Where to Go? What to Eat? in Newport, RI with Kristen Coates

Newport, a gorgeous coastal city located in New England’s Rhode Island, is famous for its vast harbors filled with sailboats and yachts as well as its historic mansions, several of which have been converted into museums. The city has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation in its downtown Historic District as well as its Gilded Age mansions, which were summer “cottages” built by mid-19th century wealthy southern planters looking to escape the heat of the south. But Newport has so much more to offer than sailing, mansions, and museums!

Kristen Coates, owner of a an arts and home goods store in Newport, grew up in Newport, RI and—after having lived in Los Angeles and New York for more than 15 years—currently resides in the beautiful city. Kristen shared some of her favorite activities, places to visit, and things to eat with us so your next trip to Newport can be filled with great sights, delicious food, and fun!

Newport RI
Photo by: Christian Harder for The Wall Street Journal Off Duty

Music Festivals
During July and August Newport hosts both the Folk Festival and the Jazz Festival along with the Live Local Music Festival, a grassroots indie arts and music festival started by a local photographer.

Cliff Walk
Cliff Walk is a world famous 3.5-mile walking trail that winds along the coast behind the mansions and gives an outstanding view of the water. This public access trail is unique in that it combines ocean views, stunning architecture, and rugged shorelines.

Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum is a museum and art school located in downtown Newport that features changing exhibitions and art classes year-round. The museum’s exhibitions and collections reflect Rhode Island’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene by featuring artists with ties to RI.

Redwood Library and Athenaeum
The Redwood Library is the oldest lending library that still occupies its original building in the United States. Designated a national historic landmark in 1962, the building also houses antique sculptures, paintings, furniture, and rare books.

Third & Elm Press
The oldest operating printing press in the country, Third & Elm Press, is also located in Newport. Visitors can view and purchase woodblock prints, limited edition books, and note cards and even watch the process of them being made by artist Ilse Buchert Nesbitt.

What to Eat?

White Horse Tavern
“The White Horse Tavern is a personal favorite come fall with the crackling fireplaces and the stories of haunted dining rooms and the bar!” One of the oldest taverns in the country, established in 1673, this place offers delicious food and drinks in a cosy historic setting.

Thames Street Kitchen
TSK is a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on fresh seasonal and local ingredients. “The family that owns this place also owns the epic burger restaurant, Mission, and Winner Winner where they serve—you guessed it—chicken.”

Other Locally Owned Restaurants
Newport has dozens of locally owned restaurants including the Clarke Cooke House as well as Diego’s and Perro Salado (both excellent for Mexican food and margaritas). Stoneacre Brasserie has the best brunch, Pasta Beach for authentic Italian, and newly opened Bar and Board has cheese and charcuterie boards perfect for sharing over delicious wine

Additional Tips

Kristen notes her favorite Newport sights are along the coast and at the beaches. There are coves filled with soft-to-the-touch powdery white sand and waves perfect for surfing. Other beaches have great walking areas full of various flora and fauna. One of the best parts about Newport is being on the water and sailing around the island. There is a reason Newport is famous for it!

“The quality of life and the beauty surrounding the island,” Kristen remarks, “there is no other place like it in the world.”

Where to Go? What to Eat? Portland, Maine Travel Guide with Fitz and Bennett

We’re all familiar with Oregon’s largest city, Portland, known for its hip culture and thriving art, theater, and music scenes. But did you know Maine also offers its own Portland, a smaller city with river and mountain views as well as gorgeous Victorian-era houses, working fishing wharves, and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops?

Lauren, the owner of Fitz and Bennett Home—a thoughtfully curated home decor and gifts store located in Portland, ME—shares some of her favorite places to go, items to eat, and things to do in Portland. In addition to offering the standard attractions that come to mind when people think of Maine—great seafood, a beautiful coastline, and stunning lighthouses—Portland is also a popular spot for food and beer. “We have amazing restaurants in every food genre you can imagine,” totes Lauren.

Lauren’s storefront, situated in the historic Old Port of Portland, is just off of the beaten (and tourist ridden) path but still amongst the scenic cobblestones and historic architecture, and has a waterfront view right outside her door!

Portland Maine

Where to Go?

Willard Beach
Located in South Portland on the bay, Willard Beach is a moderately sized beach (so you don’t feel like you’re walking forever to find a spot, but also aren’t sitting right on top of other beachgoers) that offers calmer waters, slightly warmer water temperatures, and a dog-friendly environment before 8:00am during the beach season. “We love to bring our pooch down for a little play—dogs galore!”

Nature Trails
Portalnd, ME has a number of trails full of stellar views and calming natural surroundings. Some of these include Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport, Mackworth Island in Casco Bay, and the Eastern Promenade. With food trucks frequently parked along the top of the Promenade, you won’t go hungry during your hike!

Fitz and Bennett Home

What to Eat?

“The best activities (and almost all of them here) involve a good view and good food.”

The Green Elephant
An all vegetarian restaurant located on Congress Street, The Green Elephant is a favorite of Lauren’s. “My carnivorous husband loves it there too!”

Novare Res
A hidden away beer mecca, Novare Res has a great outdoor patio with games and picnic tables, making it a perfect stop for beer aficionados and families alike.

Local 188
Local 188 is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner or stellar brunch.The decor is reminiscent of being inside of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.   

Silly’s
Slightly outside of the downtown area (but still on the peninsula), Silly’s is a great stop for all kinds of food options. Vegan selections are just as plentiful as meat-heavy dishes, and beer is served in tin mugs. Silly’s also has outdoor seating and funky decor throughout.

Fitz and Bennett Home - Etta + Billie Products

Additional Tips

Lauren recommends visiting Portland on months that shoulder the busy seasons; mid-June and early September. “Most of the tourists are gone and you’ll feel more like a local.”

There are also countless hotels in town to choose from during your stay in addition to very unique Airbnbs, so there’s no need to feel like you’re beholden to the big chain hotels.

Lauren’s overall advice for those wanting to visit Portland, ME? “Explore beyond the most popular places in Portland that have been written about over and over again. They are great and get press for a reason, but there are also a ton of other smaller fish here that are equally as amazing, so explore a bit!”

Fitz and Bennett Home

Go-To Tips: Better Camping Meals

Camping, depending on your outdoor expertise and hiking level, can vary from “glamping” to completely roughing it in the wilderness. But being away from your home and its kitchen doesn’t mean you have to eat trail mix during your entire camping trip! Here are a few tips, tricks, and hacks to help you eat well while still being able to pack light and remain environmentally friendly on your next camping trip.

General Tips

Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and CornbreadPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Cookware

When camping, you always want to limit the amount of things you need to bring with you. When you are packing your cooking items, consider limiting yourself to multi-use items that can be used to cook in a number of different ways.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
Instead of one or several small- to medium-sized pans, consider bringing a wide, flat griddle or cast iron skillet that you can cook multiple items on at once (Being able to cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes at the same time will speed up your breakfast cook time!). A griddle will also likely pack much easier than a pan or two, which are rounded and have handles that stick out.l Dutch ovens are another great option. They can be used as both a pot for stews, soups, chili, etc. as well as enclosed ovens for baking meals over a fire. Dutch ovens can also be used over propane stoves if open fires are not allowed within your campground. And if you want to limit clean up efforts, dutch ovens can also be fitted with disposable liners (parchment paper or aluminum foil). Just be sure to take all your trash with you!

If you are camping in a tent:
If you will be traveling on foot, you won’t be able to carry heavy dutch ovens or cast iron skillet with you. Instead, pack a small, lightweight aluminum or titanium pot and pan. Your pot can double as a cup and your pan can also be used as a plate to cut down on what you need to fill your pack with. You’ll also want to bring aluminum foil. Not only does it not take up much room, but you can use it to wrap root vegetables like potatoes or carrots and even meat and fish, then throw them into the coals of your fire to cook without having to worry about getting a mouthful of ash when it’s time to eat.

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza NachosPhoto by: twopeasandtheirpod

Food

Before your trip, fill plastic squeezable bottles (you can reuse emptied and cleaned ketchup bottles) with pre-mixed pancake batter, soup broth, homemade BBQ sauce, and other ingredients you’ll want quick and easy access to. This can also help limit the number of utensils you’ll need to bring with you.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
You will basically have access to a full kitchen, so the sky’s the limit! You can decide on several meals before your trip, anything from pizza and pasta, burgers and ribs, to jambalaya and chicken noodle soup.

If you are camping in a tent:
You’ll want to pack high protein, higher calorie food options that don’t take up much room if you need to carry everything with you. Snack options like trail mix (with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate if you have a sweet tooth) or beef jerky are classic choices. You can also visit specialty outdoor retailers to purchase freeze dried or dehydrated meals that will limit their size and weight but can still provide you with tasty meal options.

Backpacker’s Blueberry CrispPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Fire

Nothing beats cooking over an open fire, but if you are unable to or prefer the control of having a stove, you have options too.

Cooking on a campfire:
A campfire may not offer you the temperature control of a stove, but nothing tastes quite as good as something cooked over hot coals! If you plan on cooking over a fire, it is a good idea to bring your own firewood in case existing log piles have gotten wet or rotten. Many campgrounds also have strict rules against collecting firewood, so this will help you bypass that completely.

Cooking on a portable stove:
If you are camping in damp, wet climate or are having trouble starting a fire due to rain or other environmental issues, having a backup camping stove will save you a lot of stress. They are not only reliable, but are often designed to be lightweight and pack away easily. Depending on how you will be camping, you can select a classic two-burner propane stove or a single burner stove that uses small canisters to provide a flame.

Recipes

  1. Camping Breakfast Sandwich
  2. Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Nachos
  3. Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread
  4. Lemon Dill Salmon Packets
  5. Backpacker’s Blueberry Crisp
  6. 3 Easy Campsite Cocktails

Go-To Tips: How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Bag

How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Bag

Whether you’re traveling for business or vacation, airports and flying can be quite a process. Even seasoned travel veterans go to lengths to avoid any extra headaches when dealing with airports. One of the easiest ways to keep your air travel hassle-free is to downsize and fly with just one carry-on bag rather than checking your luggage. Sounds impossible? We’ve got your back with these travel tips.

Pack layers and outfits that can be mixed-and-matched. For your clothing, you’ll want to pack as few items as possible, but you also don’t want to be stuck wearing the same things every day. The easiest way to accomplish this is to pack a few basics with many layers that can be mixed-and-matched. For example, bring a pair of stylish sneakers that will be comfortable to walk around in all day but can also be worn with a sundress for a cute and comfortable daytime look. Or, pack a pair of black denim jeans that can be dressed up with heels for a night out or dressed down for a casual afternoon brunch. Include short- and long-sleeved tops that you can easily throw a flowy sweater over if it gets colder. You can also avoid packing extra (read: unnecessary) “just in case” items by checking the weather of where you will be traveling to ahead of time. Rain in the forecast? Throw a lightweight raincoat in your bag that can be worn over any outfit.

Plan on doing laundry. Though doing a load of laundry while on a business trip or vacation doesn’t sound fun, it can save you from ever having to pack “extra” clothes. If you’ll be traveling for 2 weeks, for example, and you do laundry once during your trip, you will only need to pack 1 week’s worth of clothing. Many larger hotels offer (or can suggest nearby) laundry services. If you are staying at an AirBnB or VRBO, look for one with a washer and dryer in the house or apartment. Staying with friends? Ask to do your laundry in their house or building, or seek recommendations for a nearby laundromat or dry cleaner.

Pack multi-purpose beauty products. By bringing products that can be used for multiple things, you can reduce the number of items you have to try and pack! For example, instead of packing individual bottles for your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, consider buying a travel-sized product that can do all three! Or, bring a bath and body oil that can be used as a facial moisturizer, body lotion, and leave-in hair treatment. (Don’t forget to pack all toiletries in transparent bags and limit any liquid soaps or gels you are taking with you to under 3.4 ounces/100ml.)

Purchase what you need once you arrive at your destination. You may also want to consider waiting until you arrive at your destination to pick up smaller items rather than trying to pack them. If you’ll be flying to a tropical paradise, wait until you arrive to pick up your sunscreen. You can also easily find many beauty products at local drugstores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. Additionally, most hotels provide basic products for you such as soap, shampoo, and lotion. If you are renting an AirBnb or VBRO, consider calling ahead and asking your host if they keep your favorite item stocked.

Saving money is only one of the advantages to traveling light and not having to check a bag. You’ll never have to worry about the nightmare that is losing your luggage, nor will you have to waste time waiting at a baggage carousel after spending hours on an airplane!