Just got back from a wonderful 3 day trip to Newport. The two nights we spent there, we asked the front desk clerk for a good local non-tourist place to eat. Her recommendation was wonderful. The next day, we visited an out of the way glass blowing shop and asked again for a good restaurant that was not touristy. Again, we walked down this little side street and there was this fantastic Italian (not your usual pasta place) restaurant built in an old house.
Unique Suggestions: Stay away from the Tourist Information Center and the surrounding shops unless it's to get a map. Plus the parking fee anywhere around the harbor is way too expensive. If you have a car, drive to each estate if you don't want to walk. Each house has it's own free parking and you can purchase tickets at the houses.
Fun Alternatives: The pass for seeing 4 Mansions and the out of the way Topiary gardens is the best deal if you're staying more than a day. If you're not staying for more than one day, see Marble House or The Elms, as they are both Audio Tours and tell so much more than the tour guides and you can go at your own pace. The Elms, in particular, while not on the Atlantic Ocean, was a surprise as you got to see more of the house and it's beautiful estate grounds than any of the other estates. The tour guide we had at the Breakers was awful.
Also, visit the local wineries, they're a must.
Oi, it was awful! It was a classic bait and switch. They were not honest as to what we would see. It's not a castle as anyone can see. The tales of hauntings and such added ridiculous mumbo jumbo to the absurdity we endured.
Go to The Breakers and Marble House.
Okay, I know these babies keep the town dressed to the nines, but I think they are a huge tourist trap. Look at the pictures online, maybe take the Cliff Walk, but don't bother wandering through these hulking examples of way too much money.
Unique Suggestions: Limit yourself to just one mansion and the Cliff Walk. Site is at http://www.newportmansions.org/
Fun Alternatives: Hmmm...I'll have to think on this.
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