This robust Victorian mansion built by naturalist Alexander Agassiz on the rocky fingertip where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic has managed, while evolving into a modern and luxurious compound, to maintain a distinct sense of being a private wellspring of that gossamer life that Newport invented. In other words, a stay among the compact, tawny coves and sweeping green lawns of Castle Hill Inn confers a sense of belonging to that glorious past. One can be a socialite at home here—a brisk gin and tonic delivered to your Adirondack chair, a Hinckley yacht burbling in the private harbor to whisk you off for a picnic cruise, your own little cottage overlooking the same hidden beach that Grace Kelly used to sneak down to for a sunbath and a swim. Or perhaps even more magically, you can bed down in the mansion’s Turret Room, the wood-paneled aerie where novelist Thornton Wilder frequently stayed, and from its windows spy (as he did) eight lighthouses as they wink slyly in the velvet New England night.
Get here It’s a 45-minute drive from the Providence/Warwick, Rhode Island, airport. Stay here The original Agassiz mansion has seven guest rooms; the historic Chalet has an upstairs suite that sleeps four and a guest room downstairs that sleeps two. The new but historically apt Beach Houses sleep four; Beach Cottages sleep two to three; and Harbor Houses sleep two. Rates start at $295; 888-466-1355 or castlehillinn.com. Inside tip Beat the traffic (and travel in style) to Newport’s many shops and sites via the M/V Mistress, Castle Hill’s private motor launch.