Wonderful Newport

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September 5th 2013
Published: September 15th 2013
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We love Newport and are treating ourselves to the luxury of a couple of nights at the little family-run West Wind Marina in the heart of town. Actually, you could describe every marina (except the one on Goat Island) as being in the heart of Newport. The marinas are strung along the entire several-mile length of the main waterfront.

The people who run this marina are both competent and friendly. The showers are good. The WiFi is good. And best of all, we can stroll ashore and are immediately in the middle of Thames Street, with all of Newport to choose from. Several big boats are docked on the outer face of the marina, but there are very few little boats (like Pavane) on the inner docks. It is amazing how promptly this part of New England changes gear once Labor Day has passed.

We walk North towards the busiest part of town and find a brand new restaurant appropriately named “Midtown Oyster Bar” at 345 Thames Street. The interior is beautifully laid out, service is friendly and the food is good. We especially enjoy a plate of assorted smoked fish with pickled cucumber served on a mild horseradish sauce.

For over thirty years, the Armchair Sailor sold nautical books and charts just round the corner from the marina. It was a wonderful place to visit and yes, we did usually find something worth purchasing on our infrequent visits. So we are sad to find that it has closed. Perhaps another casualty of Amazon and West Marine.

We plan to anchor for a night when we leave here, so we climb the hill to the Stop & Shop supermarket on Bellevue Avenue for provisions. We are pleased to find that Katrina’s Bakery, in the Stop & Shop plaza, is still there. It is too late for us to have coffee and breakfast there but we pick up a fresh loaf, still hot from the oven. Newport is a great walking town with an amazing number of authentic old back-streets with clapboard and shingled houses.

You can rent a wide variety of “means of transport” in this town, whether you plan to travel by land or by sea. One of the most amusing forms of transport is little “semi-enclosed motor-tricycles” that are available at several locations. They come complete with crash helmets and a waving penant, so that you can find it again if you inadvertantly park it behind, say, a Mini ... :-)

We are pleased to see that a lot of good-looking renovation is underway up and down Thames Street and in the little side streets between Thames Street and the water. The town appears to be thriving. Several new restaurants have replaced places we have eaten on previous visits. There must be a hundred restaurants from one end of the waterfront to the other so we guess there is lots of competition. There are also lots of customers. In mid-Summer this town is frequently wall-to-wall visitors. Today, it is just pleasantly busy.

We like Newport so much that we sometimes visit here in mid-Winter ... not by boat, though ... :-)

On Friday, we walk to Bowen’s Wharf, near the far end of town. This is where most of the harbor cruise boats dock and it it predictably busy. We have lunch at “22 Bowens” an upscale restaurant that is deservedly very popular and crowded in the evenings. But on this sunny early afternoon, most people are choosing to dine at the many outdoor tables on Bowen’s Wharf. We head for the inside bar and create an excellent meal from a selection of appetizers and “small plates”.

This is where we have been for the “next” few days ...
Saturday, Sep 7 - At Anchor in Potter Cove
Sunday, Sep 8 - Bristol
Monday, Sep 9 - Back in East Greenwich, Pavane’s Home Port

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