It took me a few tries to find Forty 1° North. I drove back and forth across Thames Street—one of Newport’s main thoroughfares which runs parallel to the water—and just couldn’t see it. Turns out I wasn’t looking past the street-side businesses and down to the harbor. The Cape Cod-style property, sitting right on the shore where it belonged, couldn’t be any closer to the Newport Harbor without being a houseboat.
Perhaps it would’ve been easier for me to arrive by yacht—and, yes, there are marina services here. But all guests, seafarers and landlubbers alike, certainly get to take advantage of the waterfront location, either by sitting out on the balcony of one of the Harbor View Suites—we sat outside until the chill was too much, then ran inside to warm up by our in-room gas fireplace—or having drinks and dinner dockside at the The Grill’s outdoor dining area.
The property caters to a chic crowd of guests and non-guests alike: The whole first floor is taken up by the ultra-contemporary Oval Bar and The Grill, and the spaces are so free-flowing that there isn’t a clear divider between them or even an imposing front desk—you check into your room via a staffer with a laptop. Simply walk through the doors, and you’re immediately part of the scene.
Upstairs, though, is all yours, and once you’re back in your room, you’re free to revel in the solitude of one of the deepest soaking tubs I’ve ever seen. Guests are also given use of an in-room iPad and iPod, pre-loaded with everything from soothing music to room-service menus. Just make sure you’re you don’t get so enveloped in the screens that you forget to appreciate that view of the water.
Dine: The Grill definitely is a more happening spot, but we had great fun at Forty 1° North’s more casual Christie’s (41north.com), situated in an adjacent building, which had bold, ’70s-inspired décor with Neptune chairs and wicker swing seats hung from the ceiling. If you’re looking for classic Newport, though, there’s the seafood at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar (mooringrestaurant.com). A short walk down Thames Street should satisfy any other craving you might have, with Italian, Thai, and French restaurants as well as an assortment of bars and pubs.
Explore: The kitschy shops of downtown Newport await, lined up along America’s Cup Avenue and the piers that jut off of it. Or, go one step farther and get out on the water with a harbor cruise from Classic Cruises of Newport (cruisenewport.com). Choose a ride on either the Madeleine, a 72-foot schooner sailing yacht, or the Rum Runner II, a Prohibition-era motor yacht that was once used for smuggling hooch.
Insider tip: Local restaurants and fishermen’s associations offer a sampling of their celebrated chowders, clam cakes, and lobster dinners—for free—during the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival (bowenswharf.com) on October 19 and 20.
351 Thames St, Newport, RI
(401) 846-8018; 41north.com
Distance from White Plains: 2.5 hours
Details: Room rates start at $299. Beginning at the end of September, the hotel will offer its Escape package: 15 percent off of any two-night minimum stay (certain blackout dates apply), with breakfast for two and parking included.
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