Newport’s Newest Guest House Pays Homage to Rhode Island’s Most Fearless Females

The Chart House Inn honors everyone from Princess Red Wing to Ida Lewis.

Photography courtesy of Chart House Inn.

On their second date, Nicole Canning told her now-husband, Christopher Bender, about her dream of one day owning an inn. 

She had grown up in her grandmother’s guest house, Aunt Polly’s Bed and Breakfast in Middletown, checking in travelers, turning down rooms and drawing caricatures for the beloved guests who visited each year, and missed the close connections she made during that time. 


Photography courtesy of Chart House Inn.

So it must have been kismet when, three years later, a Queen Anne-style home on Clarke Street in Newport came up for sale. The couple purchased it in January 2022 and after five months of renovations opened the Chart House Inn in July.

“We really missed hosting people in our home in the same way we did before COVID,” says Canning, who owns Stoneacre Hospitality with her husband, along with David Crowell and Christine Bevilacqua. “Having people come and stay and having new experiences in the town we love so much feels so special and rewarding.”


Photography courtesy of Chart House Inn.

The seven guest rooms honor local women who charted their own courses in life, like Princess Red Wing, a Narragansett and Wampanoag Native American who helped found the Tomaquag Museum, and Ida Lewis, the famed Newport lighthouse keeper who rescued countless sailors from the sea in the nineteenth century.

Canning worked with 2Hands Studio of Newport on the design, making sure each room had its own distinct personality.


Photography courtesy of Chart House Inn.

“We wanted the decor to be thoughtful. When you visit a place, a lot of the time you’re just staying in a room,” she says. “We wanted it to feel like a more elevated experience. We want our guests to get to know the community and get to know these women.”

The Jane Pickens suite, for example, feels like a grand theater in the Wes Anderson style, with a luxurious rain shower, opulent wallpaper and a sun-filled sitting room befitting a budding starlet. (It’s also where Canning stayed before her October 2021 wedding.) Walking into the Catherine Williams room — an Ocean State writer and prominent figure in the Dorr Rebellion — is like stepping into a book jacket, with moss-colored walls decorated in tiny flowers, bunnies and birds.

In the coming months, the pair hopes to add intimate events — like salon nights and speakers from the community — and work with some of the music festivals that bring thousands of visitors to Newport each summer. Visitors who, Canning hopes, will find a cozy retreat in her small corner of the City by the Sea. 

“It makes me happy to make other people happy,” she says. “And this is a constructive and lovely way to do it.” 16 Clarke St., Newport, 846-5676,


Photography courtesy of Chart House Inn.