Summertime Newport during Covid19 is definitely different than typical summertime Newport, Rhode Island. Ben and I visited Newport last weekend for an overnight and were so glad we made the trip.
Where We Stayed
We had a credit there from a trip we canceled a few months ago, and we decided now would be a good time to use it for a one-night getaway. We stayed at Gurney’s in a resort-view room. Initially, we were put in a room on the older wing of the building. It was moldy, musty, and smelled absolutely horrible. I started wheezing after two minutes inside the room. For that reason, we were able to switch to a room in the main building- which is what our original reservation was for. If you stay at Gurney’s, make sure you are not in the older part of the building.
Upon arriving in the lobby, we put our masks on. All of the employees and most of the guests were wearing masks inside the lobby. The pool opened up the day we arrived, but it had limited capacity. About fifteen people are allowed inside the pool area and an attendant checking people in. There were definitely many people staying at Gurney’s, but it was nowhere near capacity. There was definitely not the usual hustle-and-bustle the resort has during the summer.
We tried to call a week before our scheduled arrival to make reservations at the firepit lounge for drinks on Saturday night, but were never able to get ahold of anyone. The assumption that we could easily get a table was incorrect. At 4pm on Saturday, we attempted to make a 9:30pm reservation for after-dinner drinks. Since the restaurants are open to non-hotel guests, too, they had no availabilty. We were told that the waitlist exceeded 35 reservations. The hostess suggested we grab drinks in the lobby and enjoy them outside by the water. She regretted to inform up that they stop serving at 10:00pm. When we arrived back from dinner at 10:05, we were bummed to find out all drink options were off limits. We really like Gurney’s, but we were bummed we couldn’t take advantage of any of their dining options.
Going to the Beach and Cliff Walk
The beach is open to non-residents, but at a limited capacity. We arrived at Easton’s First Beach around 2:00pm and decided we would wait in line. It was a ‘one out, one in’ situation. We waited for about 55 minutes. It was $25 to park, but the gate guard told us that “if the meter doesn’t work, don’t worry. Nobody tickets this lot after noon.”
The beach was full, but not over-crowded. People were practicing appropriate social-distancing. It truly felt like normal summertime Newport, not the strange, new ‘summertime Newport during Covid19’. Around 3pm, we decided to walk to the Cliff Walk. From the beach, it is about .7 miles.
Typically, the Cliff Walk is packed during the summer. It was definitely busy and crowded in spots. Most people wore masks, and there were signs reminding people to stay masked. If you have children, I’m not sure I would recommend doing the Cliff Walk this summer. It was hot and uncomfortable walking with our masks on.
I should mention an important topic- bathrooms. The bathrooms were open at the beach, as was the snack bar. Only one stall was open on the Cliff Walk. In both locations the lines for the bathroom were quite long, but it was nice to know they were open.
Dining Out in Newport
It was so nice to sit outside and dine at restaurants again. It is important to note that reservations are required everywhere. Since restaurants are operating at less than 50% capacity, many places are booked solid. People are asked to wear masks upon entering restaurants and when using the bathroom. Most people complied with that, and all staff members wore masks, too. At each place we ate, we actively saw the staff wiping down chairs and tables before sitting us. We felt very safe. More on where we ate…
- White Horse Tavern– We had dinner here on Saturday night and were blown away. This is one of my favorite spots, and I hadn’t been in years. The food was delicious and service was even better. We sat outside and loved how private all the tables were. It’s important to note that there is a dress-code here.
- Corner Cafe– This spot is located in the Broadway District. We picked up lunch to-go on Saturday before heading to the beach. Ben loves their menu. The good can best be described as American with Portuguese flair. I got the most delicious salad and Ben had a chorizo egg sandwich on a bolo. It was very crowded, but the staff was incredibly friendly, and it was evident everyone was working their butts off.
- Brick Alley Pub– This place has been a staple of Newport for 40+ years. We had lunch here on Sunday before heading back home. The menu is versatile and filled with pub-fare. The back patio was open for the first time in about 10 years. It was shaded and the perfect place for lunch.
Parking in Newport during the summer is always challenging. During our stay, we learned that there is a church located on Marlborough Street that offers $5 donations-only parking. You can park in the lot all night and easily access downtown. We also noticed that the large lot at Gurney’s was completely open.
We were very happy with your choice to get away for a night to enjoy all that summertime Newport during Covid19 has to offer.