In beautiful Newport, Rhode Island, the Seamen’s Church Institute at Bowen’s Wharf stands apart as one of the most historic buildings in the surrounding area, the only still used for its original purpose. The Seamen’s Church Institute was founded in 1919 as a resource to those in the maritime profession and moved to its current location in 1930, a beautiful three-story Georgian Revival structure.
Now, the Institute is part-community resource, part-café and part-hotel. I had the pleasure of experiencing this third aspect of the Institute’s current purpose just recently.
The Crow’s Nest sits on the entire third floor of the Institute and can be reached via the front lobby during opening hours or through a rear, guests-only entrance after hours. Easily one of the property’s best features is its convenient location, right there on the Wharf. I was in town to attend the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival and the festivities were, quite literally, right on my doorstep. There’s a handful of shops, restaurants and bars only a few feet away.
In contrast, the guestrooms are a welcome respite from the hubbub of the passing tourists below. Each room has a minimalistic, maritime theme, with lots of wooden accents and a color palette of blues. With so few guestrooms, the halls are quiet and you’re not likely to hear a peep out of your fellow travelers. While I’m not sure about the other rooms, mine featured a beautiful view of the wharf and water beyond, and I loved waking up to the sight of docked boats in the distance.
Amenities include free WiFi, but you may notice something missing from your room — none of the guestrooms offer televisions. There is, however, a library on site, which you can peruse at your leisure. Regardless, I found it wasn’t an amenity I missed at all and, in fact, I realized what an unnecessary distraction it can become when you’re traveling.
While it wasn’t open during my stay, the Institute’s new Discovery Deck premiered Nov. 1 on the second floor. From the details I’ve glimpsed, I’d say it’s well worth a visit even if you’re not staying on the property. An interactive, educational exhibit showcasing the maritime industry of Newport and Narragansett Bay, it’s open to the public and appeals to all ages.
The Crow’s Nest
18 Market Square
Newport, RI 02840
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