This summer, we descended on Newport, aka preppy headquarters, with H’s family for a week. We had a great time—we took the train from DC to Newport, stayed in a condo that was walking distance to everything, and generally soaked up the New England coastal vibe. I could have stayed another week touring mansions and enjoying the ocean views! This vacation was also my opportunity to showcase my preppiest looks, which for me is really saying something.
Getting to Newport was involved, especially since we were traveling with a big group. We took the train to Providence, then we took an Uber to a car rental place, wrangled all seven of us and our luggage inside our gigantic rental car, and drove the rest of the way to Newport. Finally we pulled up in front of our home for the week, a condo that had enough bedrooms for all of us and a stunning view of downtown. Best of all, it was walking distance to Sayer’s Wharf! For the train trip, I kept my outfit simple with a white button-down, navy shorts, and Sperrys.
Monday night H and I had a date night dinner planned at The Mooring Restaurant. We walked on America’s Cup Avenue to the harbor, past the fudge places and t-shirt stores, and luckily when we got to the restaurant they had a table for us on their deck, where we could watch the sun set over the water! A crisp white dress with summery accessories is my go-to outfit for special dinners like this, so I wore a dotted swiss midi dress (the ruffles on this one are so fun) paired with a round rattan bag and brown leather sandals.
We got up bright and early on Tuesday for our trolley tour of Newport, including a stop at The Breakers, the Vanderbilt’s summer “cottage”. The tour zigzagged all over the city, from famous homes to historic neighborhoods we never would have seen otherwise, and then dropped us off at The Breakers to tour the house and grounds. I’ve visited a lot of mansions, like Hillwood in DC and Vizcaya in Miami, but The Breakers was in a league of its own. The house was massive, with so many beautiful architectural details (the columns! the painted ceilings! the fountains!) and an amazing view of the ocean. My favorite parts were the upstairs veranda looking over the ocean and the lavishly decorated bedrooms (also, I now aspire to have a fireplace in my bedroom). For the trolley tour and visiting the Breakers, I wore a blue and white striped seersucker dress and red canvas sneakers, accessorized with a brown crossbody bag and tortoiseshell sunglasses.
Back at the condo, we had lunch and then H and I walked over to Goat Island to see the picturesque lighthouse there. The views from the bridge were gorgeous, and we finally made our way around the island (we had to duck through a hotel lobby) to get to the lighthouse itself. It was so warm that I changed into something lighter for the walk, a lavender sleeveless blouse with navy chino shorts and Sperrys.
That evening, we all went to dinner at the White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in America, for H’s mom’s birthday! The restaurant had a delightfully historic ambience, and we had heard that it might be haunted, so we asked every waiter we saw if they had ever felt a supernatural presence until someone dug up a photo taken at the tavern with a ghostly blur in the background. For dinner, I wore a high-necked black minidress with neutral high-heeled sandals and my rattan bag.
We had three museums to visit on Wednesday, so we started our day at the Audrain Auto Museum, which featured luxury cars from the turn of the century—the best part was the exhibit about historic cars and fashion. Our next stop was one of the main attractions in Newport (at least for us), the International Tennis Hall of Fame! We oohed and aahed over the grass courts, then started our guided tour of the museum, which included the hall of fame, displays about tennis history, and interactive exhibits. I loved the Federer hologram and did my best John McEnroe impression recording commentary for a notable tennis match.
That afternoon, we visited the Naval War College Museum, which was on the base at the Newport navy station with a panoramic view of the harbor. The museum was less elaborate than the International Tennis Hall of Fame, but we learned some interesting stories, like that a German U-boat landed in Newport right before World War I as a show of force. For our museum day, I wore a lacy white camisole and white shorts with a sweater tied around my shoulders (I told you this trip was peak prep), oversized tortoiseshell sunglasses, Sperrys, and a leather tote. After our marathon sightseeing day, we stayed in Wednesday night and ordered pizza at the condo.
We walked a lot every day, but on Thursday we took it up a notch with the famous Newport cliff walk, which follows the shoreline for three miles and goes past a number of spectacular waterfront homes. We started at Easton’s Beach and made our way to Bailey’s Beach, enjoying the incredible views—the best were from the 40 steps down to the ocean! The beginning of the walk was paved, but by the end we were clambering over rocks, so we had to catch our breath at Bailey’s Beach before walking another fifteen minutes to Gooseberry Beach, where we were hanging out that afternoon. For the cliff walk, I wore my best sporty look: a white polo and tennis skirt with black sneakers, sunglasses, and a baseball cap.
At Gooseberry Beach we brandished the day passes we had bought online, changed into our swimsuits, and settled in for an afternoon of sunning and reading. The water was a little too cold to swim, but the weather was perfect for laying out on the beach. I had brought a white bikini, gingham cover-up, and a big floppy hat for our beach day.
We had booked a sailboat to take us around the harbor for sunset, but sadly a storm was coming through and the water was too rough to go out. We all split up for dinner—H and I went to 22 Bowens, where we sat on the terrace with a great view of the harbor. For dinner, I wore a blue-and-white striped maxidress with a white cable-knit sweater draped around my shoulders (originally in case it got chilly on the boat ride), brown leather sandals, and a brown crossbody bag.
The next morning it was a scramble to eat breakfast, pack up, drive to the train station, and take the train back to DC. This was the perfect summer trip—we got to experience a new city, spend quality time with H’s family, and even squeeze in a beach day. We will have to come back, though, to visit Rosecliff, which was closed when we went, and play on the grass courts at the Tennis Hall of Fame!
Have you been to Newport? Did you visit the Breakers or one of the other mansions? Let me know in the comments!