Where to stay, a year round calendar of events, sailing regattas, saltwater fishing, golf and more for 2011

The Ocean State with its vast colonial history and indigenous natural beauty has a plethora of things to do for all appetites and interests, and the "City by the Sea" is the heart of Rhode Island's treasure for vacation opportunities. From fishing charters, jazz, folk, and antique festivals, sailing, beaches, and its historical Newport mansions, at the end of the day, there is something for everyone where you can enjoy world-class dining in its many "Best of RI" restaurants, a vacation destination to remember, Newport, RI, on New England's former "gold coast."

Newport Jazz FestivalCredit: NewportJazzFest.netThe Newport Jazz and Folk festivals top the list for music lovers visiting the "City by the Sea" every summer. This season is no exception with Winton Marsalis headlining the list of jazz artists again this year beginning on August 5 at the famous International Tennis Hall of Fame's outdoor arena, along with Michael Feinstein and special guest Joe Negri. The festival weekend continues through Sunday at Fort Adams State Park.

For Newport Jazz fest tickets and line-up schedules visit Newport Jazz Fest.net. The Newport Folk Festival, which takes place July 30 and 31,  is no ugly step-sister and headlines with Emmy Lou Harris and Elvis Costello with a host of other folk, country, and bluegrass stars including The Civil Wars, Amos Lee, Earl Scruggs, the Decemberists, just a few of the long lineup of musical talent. For tickets and schedule visit Newport Folk Fest. Watch Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival back in the '60's like this writer did then.

12MeterChartersCredit: 12MeterCharters.com

Take a sunset cruise on a 12 meter yacht: If you are a sailor or just enjoy the esthetics of the seaside and the pure beauty of New England summer sunsets, take a 12 Meter Charter sunset cruise. As the birthplace of the America's Cup race, Newport boasts several of the original challengers of the world's second largest sports competition. 12MeterCharters offers visitors a fleet of Newport's Finest! "All of our 12 Meter yachts have competed in the America's Cup and include:

  • Columbia US-16, first 12 Meter to win the America's Cup, built in 1958.
  • Easterner US-18, three-time America's Cup competitor, built in 1958.
  • Heritage US-23, America's Cup challenger and newest in the fleet, built in 1970."

12MeterCharters' captains have over 30 years experience and all are U.S.Coast Guard licensed and trained. For corporate, private, sunset, even weddings, contact 12MeterCharters in Newport to experience the true essence of the "City by the Sea." You'll find these classic America's Cup yachts waiting for you on Bowen's Wharf near "Best of RI"  restaurants like The Black Pearl and The Clarke Cooke House.  Step aboard!

DeadMensTalesCredit: DeadMenstales.comRhode Island has been called the "Rogue State" for many reasons, historically for its pirate history, and more recently for its politics.  Dead Men's Tales, 90-minute walking tours along Newport's harbor and pirate haunts, highlight its deep roots that began with privateering and became pyrating.  Rhode Island Pirate Players, dressed in period costume, are a living history organization, which depicts as best as possible the lives of pirates in Rhode Island and New England in the late 17th early 18th centuries. Rhode Island has a long and infamous pirate history that dates back to the 17th century, when Thomas Tew, probably its most famous and productive pirate, was labeled "The Rhode Island Pirate." The tours take place from June 10 to August 27 and start at Bowen's Wharf in Newport. Phone 401-952-6601 for more information.

 NewportMansions - BreakersCredit: NewportMansions.org Newport Mansions: No vacation in Newport, RI is complete without at least a drive-by of its famous mansions along beautiful Bellevue Avenue. Built by America's industrial barons before income tax laws were enforced, the heritage of the gilded age has been marvelously protected by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

"Explore 250 years of American history at 11 historic properties, located on 80 acres of gardens and parks.  Please visit and explore for a journey back in time at one of America's premier collections of historic house museums."

The Newport Mansions are open through the Christmas holidays and close for the winter soon after with openings in the early spring year round. For more information follow this link. Visit the annual Newport Flower Show hosted by the Preservation Society and held at Rosecliff.

Newport and Aquidneck Island beaches:

  • Beginning in Newport, Easton's Beach, or 1st Beach, children and families can ride the historic merry-go-round, visit the mini sea world, skateboard, play volleyball, swim, enjoy the playground, picnic at weekly free concerts, free over sand wheelchairs are available for the asking, cabanas and hot showers will get you ready for your night on the town, beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie and surfboards, too!  Enjoy lobster salad rolls, burgers and hot dogs from the grill, but no real dogs allowed on the beach through October 1.
  • Sachuest Town Beach, or 2nd Beach, stretches 1.25 miles long with New England sandy dunes, a beach with surfing, volleyball, nature and birdwatching trail, kayaking, windsurfing, saltwater fishing, picnicking, restrooms, and outside cold showers. Get there early on good beach days, parking is $20 per car and the lot fills up fast.
Gooseberry Beach Newport open to the publicCredit: newport-discovery-guide.com/

Gooseberry Beach, Newport RI just around Ocean Drive

    • Gooseberry Beach located around Ocean Drive in Newport is a public cove beach without big surf and perfect for families with small and school-aged children. Its Gooseberry Cafe serves up daily specials and there are cold showers and restroom facilities. Open 9-5 daily, parking is $15 during the week and $20 per car on weekends and holidays.
    Fishing charters NewportCredit: FlyrodRI

    Deep sea and fly-fishing charters in Newport area: Newport proper and nearby Block Island possess some of the finest opportunities for saltwater fishing charters in New England. You'll find several able day fishing charters by following the highlighted links, all led by experienced "old salts" available for deep-sea, fly-fishing, and sport fishing for marlin, swordfish, tuna, stripers, mahi-mahi, and mako shark.

    Hiking and Nature trails:
    With over 300 acres and seven miles of hiking trails, there is plenty to see at all times of the year at the Norman Bird Sanctuary!  You can bring your binoculars and go for a walk along our well-maintained trails.  You will be sure to see a variety of local and migratory birds, depending on the season. NBS is a 325-acre protected wildlife refuge open to the public for hiking and events for adults and children of all ages with museum, live animals, summer camps, yoga and tai chi, 5K Kids Run, and nature events all through the year. Located on 3rd Beach Road in Middletown, open everyday 9-5, except major holidays, NBS holds the perfect opportunity for hiking, walking, and learning about Rhode Island's natural environment.

    Golfing and tennis:
    Six public golf courses are available in southern Rhode Island. Green Valley Golf Club in Portsmouth, RI has an 18-hole Par 71 golf course and driving range open to the public. Rates range from $30 - $70 for walking, carts, holiday, and weekend rounds. Junior golf camps for kids 6-14 are available all summer long from June 27th through August 19th. Located at 371 Union Street, off RI RT 138, call 401-847-9543 for more information.

    Play tennis on the historic grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame where the first US Lawn Tennis Championship was held in 1881. Individual and group corporate rates available. Located on Newport's famous Bellevue Avenue with manicured lawns and historic architectural heritage. Afterwards, browse the famous shops on "The Avenue" and enjoy lunch at the LaForge Casino Restaurant.

    For more information, more events, including where to stay in Newport RI, visit goNewport.com and enjoy your stay.

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    Winton Marsalis - Newport RI Jazz Festival 2011