Bowen’s Wharf is a full-service, year-round marina and wharf located in Newport, Rhode Island. The wharf offers waterfront dining, shopping, and tours of Bowen’s Wharf, often referred to as “the Anchor of Newport.” Originally known as Steven’s Wharf after the ship chandler Robert Stevens, the wharf is one of the first natural harbors in use in New England. It was once a busy seaport dating back to 1760 and was a bustling hub of trade with countries from all over the world. The wharf lies just in front of Newport’s Historic Hill and can be reached via bus and shuttle services as well as cruise ship. Dinghy tie-up is offered free of charge and there is a parking lot in close proximity.
Attractions and things to do
Located in the marina is the Bowen’s Wharf Pilot House. This is where visitors can rent boats and harbor tours from the waterfront docks outside. Further rental offers are bicycle racks, vineyard tours, and scooters, and gifts and souvenirs as well as clothing and postcards are available for purchase. Official Bowen’s Wharf merchandise is also on sale, printed with the historical anchor emblem. Transient docking is available at the wharf with various rates for docking per season. Additional docking services, such as pump out, are available for a fee, while trash, recycling, and water services are free. Water taxis are available at the end of the pier. Bowen’s Landing, also known as Bowen’s Historic Ferry Landing, is the starting place for a number of tours and harbor cruises.
Shopping at the wharf is a popular experience and the piers are filled with 20 local restaurants and shops as well as galleries. For sweet treats, visitors can go to Anchor Toffee for their signature almond toffee or Cookie Jar for their freshly made cookies and baked goods. For gifts and art, the Kristen Coates store sells contemporary art and home collectibles, while the Sheldon Fine Art and Newport Art galleries are simply filled with contemporary art. Clothes shoppers can peruse an array of nautical and casual clothing stores, such as Sail Loft, Upper Deck Clothing, and Chace N’ Lulu, among others. Local craft beers are served at many of the restaurants and bars, with the Wharf Pub Newport offering a wide selection of local draft beers and unique wines. For jewelry, popular stores like Alex & Ani offer a range of jewelry for both men and women.
As befitting to the area and history, the wharf also includes nautically focused stores such as Ship’s Store and Rigging, whilst 11th Hour Racing on nearby America’s Cup Avenue connects those in the sailing community to promote and aid the local marine environment. Handmade gifts are sold at Newport Scrimshanders, where raw materials such as wood and shell are carved to create unique and intricate creations, a discipline that has been practiced for over 100 years.
Gansett Cruises, located at 2 Bowen’s Landing, offers sunset cruises and harbor tours. Each tour is narrated and lasts 90 minutes while providing beer, wine, or cocktails as well as local New England snacks. Alternatively, visitors can check out Fish ‘n Tales at 31 Bowen’s Landing for a fishing trip or lobster tour. The tours and trips set out with a captain and crew on the Northeastern fishing vessel for a sail around Narragansett Bay. Tickets for cultural excursions or harbor tours can be booked at the Welcome Center for Newport, which is situated at 12 Bowen’s Wharf. Gift certificates for use on tours, in stores, and in restaurants can also be purchased here, as can souvenirs.
Dating back to the 17th century, Bowen’s Wharf has always been a contributing factor in the city’s life and business activities. During the American Revolution, the town and its harbor were occupied by the British, who held it for 3 years. The HMS Rose prevented supplies from being transported, and this resulted in the formation of the United States Navy. During the early 1800s, merchants took on more business, while interest in the coastline and harbor saw new life breathed into the area. Once the Revolutionary War had finished, the wharf became home to an active candle and wax industry and continued to trade with those from all over the world until around 1850. Whilst the cobblestone streets, 18th century wharf buildings, and walled granite quays are all historical landmarks from the past, the 19th century brick buildings offer a unique contrast in age and architectural styles.
13 I Whf, Newport, RI 02840, Phone: 401-849-2243
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