A tour guide in one of the many spectacular mansions in Newport.
A tour guide in one of the many spectacular mansions in Newport.

The Newport Bermuda Race begins in a beautiful coastal New England town just a few hours south of Boston, Massachusetts.

What is the appeal of the town that sees over 150 boats flock to its marinas every other year for the ultimate open ocean race? Here’s a look at what the  city-by-the-sea has to offer.

Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the top sailing centres on the east coast.

So it’s no wonder it has become such a popular place for the start of one of the world’s most exciting ocean races.

It has been well-known for years as the playground for some of the most spectacularly rich American families from the Astors to the Vanderbilts.

Not only is the city rich with yachting history but it is also filled with some of the most opulent ocean-side mansions, some of which are open to explore.

There are also breathtaking views of the ocean from the famous Cliff Walk that takes you along the eastern shore of Newport, where the natural beauty of the shoreline, looking out into the open ocean, combines with the spectacular architecture of those gilded mansions.

However, the town of Newport is down-to-earth, with the quaint streets lined with boutiques and eateries.

Day charters

Of course, this eclectic town is renowned for its sailing and, even if you aren’t able to make it on one of the boats for the race, there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at the helm of a variety of boats with a day charter.

And, at the end of the day, there are plenty of places to chill out and watch the boats sail in and out of the harbour, including the famed Candy Store at the centre of Bannister’s Wharf.

The haunt of some of the legendary sailors of the world, including America’s Cup contenders Ted Turner and Dennis Conner, the appeal of this watering hole is the wide open room that looks over the harbour and Narragansett Bay –– so it is the perfect spot to take in the views.

Plus, there’s a Dark and Stormy on the menu made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and Barritt’s Ginger Beer, naturally.