10 Things to Do Within Five Miles of Hotel Viking
Don’t let back-to-school ads get you down. It’s still summertime and the living is easy at Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I. The center of the Newport community for 90 years, Hotel Viking presides over the city by the sea from its perch atop Historic Hill. Pop these destinations into your GPS and set out for summer fun at our “Top 10 in Five” places to explore within a five-mile radius of Hotel Viking.
Bowen’s Wharf (.5 miles) Original buildings along this 18th-century commercial wharf house an eclectic array of shops and eateries. Located on the waterfront at the foot of Historic Hill, the Pilot House at Bowen’s Wharf is command central for information about “sightsailing” and harbor tours. Annual events include the Newport Wooden Boat Show, the Newport International Boat Show, Columbus Day Sidewalk Sale and Seafood Festival.
Newport Boat Show (.5 miles) Set for Sept. 15–18, the 2016 Newport International Boat Festival marks the start of annual boat show season. One of the largest in-water boat shows nationwide, this year’s event kicks it up a notch with on-water courses, seminars and demonstrations.
Newport Harbor Walk (.8 miles) The lesser-known of Newport’s historic walks (Cliff Walk is the other), Harbor Walk traces Newport’s seafaring history with two self-guided tours: Harbor Walk North and Harbor Walk South. Harbor Walk North, stretching from Storer Park to Goat Island, is a three-mile stroll covering the original Colonial city center and waterfront. At 1.7 miles, Harbor Walk South encompasses Newport’s modern-day waterfront and its range of T-shirt emporiums, boutique shops, antique markets, seafood shacks and active commercial boatyard.
International Yacht Restoration School (.8 miles) The International Yacht Restoration School is one of the premier training grounds for students learning the time-honored craft of wooden boatbuilding. A self-guided tour, free and open to the public, showcases work in progress at Restoration Hall, the main teaching facility. Guests tour the facility via an elevated catwalk. A highlight: Visitors may also view ongoing restoration of the schooner yacht Coronet. Built in 1885, the 133-foot vessel enjoyed an illustrious career — winning a trans-Atlantic race, circumnavigating the globe and becoming one of the first U.S. registered yachts to round Cape Horn — before falling into disrepair. IYRS has been meticulously restoring the historic schooner since 1995.
Easton’s Beach (1.2 miles) Newport’s largest public ocean surf beach, Easton’s Beach has earned accolades as one of New England’s top 10 beaches. Located on Memorial Boulevard, amenities at the .75-mile stretch of sand include a 1950s carousel, Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium, a beach store offering daily rentals of beach chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards (during summer season), restrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, a playground, a skate park, a picnic and grill area and a snack bar. An elevator and beach wheelchairs are on-site for visitors who need assistance.
Newport Sailing (1.7 miles) Newport Sailing offers daily tours navigating the Newport coast to showcase the waterfront, jaw-dropping yachts, historic sites and seaside mansions. The real action, though, takes place at the sailing school. Offering basic, intermediate and advanced sailing courses, weekend and multi-day sessions incorporate hands-on dockside and on-water instruction. Courses start at $225 per person.
Movies on the Rocks (2 miles) Ballard Park’s quarry meadow becomes an alfresco movie theater on Wednesday evenings though August. The family-friendly movie nights are free to the public. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking. Bring seats and blankets. Movies begin at dusk (usually 8–8:15 p.m.). The access trail can be rugged, so plan accordingly and bring a flashlight for after-dark departures.
Newport Distillery (2.3 miles) The Newport Distillery tasting center is open Sunday–Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Friday–Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Tours and tastings are $10 per person (plus tax) and include sampling the distillery’s Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum (distilled based on research into Newport’s rum-faring heritage) from batches in three stages of the aging process. Guided tours are offered once daily at 3 p.m. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.
Fort Adams State Park (3.5 miles) Pack a picnic and explore on your own schedule or join a one-hour guided tour of the historic fort. Dating to 1824, today’s Fort Adams sits on the site of a U.S. Army post established in 1799 by Pres. John Adams. Guided tours incorporate top-to-bottom exploration including the vistas from top-of-the-fort walls to the twists and turns of underground tunnels. Fort Adams Bay Walk, a 2.5-mile loop around the perimeter of the fort, offers expansive views of Newport Harbor. (Hint: Sunsets here are spectacular.)
Newport Equestrian Academy (3.9 miles)
In addition to lessons and riding camps, Newport Equestrian Academy offers 1.5-and two-hour beach trail rides in both private and group configurations. Scheduled rides depart daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (Call in advance to confirm.) The 1.5-mile route traverses Newport’s Third Beach. The two-hour ride follows a trail along Second Beach. Minimum age is 7. No experience is necessary.
Then again, there’s something to be said about kicking back and savoring the moment — and Hotel Viking is command central for embracing the lazy, hazy days of summer. With a full-service spa, an indoor swimming pool, three dining venues, (including the Top of Newport rooftop bar and kitchen and The Patio at One Bellevue, not to mention in-room dining), Hotel Viking is a one-stop vacation destination.
Written by Lisa Matte.