Newport and its Pirates: A Love/Hate Relationship

Pirates plundered their way around the world, but they spent their wealth in Newport.
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Hanged pirates were said to have been buried on Goat Island back in the day. Photography by Chris Vaccaro.

Where to Eat

Brick Alley Pub
One of Newport’s most beloved restaurants, the Brick Alley Pub is known for serving up delicious food and cocktails in a fun and inviting atmosphere. The extensive menu of classic New England comfort food caters to every taste, from baked lobster mac and cheese to customizable steak dinners. 140 Thames St., Newport, 849-6334, brickalley.com.

White Horse Tavern
Step back in time as you feast on locally sourced cuisine inside America’s oldest tavern. Dating back to 1673, the White Horse Tavern offers homestyle New England food while embracing its historic roots. Enjoy a plate of fresh seafood from the raw bar or indulge in hearty selections of meat, vegetables, soups and more. 26 Marlborough St., Newport, 849-3600, whitehorsenewport.com.

Salvation Cafe
Serving a host of multicultural dishes and exotic cocktails, Salvation Cafe is an eccentric and lively bohemian restaurant on Broadway. While you may come for the hip and vibrant ambience, you’ll stay for the robust cuisine. The innovative menu offers locally sourced seasonal specialties that balance the familiar taste of home with international flavors. 140 Broadway, Newport, 847-2620, salvationcafe.com.

A Short Drive Away
Crazy Burger Cafe and Juice Bar
After walking down the Narragansett seawall, grab a bite to eat at this Rhode Island icon. Crazy Burger has something for everyone with its sizable menu and eclectic flavors. Just as delicious as its signature burgers are its scrumptious breakfast specialties that are served until 4 p.m. every day. Vegetarians and vegans, don’t let the name throw you off: Crazy Burger is also widely known for its plant-based options. 144 Boon St., Narragansett, 783-1810, crazyburger.com.

Flo’s Clam Shack
For a classic seafood experience, head to Flo’s Clam Shack. This local favorite is a Newport County institution and has been feeding the island for more than eighty years. Using only the freshest ingredients, Flo’s is the restaurant of choice for many when it comes to seafood. With more than forty million clam cakes sold, it’s safe to say that these folks know what they’re doing. 4 Wave Ave., Middletown, 847-8141, flosclamshacks.com.

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Sources: cityofnewport.com; visitrhodeisland.com; Gloria Merchant / The Pirates of Colonial Newport.

Where to Explore

National Museum of American Illustration
Located inside the spectacular Vernon Court mansion, Newport’s National Museum of American Illustration features a vast collection of work by more than 150 artists and is the first national museum dedicated entirely to American illustration. Take a tour and immerse yourself in America’s cultural history as you view works by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and Howard Pyle, to name a few. 492 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 851-8949, americanillustration.org.

The Breakers
The most popular of the city’s mansions, the Breakers is a National Historic Landmark that is emblematic of the extravagance and magnificence of Newport’s Gilded Age. Completed in 1895 after just two years of construction, the mansion was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The grand seventy-room estate showcases stunning decor and architecture that have been carefully preserved for more than a century. 44 Ochre Point Ave., Newport, 847-1000, newportmansions.org.

International Tennis Hall of Fame
Established in 1954 in the Newport Casino, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is home to more than 25,000 pieces of tennis memorabilia and honors 243 legendary contributors to the game of tennis. The annual Hall of Fame Open takes place on the historic grass courts and draws some of the biggest names in tennis to Newport every summer. Take a tour through the interactive museum exhibits and learn about the fascinating history of tennis and its most noteworthy players. 194 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 849-3990, tennisfame.com.

A Short Drive Away
Newport Vineyards
Home to New England’s largest grower of wine grapes, Newport Vineyards is a family-owned winery and brewery offering a range of events all year long. Learn about the winemaking process as you tour the winery and vineyards and partake in a tasting of estate-grown wines. When you’re done, visit the Taproot Brewing Company for locally sourced farm-to-table food and Taproot’s own fresh craft beer. 909 East Main Rd., Middletown, 848-5161, newportvineyards.com.

Dudek Bowling Lanes
Family-owned and operated since 1938, Dudek Bowling is one of the best duckpin alleys in Rhode Island and provides great entertainment for every age. The state-of-the-art lanes, automated scoring system and friendly service make this alley a fan-favorite among Rhode Islanders for everything from birthday parties to simply catching up and spending a fun evening with friends. 409 Child St., Warren, 245-9471, dudekbowling.com.

Where to Shop

Newport Sock Exchange
This fun and unusual niche store offers a plethora of novelty socks for kids and adults alike. Snag a pair featuring your favorite animals, superheroes, foods and more, or even a pair of the coveted scented socks. The best part? Every purchase benefits the Newport Coffee Cup Project, a nonprofit organization working to provide seniors with free transportation services. 468 Thames St., Newport, 437-4400, newportsockexchange.com.

Aardvark Antiques
Specializing in striking architectural antiques and bronze furnishings, Aardvark Antiques is a one-of-a-kind shop with relics from around the world. From stained glass windows to wrought iron gates, lighting fixtures and stone sculptures, this is certainly not your typical antiques store. Additionally, the company offers its own division of welding and restoration services as well as prop rentals for events. 9 JT Connell Hwy., Newport, 849-7233, aardvarkantiques.com.

Shore Soap Company
Founded in 2013 by a husband and wife duo, Shore Soap Company offers a range of handcrafted bath and body care products. The company’s line of ocean-inspired soaps, scrubs, skincare and more offer customers the luxury of high-quality natural ingredients at an affordable price. Whether you’re there to pick out a gift or are just looking to treat yourself, you’re “shore” to find something you’ll love. 302 Thames St., Newport, 846-0305, shoresoapco.com.

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