I've stayed in Newport many times. I would recommend you stay there. There are lots of B&Bs, restaurants, sites to see, things to do etc. Don't get me wrong Providence is nice... just more low key and fewer things to do. If you stay in Newport you could easily drive up to Providence if you wanted to. Providence does have a free event called 'Waterfire' during the summer that is getting rave reviews.
Yes you've found the one problem with Newport -- few inexpensive accommodations! We used to go 2 or 3 times a year but had to give up going as much after the affordable B&B we used went super upscale when it was sold. We've stayed in Middleton a few times. Most of the hotels there are close to Newport so if you have a car no problem to get into Newport. I would check the reviews here on TA for any hotel in Middleton you are considering. Just remember there will be some negative reviews since these are more budget oriented. I did also read about some people having luck renting some time share units in Newport for much cheaper rates per night but I don't have any experience with this.
By answering "Yes" I didn't mean to book right away... Definitely consider and research options before booking the TravelLodge... sorry if I confused my answer.
Thanks sedum37, I am still doing my research. Best Western in Newport has something available over the weekend. Its not exactly the Waldorf but location and price is quite reasonable. I'll be out all day and night so the hotel esthetics (or the lack of it) is not going to be problem.
Yes one drawback of Middleton is that you do need a car. Some of the hotels are probably only a 3 mile walk (guess?) but it is along a busy road that wouldn't be the best to walk along. One reason we loved staying in Newport -- We'd leave the car parked for the whole weekend and walk everywhere.
inoman you're probably driving up from NY?
Yes I am. Driving from Long Island.
Will have to take the short drive from Best Western or Travelodge and find parking at downtown Newport? Is parking hard to find?