So, despite a rocky beginning, we did get to spend a day in Newport. I knew about the yachts and the famous Gilded Age mansions, but I didn't realize that it's also just a very charming New England town, full of old houses and little parks. There's a trolley, $6 for an all-day pass, that is blessedly air-conditioned, so you can actually see a lot in one day.
We decided to skip the mansions -- it was too gorgeous a day to spend inside looking at furniture. This is the Cliff Walk, which is described as a hiking trail, but is more like a crowded sidewalk with above-average views. (Okay, spectacular views.) You pass several of the famous mansions along the way, so you can admire the architecture and manicured lawns the size of football fields, but still enjoy the sea breezes.