Newport, United States
Once the summer getaway of choice for the well-heeled families of the 19th-century Northeast, Newport today lures historians, cool-hunting collectors and sailors to its shores. Each of the history-rich mansions along Bellevue Avenue offers a glimpse into the glamorous – and sporadically scandalous – lives of the Gilded Age elite. Mark Twain dreamed up the description of Newport's luxe-loving denizens in his satirical indictment of blue blooded society. A cool combination of culture, lore and architecture, Newport's seaside charm has inspired powerful politicos – John F and Jackie Kennedy married here – artists and novelists such as Edith Wharton. Even though it's the smallest state of the union, Rhode Island manages to pack in 400 miles of sparkling sandy shoreline. Explore craggy coves, sail the seas and soak up the bewitching natural beauty of this New England charmer.
When to go
From Memorial Day, May 30 to October, the town is abuzz with tourists. Shoulder season months – September, November and April – offer the same mansion-meandering, sloping seaside experience with smaller crowds and cooler temperatures.
PlanesTF Green International Airport in Warwick is around 50 minutes from downtown Newport. Delta, United Airways and Southwest Airlines provide flights all over the USA. Air Canada also flies direct to Toronto. Grab a taxi for US$80, or book a shuttle via Cozy Cab (+1 800 846 1502; www.cozytrans.com) into town for US$25. International flights touch down in Washington DC with connections to Rhode Island.
TrainsSouth Kingstown (+1 800 872 7245; www.trainweb.org/kin), 25 minutes from downtown, is on Amtrak's East Coast route to Boston, New York, Washington and Richmond. Buses run from Newport to the station five times a day (US$1.25), but they are sluggish at best, so if you’re on a tight schedule it’s best to flag a cab for about US$50.
AutomobilesNewport's a four-hour I-95 cruise up from NYC. Peak season streets can be bumper-to-bumper, but the roadways are easy to navigate with plenty of parking. Having your own set of wheels is a necessity for shoreline drives and day-trips outside the city. Avis have an outpost at the airport, book ahead for vehicle pick-up at the airport. If you want to be driven, call local provider All Occasions (+1 800 4541380; www.alloccasionlimo.com).
TaxisTraffic grinds to a halt during the peak season summer months, so catching a cab on the fly is unlikely. Unless you are leaving Newport you can easily get around on foot, or by bike. Call Cozy Cab (+1 401 846 2500; www.cozytrans.com) for longer-range local trips, and shuttles to the airport.