, especially on Bannister's Wharf, where Brahmin Handbags sells their distinctive, locally-inspired leather goods and Bowen's Wharf, home to the flagship Kiel James Patrick store. There, Kiel and his wife/partner Sarah Vickers are redefining New England prep. Nearby, Shore Soap Company makes small batch body products in nautically-inspired scents like Warm Sand and Mermaid Kisses.

The Bodhi Spa, the state's only hydrotherapy spa, is a nice alternative to a beach day when the weather isn't cooperating. The spa has a series of mineral baths, saunas and cold plunge pools designed to enervate and detoxify the body.

The Newport Mansions are always worth a visit, but in the fall host a lecture series from visiting scholars. The Breakers is the grandest of all of them, but the sometimes overlooked smaller "summer cottages" are also stunning, especially The Elms, with its classical gardens and outdoor sculptures, and Marble House with its Chinese Tea House by the ocean. The city is also home to several museums like The International Tennis Hall of Fame, The National Museum of American Illustration, and two car museums: The Newport Car Museum and the Audrain Automobile Museum. The Newport Art Museum hosts murder mystery events on Saturday evenings.

Speaking of mysteries: Ghost Tours of Newport leads visitors by lantern light through the streets after dark, and offers a glimpse of life beyond the veil, detailing legends of hauntings and unsolved mysteries in the City by the Sea. Because in the fall, it's really all about the spirits, whether in your glass, or in the air.

Jen Gill