Dispatch From Newport: Memorial Day Recap

by Cary Randolph Fuller · June 4, 2010

While most of you were either broiling in the NYC heat or waiting in line at some Hamptons club, a handful of intrepid New Yorkers made the trek up RI Route 138 this past weekend. Not knowing what to expect they packed heavy (for beach time, BBQs, and a few flashy cocktails) but kept the vibe light and easy. So here it is, your first Dispatch from Newport in 2010.

Topping the list of must-attend events on Thames Street was Saturday's grand opening of Forty 1 North, a hotel and marina that boasts restaurants, bars, and a lounge with swings (yay!). The vibe is very South-Beach-meets-Soho and totally new to Newport. (A giant chess board will have fans of the Delano in raptures, and the martinis are first class.) . Opening festivities included several hours of complimentary drinks for friends and family, many of whom flew in from Manhattan and Philly just for the event. More parties are planned so keep an eye on this spot. When we need a break from Sailortown USA, this will be our first (and perhaps only) destination.

Sunday bore the brunt of the weekend line-up with barbecues raging from sun-up to sun-down. Waites Wharf, home of a notorious cluster of waterfront bars, was completely packed with guidos (the likes of which would put native Rhode Islander DJ Pauly D to shame), bikers, Massholes, Lilly-bedecked prepsters, and rowdy college kids. With cover charges topping twenty bucks, this scene was strictly for the professional partiers. We searched for something more low key...

...and we found it behind the International Tennis Hall of Fame where the owner of Thames Street skate shop Blvd. opened his backyard to a crowd of local kids. Bonfires, sangria, and Heart's greatest hits blasting over the speakers reminded us of those old keg parties we frequented in high school...but in the best way. (The best way being, of course, that we weren't drinking Zimas like we did in '01.)

On Monday it seemed like everyone in town descended on the secret locals-only beach (I'd tell you where it is, but I'd have to kill you), sunning and sleeping off their hangovers. Not to be outdone by Blvd.'s party the night before, legendary Water Brothers Surf and Skate hosted a barbecue in their parking lot. One last trip to the cliffs to watch the sunset and a cruise by the Atlantic Beach Club (for quality day drinking), and we were ready to pass out no later than four o'clock in the afternoon.

With a full line-up of charity events, music and film festivals, and parties just for the sake of partying, summer is going to fly in R.I. We're bracing ourselves for the real momentum push and polishing our boat shoes. So when Surf Lodge starts to feel a little tired and you need a break from the L.I.E., head to Newport. Or sail vicariously via GofG.