Okay okay, I ate at the Black Pearl Restaurant...again. You can stamp “tourist” onto my forehead, but their New England clam chowder is too amazing to pass up. I stumbled out satisfied and wandered into the colorful gallery/art studio, Art on the Wharf. Perhaps it was this tourist-guilt that compelled me to ask artist-owner, Tony Gill (pictured below), for some locals’ suggestions, but it was well worth the inquiry. He had heard the question before and quickly handed me a sheet of paper titled “Tony’s Best Bets.” I now had my work cut out for me.

I noticed that a few of the wonderful places on his list (see Flo’s Clam Shack and Salvation Café) were already covered by Travel + Leisure (a big pat on our back, I do say). He noted the always-stunning Rough Point as his favorite along the jaw-dropping Cliff Walk.

My favorite of his suggestions, however, was the Newport Spice Company. This brand new shop sells their herbs, spices, and flavored sugars in traditional packaging, elegantly labeled with the store’s name. Can you think of a more “tasteful” souvenir? Okay, I got that pun from Tony Gill’s list too. If you want to know what else is on that great list for this terrific town, you’ll have to check out his storefront and hope he has an extra copy laying around. Take home one of his fantastic boat paintings while you’re at it!

Joe Harper is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.