Girl's Weekend Getaway in Newport, Rhode Island
1In season, the pier at touristy Bannister's Wharf hops with visitors poking into shops, taverns, and bakeries. It's the perfect place to start your visit with the girls, tchotchke browsing and people watching.
2Experience the yachting fantasy with a sunset cruise aboard the schooner Madeleine. The trip comes with a Champagne toast and about the best view of the harbor that you can get without being a Vanderbilt.
3Your crew will adore the chic, modern Tallulah on Thames, serving outstanding fresh food. The chef can tell you the source of the ingredients right down to the boat that caught the fish. The menu changes daily but we'd recommend any of the risotto dishes.
1Fuel up for the day at Mokka to try some of its fabulous pastries, and get your hands on that all-important cup of Joe. Head a little further down to the transportation and visitors' center where you can grab maps and pick up the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) Yellow Line to Bellevue Avenue. A car is optional today; for a nominal charge, the trolley (and foot power) will get you everywhere you need to go.
2Explore Newport's grand estates — The Breakers, The Marble House, and Rough Point (the Doris Duke residence), among others. All are within a few steps of each other. Buy a ticket for the formal tours (each takes about an hour and change) or, in the case of Rosecliff amble the glorious grounds gratis.
3To experience the American version of Downton Abbey, visit The Elms' Servant Life Tour. The decidedly "downstairs" tour peeks into places like the basement kitchen, where you'll cross paths with butlers, cooks, and other servants. Make reservations in advance; hold on to your tour ticket stub to access your next stop.
4In season, lunchtime is perfectly lovely when enjoyed at the Elms Carriage House. The food is somewhat standard fare — sandwiches, salads, etc. — but the unique ambiance can't be beat.
5After spending the morning inside, step out for a wander on the Cliff Walk. Running seven miles between ocean and mansions, the lovely walk is a must do, though treacherous in spots. The short paved path between Ruggles and Narraganset is particularly easy to walk, and without the steep drop-offs.
6Fish is the only thing on the menu at Scales & Shells, but you won't be disappointed. It's a small menu of littlenecks, naked fish, and piccatas and marsalas, but it's an experience your taste buds won't forget. Just bring cash as no credit cards are accepted.
7Climb up to the third floor at Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen and be rewarded with one of its signature cocktails (try the two-tequila fire dancer) and a magnificent, panoramic view of the wharf and harbor.
1Champagne, eggs Benedict, a stellar view . . . brunch on the lawn at the lovely Castle Hill Inn has got it all. Dine inside, and enjoy live jazz music while you eat. Pricey? Yup. But, you'll be so spoiled, you won't regret a minute. Make sure to travel here via a tour of scenic Ocean Drive. And, inquire ahead about proper dress.
2Drink in the ambience at Greenvale Vineyards, one of several wineries on the Coastal Wine Trail. Tastings are available but remember—you have to drive home . . . eventually.
3Whimsical animals on the Green Animals Topiary Garden are a marvel with more than 80 creatures on site. Anyone who has ever tried a hand at gardening will be unable to leave unimpressed.