Hey kids, welcome to my little corner of the world! They say “if you’re lucky enough to live by the beach, then you’re lucky enough”, and I could not agree more. The beauty of Newport makes me feel so lucky to have landed here. The 9 years that I have spent in Newport have been a great time of growth for me, as well as for the city! It makes me proud to call this place home when I think of how the city has evolved from when I first arrived here, similarly to how I felt when I recently cleaned out my closet from my college years spent at Salve Regina University. The idea for New England Gangster is one that I have pondered for the better part of a year, trying to wrap my head around how to go about it. I wanted to be able to share my New England experiences with people so they could see you don’t always have to go far to find special places. With the help of some friends, and my sister who says “the gangster would be nothing without me!”, I have finally figured it out.
I started my journey here as a student, where I got to spend four amazing years in this beautiful seaside town with my best friends (the beauties pictured below). Living in such a picturesque place meant that even on the weekends that we had nothing to do, being able to hit Ocean Drive with our favorite song blasting in the car with a coffee in hand, we really actually had it all. Even today, this is one of my favorite ways to kill some time. Back then I don’t think we could comprehend how special this place is, but our group text is a string of conversations about how we wish we could go back to that time. Five years later, Newport is still a place we all love to come together even if it is just for a weekend.
I thought I couldn’t fall in love with Newport anymore when I stuck around after graduation, but I was so wrong. Becoming a part of any community you live in is so important to feeling like you’re planting roots. I work as a nurse in the emergency room of a local hospital, and working closely with the first responders on the island to take care of the people who make up this place makes me very proud, but also gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that I am taking care of a community that has taken such good care of me.
Of course with hard work comes the reward of being able to play! Newport is a playground in its own sense. There is something for everyone here, whether you want your Sunday morning to incorporate a boozy brunch, a yoga class, a morning sail…or maybe all three! Here in Newport we have two seasons. Summer, and waiting on summer. The summer here is a time that dreams are made of. If you made a list of all things summer, I can imagine it would look similar to mine. Beach bags, coolers, chilled cocktails, salty skin, tan lines, sunsets, boats, fireworks, and music festivals. Alternately, in our waiting on summer season so many of the places we love to go in the summer transform into cozy hideaways with fires crackling in the background while you visit with friends you didn’t have the chance to catch up with over the summer.
Off of the drive, Castle Hill will forever be on everyone’s bucket list when they come to Newport, and that is rightfully so! As a self proclaimed lobster roll connoisseur, theirs would be my #1 in town. Their iconic rolling green lawn sprinkled with white Adirondack chairs is the perfect place to park it for the afternoon to sip and snack while taking in a great view of the harbor and all of the activity going on out on the water.
In town some of my favorite spots to camp out for the evenings are 41 North, Stoneacre Brasserie, The Clark Cooke House and when it’s open seasonally, The Smokehouse. These places all have a great atmosphere that makes you feel like you are on vacation, even if it’s in your own back yard. For brunch I would have such a hard time deciding between my three favorites. Belle’s Cafe down in Newport Shipyard, CRU cafe, and Corner Cafe. CRU and Corner Cafe are both BYOB which earns them bonus points (for there is never a liquor store too far in this town), and there is not one thing on their menu that isn’t delightful. When I’m in need of a good pick me up there is nothing better than an iced autobahn from Rosemary & Thyme to really give you the jitters and bring you back to life, and don’t even get me started on their pastry case!
When the seasons start to change and summer traffic slows down, the beach is still one of my favorite spots to be. To me, there is something about the ocean that is so humbling. On a nice quiet day, its a gentle reminder of peace and serenity. On a stormy day it is a bold reminder that the ocean is so powerful and must be respected. You can keep rocking your bathing suit usually until October, and by the time November rolls around it’s the perfect place for a walk and some fresh air. After the beach maybe to head to Sweet Berry Farm? During the summertime at this little farm you can pick berries and get goodies to take down to the beach like sandwiches, and ice cream. In the fall it transforms into a harvest dream full of pumpkins, hot soups, and plenty of apples to fill a peck!
This just touches the surface on some of my favorite things to do in my neighborhood with my gang, there will be more to come so don’t you fret. I could go on for pages, but I’ll save that for another day once we all get acclimated.
Until next time, stay gangster.