Newport Names & Numbers
June 18, 2015
Charts: NOAA 13221, 13223, 13218
As you approach Newport via the East Passage and the open ocean, keep to port of Brenton Reef, the tip of which lies just below the surface (you’ll usually see water breaking or boiling over the high point when a swell is running). Otherwise, the approaches to Newport are deep and safe in virtually all weather, although heavy traffic and swift currents in this area demand constant attention. Newport Harbor itself is packed with moored vessels and boats of all sizes and types zipping about. Note that the harbor speed limit is 5 mph, and quiet hours are 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Many of the moorings in the harbor are available for transients, but you must first check with the harbormaster (401-845-5815, VHF 14 or 16). Vessels up to 40′ can tie up at the Newport Maritime Center (401-845-5870; VHF 9) at the Ann Street Pier and at Perotti Park (401-845-5817) in the north end of the harbor, for an hourly fee. Both places also offer free dinghy tie-up until 10:00 p.m. The Maritime Center is just off Thames Street and offers WiFi, showers, laundry, vending machines, ice, TV, lockers and a reading library, plus a friendly staff. It’s a wonderful resource for boaters!
- Bannister’s Wharf (401-846-4500): Dockage, diesel and gas.
- Goat Island Marina (401-841-8868, VHF 9): Slips for vessels up to 160′, as well as diesel and gas.
- New England Boatworks (401-683-4000): Located 5 miles north of Newport, NEB is a full-service yard offering deep-water slips for vessels up to 120′, fuel, ice, pool, showers, pump-out and picnic facilities. Repair and haul-out too.
- Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina (800-955-2558, VHF 9): Transient slips from May through October.
- Newport Shipyard (401-846-6000, VHF 9): Dockage and full repair services, including hauling of large vessels.
- Newport Yachting Center Marina (800-653-3625, VHF 9): Transient dockage for yachts to 160′, as well as diesel and gas.
- Oldport Marine Services (401-847-9109, VHF 68): Moorings, parts and diesel service via Sayer’s Wharf. Also runs launch service.
- Free public dinghy tie-up until 10:00 p.m. is available at Newport Maritime Center/Ann Street Pier (off Thames Street) and Perotti Park (at the north end of the harbor, near Goat Island Causeway).
- Pump-out available at the Newport Yachting Center or via the Long Wharf mobile pump-out boat.
The Newport anchorage is a small triangle at the southern end of the main harbor, north of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club. Yachts are requested to anchor in the northeast corner of Brenton Cove or north of the Goat Island causeway. Both areas have 15′ to 25′ of depth, but holding ground can be poor in some spots. Before dropping anchor, be sure to note the locations of various cable crossings. Do not anchor within designated mooring fields.
There is an excellent concrete ramp (3′ at MLW) with parking at Fort Adams State Park. The ramp offers immediate access to Brenton Cove and Newport Harbor, as well as the waters of Narragansett Bay to the north and the ocean waters to the south.
Kayaks and other small craft can be launched at the natural rock and cement ramp at Kings Beach on Ocean Drive. There are also small town-managed ramps at Elm and Poplar Streets north of downtown Newport, although parking may be limited.
(401) 845-5815; VHF 14 or 16
- Adventure Watersports (401) 849-4820: Small-boat, PWC and kayak rental in nearby Jamestown.
- Sail Newport (401) 846-1983: Sailboat rentals and lessons at Fort Adams State Park.
Stop & Shop (401) 848-7200: Top of Bellevue Avenue, a short walk from downtown.
- Yellow Line Trolley of Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (401-781-9400) shuttles between the waterfront visitors center and the mansions of Bellevue Avenue.
- Scooter World (401) 619-1349
- Yellow Cab (401) 846-1500
Newport offers all manner of restaurants and bars to suit any taste. Here is but a sampling:
- Belle’s Café (401) 846-6000: Great dock-and-dine option at Newport Shipyard. Serves a variety of tasty and creative breakfast and lunch items. Offers indoor and outdoor seating. Free dockage for restaurant patrons.
- Café Zelda (401) 849-4002: French-American bistro with casual fine dining that attracts locals and savvy tourists alike, especially the sailing crowd. On Thames Street, a short walk from Waite’s Wharf.
- Clarke Cooke House (401) 849-2900: Housed in an 18th-century building and featuring four dining room options. All offer fresh seafood, chowder, steaks and pasta. Nightclub Boom Boom Room is at the basement level.
- Mission (401) 619-5560: Sister restaurant to the award-winning and upscale Thames Street Kitchen, Mission offers burgers and hot dogs made from meats ground in-house, hand-cut fries and craft beers.
- Perro Salado (401) 619-4777: Seaside restaurant serving authentic and creative Mexican cuisine on Charles Street in a historic 18th-century Naval officer’s home. The restaurant stresses fresh, locally grown food. Open for dinner and brunch.
- Scales & Shells (401) 846-3474: Highly rated, award-winning seafood restaurant and raw bar on Thames Street.
- White Horse Tavern (401) 849-3600: This historic tavern has been in business since 1673. Serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch with a farm-to-table philosophy, including local seafood, beef and chicken dishes.
- Black Pearl (401) 846-526: A popular (and often crowded) watering hole and restaurant with both outdoor and indoor seating on Bannisters Wharf, right on the waterfront. Waterside bar and patio.
- Newport Mansions Preservation Society of Newport County (401) 847-1000: In-season tours of 9 mansions, including Marble House, the Breakers and the Elms.
- Seasonal boat tours of Newport Harbor can be enjoyed on the Sea Rocket (401) 662-6547, Sightsailer (401) 849-3333 and Rum Runner II (401) 847-0298.
- Tours and charter excursions are also available via America’s Cup Charters (401) 846-9886, which has a fleet of classic 12-Meter America’s Cup boats, including three Cup winners.
- Rose Island Lighthouse & Fort Hamilton (401) 847-4242. The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation opens Rose Island Light Station and Fort Hamilton for tours July through Labor Day. Built in 1869, the lighthouse is located on an 18-acre island in Narragansett Bay, minutes from Newport, and can be reached by small boat and kayak. After the Pell-Newport Bridge was built in 1969, the Light Station was abandoned. For the next 14 years it fell victim to scavengers, vandals and the weather. In 1984, volunteers of the nonprofit, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, restored the site to its 1912 appearance, installing environmentally friendly utilities for electricity, water, sewer and heat. In 1993, the beacon was relit. It is one of only a few operating lighthouses maintained by working vacationers who sign on for a week at a time as part of the organization’s environmental education program. The lighthouse is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The island’s dock is available for dinghy and kayak use only. Seal-watch tours are offered from November through April.
- Museum of Yachting: Located on the grounds of Fort Adams, the Museum of Yachting is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May through October 1. It is closed on Tuesday. It offers numerous yachting-related exhibits, and is also where you can see the 12-meter yachts Courageous and Freedom, reminders of Newport’s now-vanished hegemony in the America’s Cup. $5 general admission.
- Fort Adams State Park (401) 841-0707: Built in 1824, this magnificent fort on Castle Hill once guarded the ocean approach to Newport. It was the largest coastal fortification in the U.S. Daily tours of the fort are given in season.
- Hotel Viking (800) 556-7126
- Newport Harbor Hotel (800) 955-2558
- Francis Malbone House (800) 846-0392
- Cliffside Inn (800) 845-1811
There are also numerous bed-and-breakfasts to choose from in Newport; contact the Chamber of Commerce for a listing (see below).
Newport County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (800) 976-5122