Discover Newport invites both visitors and locals to revel in the anticipated fall season with exciting new hotel openings like the opening of the Gardiner House hotel in Newport, the unveiling of the Save The Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium and the return of seasonal favorites like the Bowen’s wharf Seafood Festival, pick-your-own orchards, Ghost Tours and more.
“From the rich luxury of the Gilded Age mansions to the beauty of our coastal landscapes, Newport has always been a treasure of remarkable attractions,” said Evan Smith, President & CEO of Discover Newport. “Summer is historically our busiest time of year and for good reason. However, there is a secret to visiting during our shoulder seasons as our incredible hotel collections offer cozy escapes at great value and Newport’s nine coastal communities are abuzz with festive happenings. From waterfront views of crisp fall foliage to dockside seafood festivals, fall on the Classic Coast is a must-stop on any Northeast autumn itinerary. ”
Dive into news from the destination below and visit DiscoverNewport.org for the most up-to-date destination updates.
Gardiner House, a new waterfront boutique hotel in Newport, opens its doors after 5 years in the making. Led by co-owners and local Newporters, Howard Cushing and Wirt Blaffer, the hotel feels and flows like a seaside house full of playful design that transports its guests to an enchanted world of art, whimsy, culinary delights and breathtaking views of Newport Harbor. The much-anticipated Gardiner House provides a distinctly Newport vantage point of the beloved spaces, experiences and colorful characters intimate to generational locals – persevering this corner of Newport with a building that is in keeping with the city's roots that incorporates the feeling of old and new. The hotel embraces the fabric of Newport’s artful history, drawing much of its design story from the town’s creative roots. The hotel's colorful public spaces are complemented by Gardiner House’s 21 unique guest rooms and suites. The heartbeat of the hotel is found in the Studio Bar, a warm, inviting and timelessly chic space for all of Newport to start or end a night out. The hotel also boasts beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces with unmatched harbor views including The Sun Porch and the 2,400 sq. ft. Gardiner Ballroom. Gardiner House will also open an indoor/outdoor restaurant and terrace, coming in spring 2024.
Newly opened in Middletown, in the heart of Aquidneck Island, The Pell invites visitors to explore brand-new stylish rooms, a vibrant atmosphere, and sophisticated design that truly reflects the coastal neighborhood. Guests will feel at home staying in one of the 127 spacious and stylish guest rooms, indulging at the Helmway restaurant and relaxing in the cozy library or ambient firepits. Separated from the crowds but located just minutes from downtown Newport, the hotel provides easy access to beaches, historic landmarks, walking trails, and wineries.
The Wayfinder Newport welcomes back visitors to relax in the newly rebuilt accommodations following the devastating fires that damaged the property in 2022. The hotel is partially re-opening this summer with the remainder of the property opening later in the fall. The property features 187 rooms, including 30 spacious suites, a lobby coffee bar, and a seasonal outdoor pool with cocktail service and weekly programming. With a fresh approach to coastal design, the spacious rooms offer high-speed Wi-Fi, luxury linens, Matouk terry & bed throws, seating areas, and more, keeping its coastal Newport charm that visitors yearn for.
Start and finish each trip to Newport with luxury transportation. Tradewind Aviation relaunched its Newport scheduled service on June 22, offering discerning travelers direct access to the Newport State Airport from the New York metropolitan area. The organization offers private and personal air travel for weekenders, vacation homeowners, or anyone intrigued by the Newport’s opulent history to fly to the “Sailing Capital of the World” in style.
Chef Kevin O’Donnell opened his second restaurant in Newport this summer and the new addition to Newport’s culinary scene is all the rage. Mother Pizzeria offers a quick counter-style to-go reminiscent of a Roman cafe as well as a full dining room and bar with the same quality, service and hospitality for which his first restaurant, Giusto, became widely acclaimed including recognition as Rhode Island Monthly’s Best New Italian Restaurant. Though the menu boasts incredible starters including Octopus Salad and Cacio e Pepe Garlic Knots, the anchor of the menu is, of course, the pizza. Made with local stone ground flour and naturally fermented dough, to which the name of the restaurant can be credited, the 12-inch pies come with a variety of toppings with something for everyone.
Newport's only lobster and taco food truck now has a full time home on Thames Street! La Costa On Thames offers Latin cuisine with a classic coastal twist. The famed food truck’s fans can expect the same delicious menu loaded with tacos, burritos, quesadillas, soups and salads, seafood rolls, appetizers, along with a daily rotating raw bar.
Chomp, an inventive and award-winning burger restaurant, has officially moved into their forever home in Warren. The newly renovated space offers a charming waterfront patio and spacious beer garden, in addition to a large dining room and welcoming bar—and of course really good burgers. Guests can enjoy unique menu items including Sweet Corn and Crab Fritters, their new Avocado Lobster BLT and flavor bomb burgers like their Summer Shorts Rib SmashBurger. With Newport’s Burger Bender right around the corner in February, this is the perfect place to start.
The last café on the southern end of Lower Thames Street, Beaucoup Café is a great addition to the Wellington Square shops, fitting the quaint, coastal vibe of Newport. The perfect stop on the way to or from Ocean Drive or the Fifth Ward neighborhood, visitors can stop by to indulge in locally sourced coffee and fresh pastries made daily in a cute, beach house-like environment decorated with a curated selection of home décor.
Wharf Fishhouse, centrally located on Bowen’s Wharf, elevates the seafood experience that Newport visitors are searching for. Diners can indulge in Polynesian-inspired bites, New England classics, and inventive drinks at the tiki bar. From the owners of Diegos, Wharf Southern Kitchen and Rejects Beer Co., Wharf Fishhouse has completely transformed the former Fluke restaurant into a laid-back spot, from the wallpapers and murals, to the menu and bar selection—and everything in between. Menu highlights include Lobster Sliders, Polynesian Pork Ribs and Chowder Fries, combining the destination’s coastal elements with their Polynesian flare.
The Save The Bay's Exploration Center & Aquarium opens in early 2024 in a new location in downtown Newport. The state-of-the-art aquarium boasts a space five times as large as its previous venue at 6,500 sq. feet, which invites enriched programming. The center will provide environmental educational opportunities with new and engaging bay-related exhibits and experiences for all ages to support their mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay. The interactive marine science center offers a close look at the local marine life with more than 40 species present from the waters of Narragansett Bay, including rare lobsters, crabs, octopus, seahorses, sea robins, terrapins and more.
One of the most extensive and complex projects in the history of the Preservation Society of Newport County was unveiled this September. The famed Rosecliff Mansion will reopen to visitors for the first time since January 2 with the completion of a $7.4 million renovation including a new 3,200 sq. foot ballroom floor composed of 305 white oak 3-foot-by-3-foot panels. This restoration replicated the original floor, front doors, and even included repointing of the exterior terracotta tiles. The completion of the renovation makes Rosecliff the ideal sparkling setting for the exhibition, The Celestial City: Newport and China which opened on September 1 and the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival at the end of the month on September 22.
The Newport Car Museum now offers Bespoke Luxury Tours for groups up to 10 people where they can choose between two private experiences. The Green Flag Tour offers an up-close and personal tour of the Museum with lead docent Vincent Moretti takes before the museum opens to the public at 10 a.m. The Checkered Flag Tour is led by Gunther Buerman, owner of the Newport Car Museum’s Private Collection, after closing to the public at 5 p.m. The Newport Car Museum boasts a private collection of over 95 cars displayed in six galleries including a pop-up Porsche Exhibit, and tells the story of Ford/Shelby, Corvettes, World Cars, Fin Cars, Mopars and American Muscle Cars.
Newport Pride, an LGBTQ+owned organization dedicated to making Newport LGBTQ+ residents, as well as visitors, feel completely safe, welcomed, and included in the destination, has opened their all-new Newport Pride Center. The Pride Center is delighted to be the home where LGBTQ+ people of all ages—from the youth in schools to seniors—feel empowered and supported to be fully themselves and have greater opportunities for connection and support. From dynamic workshops and engaging panel discussions to vibrant cultural events and artistic showcases, the Newport Pride Center will be the epicenter of transformative experiences in the community, aspiring to uplift, educate, and empower individuals from all walks of life.
Setjetting in Newport
In addition to the news on the ground in Newport, the fall invites the highly anticipated return of HBO’s The Gilded Age season two premiering on October 29. From the creators of Downton Abbey, The Gilded Age follows the story of “old” and “new money” in New York's and Newport’s high society, set in 1882. This Julian Fellowes masterpiece was filmed at and features many Newport Mansion properties including The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, and International Tennis Hall of Fame, as the show continues to follow along with America’s elite. Looking for more of Newport on the big screen this fall? Scenes of Newport’s Washington Square can be seen in the sequel of Halloween classic Hocus Pocus!
Annual Fall Events
Annual Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival (Sept. 22-24): Hosted at the newly renovated Rosecliff Mansion, the renowned festival includes wine-paired dinners, seminars and a special Sunday brunch on the mansion lawn.
Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1)
Newport’s extensive automotive history dates back as early as the Gilded Age. The first American car race, the Vanderbilt Cup, and even the first speeding ticket all took place in this historic area. Given it’s rich motoring history, Newport hosts the Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week with events all week including car auctions, wine tasting and seminars including opportunities to hear from Jay Leno, Newport local and renowned car fanatic, alongside Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec as well as John Roth, Vice President Global Cadillac.
Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival (Oct. 14-15): No visit to The Classic Coast is complete without seafood and this weekend-long event offers the destination’s best including fresh fish tacos, lobster rolls, stuffies, chowder, oysters, signature cocktails and cold local beer right on the Newport harbor.
Newport Restaurant Week (Nov. 3-12): The bi-annual weeklong celebration of Newport’s eateries is back this fall with BOGO deals, price-fix meals and drool-worthy discounts.
Rail Explorers: In addition to the classic Northern and Southern Circuit rides along Aquidneck Island, September kicks off the seasonal Sunset Ride, Fireside Tours, Evening Lantern Rides and one-night-only Fireside Costume Ride on October 27. The sunset, twilight, and lantern-lit tours range include two hours of foliage filled views. Riders are encouraged to bring refreshments and marshmallows for picnic and campfire stops along the way..
Newport Ghost Tours: The deep history on “The Classic Coast” is impossible to ignore and Newport Ghost Tours takes curious souls on a journey to explore the stories behind iconic locations such as The White Horse Tavern which celebrates its 350th anniversary this year, Newport’s oldest prison the Jailhouse Inn, Washington Square and more.
U-Pick Farms: Quintessential fall experiences such as apple picking, hayrides and, of course, warming up with a hot cider or cocoa are sprinkled throughout Newport’s nine coastal communities. Sweet Berry Farm, a 100-acre farm in Middletown, has pick-your-own fields that rotate seasonally where guests can harvest their bounty and then visit the onsite market for local cheeses, artisan sandwiches and more to round out a perfect picnic. The family-owned Rocky Brook Orchard is Aquidneck Island's original pick-your-own apple orchard, with more than 80 varieties of apples right in Little Compton. Patchet Brook Tree Farm is a 90-acre family-run farm in Tiverton offers pumpkin hunts and Halloween hayrides beginning in October, in addition to the pumpkins and gourds for picking.