Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4-Hour Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
This month: we head to Newport, Rhode Island, to check in on one of the best new car museums in America — along with some sailing, seafood and stately digs, of course. When in Rome.
Rhode Island (3 images)
Where to stay:
The area is anything but hurting for some of the finest places on the East Coast to rest your head. If you’re down to indulge in marina life, the Forty 1⁰ North is for you. The meticulous service and nighttime mixology class can't be beat. If you prefer the downtown scene, try Hotel Viking, an award-winning vision of opulence. For a more boutique experience, you’ll want The Chanler at Cliff Walk. All the luxury, but with a little more laid-back charm.
What to eat:
It should go without saying, but when visiting Rhode Island, you better be down for loads of fresh fish. Everyone will tell you to hit The Mooring, but as every seasoned traveler knows, never go where the concierge tells you to. It’s delicious, sure, but very touristy and noisy. Instead, hit Anthony’s Seafood. It’s a townie favorite. Brick Alley Pub has the best crab cakes in town and Black Pearl has the best clam chowder. For a splurge, head to Castle Hill’s Lawn, and for something out of the ordinary go for the lobster chow mein sammies at Evelyn’s Drive-In.
Drinks? Head to the White Horse Tavern, which was established in 1673, making it America’s oldest. It was once a regular haunt for colonists, British soldiers, mercenaries, pirates, sailors, Founding Fathers and all manner of early American folk. The tavern is also one of several in Newport to incorporate local exotic mushrooms from RI Mushroom Co. into their menu. Or bring your own beer to Winner Winner, which serves up the best fried chicken in the city by the sea. And the last must: a frozen lemonade from Del’s in hand while you’re strolling around town.
What to do:
For starters, you’re visiting the Newport Car Museum, a brand new monument to all things auto. In store: a private collection of more than 50 automobiles, and every one of them a work of art. For even more history on four wheels, take a jaunt over to one of the most famed buildings on Bellevue Avenue: the Audrain Auto Museum, which displays more than 20 cars and rotates four exhibits a year. The current run, “Fast, Fun & Fabulous: Best of Show,” features a few rare models making their show-car debut.
If that’s not enough of a throwback lesson, you can also see some serious vintage rides at the Carriage House at The Breakers. Then hit the Oakland Beach Cruise Night in Warwick. Every Tuesday night in summer, enthusiasts saunter down the Avenue to peacock their wheels, with a special “Car of the Week” award doled out each week. To boot, there's live music and food trucks galore.