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Newport, Rhode Island, Weekend Getaway Recap: Boating from Buzzards Bay to Bowen's Wharf


Post by Amanda Jones - Published on 6/14/18 5:46 PM
Newport, Rhode Island is an old colonial city by the sea and boater haven. Its breathtaking views of the ocean, historic architecture, amazing seafood and gilded aged mansions attract visitors from all over the world... and our own back yard.

This week we welcome back Dave Horne from MyBuzzardsBay to the Dockwa blog! Dave is an avid cruiser who loves exploring the Northeast and sharing his findings with his fellow boaters. Read on for his latest visit to Newport, Bowen's Wharf, and Dockwa HQ.

This post originally appeared on MyBuzzardsBay in May 2018. 

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Mid-May Mini-Vacation

Last week Mrs. Horne decided we needed a getaway, and with that our mid-May mini-vacation began. I think this is the first time we ever left home without a pre-planned destination. In fact, we weren’t even sure how long we were going to be gone! Since the odds were that we’d be out at least one night, we dragged our little Westie Daisy along for the ride.

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Newport-bound

After a brief electrical problem was promptly repaired thanks to a house call by Ned Kaiser, we left Mattapoisett around 11:30AM. We debated our options and once we ultimately chose Newport, I loaded the way point into the autopilot. Our last trip of 2017 was supposed to be Newport, but it got rained out. Bowen’s Wharf had agreed to give me a credit for 2018, so I opened my Dockwa app, clicked on old reservation and started a chat with Bowen’s.


Rhode Island Sound was pretty flat so we ran around 25 knots and arrived around 1:30PM. Bowen’s Wharf Marina Manager, Kerry, and a new dockhand met us and gave us the primo spot at the end of the wharf. We tied up bow-in so that the cockpit would be facing Newport harbor.

Find Dockage in Newport

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Benjamin’s & New Friends at Bowen’s

Once the boat was secure, we headed over to Benjamin’s on Thames Street for a light lunch. We discovered this great spot for oysters and cherry stones last year. Note – they host daily Buck-a-Shucks from Noon - 2PM and all day on Tuesdays!

As we left Benjamin’s, it felt like midsummer. The temperature was in the 70s and since it was the last day of the Volvo Ocean Race visit, there were quite a few people in town. As mentioned above, I loved Bowen’s the first time I saw it because it allows us to dock bow in – stern facing the harbor. I am now convinced that that’s only half of this centrally located marina’s appeal: it’s also ridiculously friendly.

Right after we tied up and started to take Daisy for a walk, a group of boaters came up and introduced themselves. Two of the guys were from Canada and were in town for the Volvo. The other two were on The Barefoot out of Colorado, and the young lady was a world traveler and long distance runner from Annapolis. Based on two visits, I’m fairly certain that folks on Bowen's are always this friendly and one of the many great attributes for this centrally-located marina. 

Reserve at Bowen's Wharf

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Branching out to The Wharf Pub

Although we mostly enjoyed returning our favorite restaurants, we did find time to try a new one: The Wharf Pub located right off Bowen's Wharf.

I admit that I've walked by The Wharf Pub dozens of times and had never previously felt the urge to enter. It looked like a fun bar and that was about it. Then lately I've noticed it showing up in Yelp's Top 10 for Newport and decided it was time to give it a whirl.

Although it sits in the midst of classic brick buildings, the look and feel of The Wharf Pub is more that of a Texas Roadhouse. There is a lot of rough-cut wood that kind of looks like old pallets. The menu looks very country and the music follows suit – during lunch I heard Johnny Cash’s "Man in Black."

If you follow my Seaside Eatery reviews you know that I truly enjoy a category I call "Fun Food" and The Wharf Pub caters to this perfectly. What else can you say about a place with a half a dozen varieties of tater tots? These bad boys were dusted with black pepper and came with a truffle aioli. Even more impressive was the fish & chips that Mrs. Horne ordered, served “old school style” with the chips wrapped in pseudo-newspaper. I stole a bite and was blown away by the moistness and flaky texture of the fish. I can’t recall ever finding this quality of fish in a beer-battered fish & chips. Speaking of impressive, rum and diet came served in a very nice, heavy crystal glass. From now on, when I’m in Newport and I’m looking for some FUN FOOD, the Wharf Pub will be my new go-to spot! (Read more of Dave's nots on The Wharf Pub.)

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Old Newport Favorites: Returning to Fluke

Tuesday started out nice, but turned to spotty rain showers by cocktail hour. Mrs. Horne and I keep foul weather gear on the boat and thus we were ready to venture out for dinner.  Since Vigilant was docked at Bowen's and we were sticking close to home on this wet evening, we decided to go back to Fluke for the 3rd or 4th time. The crowd was light and they gave us the best table on the second floor with a magnificent view of the harbor, pictured above.

The mussels were the most plump I’ve ever had: the size of a Louisiana oyster, and served in a fennel broth with two pieces of grilled toast. The duck confit over couscous now has a place at the top of Mrs. Horne's list. I concocted a mini fish and chips dish by combining the fish bites appetizer ($8) with a side of fries with spicy aioli ($6). The fish bites turned out to exactly that – five bite-sized pieces of delicate white fish lightly fried with more aioli. It was great and the perfect portion for me, but I do think it would be a little small to be shared with someone else. The fries, on the other hand, were a massive portion: perfectly crispy and hot. 

 

More notes on Fluke:

  • Centrally located for boaters near the entrance to Bowen's Wharf and a 5-minute walk from the Newport Yachting Center or 41 North
  • To get to Fluke you must walk up one flight of stairs which gets you to the kitchen, bar, and dining area. There is also a third floor dining room with an incredible view.
  • Be aware that there is little or no air conditioning on the third floor so avoid it on hot nights in July and August.
  • Since Fluke is also a Wine Bar, they offer a nice variety of wines by the glass.
  • I love, love, love Fluke! (Read more of Dave's notes on Fluke.) 
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An Old Friend and Yachting Royalty

After a 6AM Starbucks Run (there's one nearby on America’s Cup Avenue, in the heart of downtown Newport), I ran into Laura Freedman, a friend I haven’t seen in 35 years. Laura and her husband David Pedrick arrived for cocktails at 4:30 amidst a light drizzle. For those not into yacht design, David Pedrick is a true yachting icon, having designed Ted Hood’s America’s Cup winning 12 Meter class Courageous (1974) and Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes (1987). 

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Visit to Dockwa Headquarters


As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Dockwa and everything they’ve done to make cruising easier and more flexible. Last winter, I struck up a loose content-sharing partnership with Becky at Dockwa. Since I was in California and Becky was on the East Coast, until this trip we'd only spoken by phone, text, and email. Just before lunch I texted her to tell her we were in Newport and it turned out she was too, so after lunch Mrs. Horne and I visited the Dockwa office at the Newport Yachting Center.

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The End of Our Vacation

It was a magical 3-day mini vacation, and perhaps the spontaneity of it all made it even more special. We’re not scheduled to return until Labor Day, but who knows, we may just take off again and head south!


- Dave

 

Thanks again to Dave Horne of MyBuzzardsBay for sharing his mini-vacation in Newport, Rhode Island! Check out David's other feature "Where to Dock & Dine in Wareham Harbor" on the Dockwa Blog. 

Post by Amanda Jones

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