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“Around R.I.” is a regular feature highlighting things to do, see, and try in the Ocean State. Tell us what you’d like us to check out by sending an e-mail to RInews@globe.com.

NEWPORT, R.I. — In a year without a pandemic, Newport, Rhode Island, would be gearing up for its annual Winter Festival at this very moment. A week of festivities that normally includes a polo match on the beach and ice carving demonstrations, Newport Winter Festival would have been marking its 33rd consecutive event starting on Feb. 14. That doesn’t mean, though, that Newport is closed for the season. What seems like Newport’s quietest time of year is actually full of indoor and outdoor activities. The only difference is that this year, they’re socially distanced. Here are 10 things you can do in Newport to create a Winter Festival of your own.


Have a S’Mores Party

Through the winter, Castle Hill Inn is offering outdoor s’mores experiences. You get a fire pit for two hours, all the hot chocolate and cider you can drink, and a plate of fancy s’mores ingredients. (Have you ever tried swapping a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the chocolate? You haven’t lived.) Two households can share a fire pit, so you can go with friends while still staying safe. 590 Ocean Dr., 401-849-3800

Ride a Horse on a Snowy Beach

Newport Equestrian Academy offers guided trail rides on Third Beach, even in winter. The trail offers views of St. George’s Castle, built in 1910 at St. George’s School in Middletown. 287 Third Beach Rd., Middletown, 401-837-4188

Sip the Fanciest Hot Chocolate

The Hot Chocolate Bar at The Chanler at Cliff Walk has become a winter staple in Newport, with the luxury hotel creating the most over-the-top and delicious hot chocolate you can imagine. This year’s offerings are dark chocolate with espresso beans and milk chocolate with dulce de leche, both with housemade marshmallows and optional liquor pairings. The hot chocolate bar is an outdoor walk-up experience, available Wednesdays through Sundays with no reservations necessary. 117 Memorial Boulevard, 401-847-1300


Go on a Goat Hike

In warmer weather, Simmons Farm in Middletown offers goat yoga classes where your soon-to-be furry friends surround you while you’re going through asanas. In the winter, you can take them on a goat hike, where you can take a goat by a leash and explore the farm in a whole different way, including views of Narragansett Bay. Each timed ticket includes admission for an adult and two kids and ends with hot chocolate made with farm-fresh milk. 1942 West Main Rd., Middletown, 401-848-9910

Newport Historical Tours offers socially-distanced walking tours through Newport, Rhode Island, on Saturdays, including a tour of the Common Burial Ground.
Newport Historical Tours offers socially-distanced walking tours through Newport, Rhode Island, on Saturdays, including a tour of the Common Burial Ground.Discover Newport

Learn About Newport’s Past

Newport Historical Tours offers socially-distanced walking tours on Saturdays, including a tour of the Common Burial Ground, focused on the early residents who established the Newport we know now, and Golden to Gilded, about Newport’s “golden” Colonial age and “gilded” age of building its grand summer cottages. 127 Thames St., 401-841-8770

Stroll Newport’s Restaurants

Seasonal food tours are popular in Newport, even in winter. The Newport Winter Foodies Stroll is a shorter, three-quarter mile route on Fridays and Saturdays in February and March, with stops for tastings with wine pairings at three restaurants along Thames Street. 25 Channing St., 401-619-3019

Spy Winter Birds in a Sanctuary


Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown has miles of walking paths for prime viewing of Aquidneck Island’s avian wildlife on self-guided tours. Once a month — this month happening on Valentine’s Day — the sanctuary offers a free, guided bird walk. 583 Third Beach Rd., Middletown. 401-846-2577

Heat it up with Glassblowing Lessons

Thames Glass, Thomas Buechner’s glassblowing studio, offers small group lessons where you can learn to make a simple paperweight (which only takes about 10 minutes) to a more complex vase (which takes about 40 minutes). If you want to watch the process but not get near molten glass yourself, Buechner offers demonstrations on weekdays and some weekends. 688 Thames St., 401-846-0576

Elevate Your Cocktail Game

On Thursday nights, Hotel Viking’s One Bellevue restaurant hosts a Cocktail Club. The small group tastes three spirits, and learns to make a cocktail paired with chef’s canapes. February events celebrate National Margarita Day and World Bartender Day, and March events celebrate female distillers for Women’s History Month. One Bellevue Ave., 401-847-3300

Appreciate the Classics

The Brenton offers Classic Movie Thursdays through March, with films like Some Like it Hot paired with classic cocktails. Cocktails start at 4 p.m. and the movie begins at 7 p.m. Dinner — and popcorn — are available while you watch. 31 America’s Cup Ave., 401-849-3100