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Thomas Tew Rum Revives A Corner of Rhode Island’s Triangle Trade

Archive for June, 2009

Thomas Tew Rum Revives A Corner of Rhode Island’s Triangle Trade

June 24th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 24 Jun 2009 13:45:39

By Thomas J. Morgan
Journal Staff Writer
For years, rum formed one leg of the infamous triangle trade — Caribbean molasses to Rhode Island, rum to Africa, slaves to the Caribbean, until it died out in the middle of the 19th century.

The Newport Distilling Co. revived the best part of the spirits tradition with Thomas Tew Rum, a golden-dark brew that comes in numbered bottles and performs best savored in the manner of a single malt scotch. Its name derives from a 17th-century Rhode Island pirate.

Brent D. Ryan, president of Newport Distilling and of Coastal Extreme Brewing Co., brewers of Newport Storm beer, has been at it quietly for three years. Ryan says the company “recognized over the years that there was a connection with rum — there were restaurants called the Rhumbline and the Rumrunner. We would talk to people and they’d say, ‘Oh yeah, rum was big here years ago.’ I did some digging.

Thomas Tew Rum is distilled in Middletown, Rhode Island and aged for two years in oak barrels.
“Two hundred and fifty years ago Newport was the rum capital of the world, and most of the best rum was being distilled here,” he said.. “We became intrigued with the idea of doing distilling — we found out that a lot of the equipment we had for making beer we could use to ferment molasses.”

The company located a still, and took out the first state distillery license in more than 135 years, Ryan said.

Related links
There once was a pirate from Newport
“The last one we could find a record of was the John Dyer Distillery on Dyer Avenue in Providence,” he says. “It closed in 1872, The last one in Newport was the Whitehorne Distillery, run by brothers Samuel and John Whitehorne. They shut down in 1842. In 1769 there were 22 distilleries operating in Newport. That’s a lot of distilleries. We looked at all this and said this is something that really should be done in Rhode Island again.”

The distillery shares a cramped space with the brewery in an industrial complex on Oliphant Lane in Middletown. Ryan hopes to move both operations to expanded quarters in Newport later this year. Plans include a retail shop and an area for visitors — the Middletown location is too restricted to provide tours.

The unmistakable aroma of fermentation salutes the nose at close quarters in the distillery. To one side sits a stack of 54-gallon barrels of French and American oak, most bunged and numbered.

“These are bourbon barrels from Labrot & Graham in Kentucky,” makers of Woodford Reserve bourbon, Ryan says.

By Kentucky law, the company cannot re-use the barrels, so Newport Distillery buys them.

Because the rum further changes the barrels flavor profile, the distillery sells them to home brewers of beer, or uses them for displays.

The creation of any alcoholic drink begins with fermentation. For rum, a molasses-water mix, known as the “wash,” ferments inside Newport Distilling’s still.

The still, a gleaming copper kettle, resembles an old-fashioned potbelly stove with a short pipe sticking out of the top — true to its shape it’s actually known as a pot still. Its 105 gallons of wash simmers away happily as Ryan works.

The other style of still is called a column still, a taller version used for larger quantities, a Gulliver versus a Lilliputian.

“We do it on a batch process,” Ryan says. “A column still is a continuous process. A pot still makes a heavier, more flavorful product. The column still makes a more neutral spirit and is more efficient. The big names — Bacardi, Jim Beam, Cuervo — use the continuous column.”

When the wash reaches 10-percent alcohol, Ryan says, the distilling process springs to life.

“The idea is to separate the alcohol from the wash,” he says. “Ethanol boils at 78C. Water boils at 100C, so ethanol vapors work their way up the short column. Then the vapors go to a condenser.”

The condenser cools the vapor back to liquid form. The result: A stream of clear liquid arcs from the condenser into a container the shape and size of a fire extinguisher. The aroma of rum is powerful here.

A technician sinks a hydrometer into the distillate to test the alcohol content. It’s much like the gadget used to determine the specific gravity of car-battery acid.

“The finished product is 42 percent alcohol,” Ryan explains. That’s 84 proof. The rum is aged for about two years, or until Ryan is satisfied with the taste.

“We do single-barrel rum,” he said, meaning that no blending takes place. “When the barrel is finished aging, we package it without blending. It’s a very small-scale way of making spirit.”

The bottles are filled via a rotary device and are hand-labeled, corked and sealed.

“After we cork the bottles we dip them upside down in that deep fryer,” Ryan says. “That’s melted wax in there.”

With such a small operation, each barrel can have its own characteristics, and some barrels age earlier than others. To determine whether a barrel is ready for bottling, testing is required. That’s testing as in tasting.

Ryan is the taste-tester.

“It’s a tough job,” he says, “but somebody has to do it.”

Details: Thomas Tew Rum is available in many Rhode Island liquor stores and some bars and restaurants.

Recipe: Champagne Punch1


Ice (in block form, or use large chunks)

6 ounces fresh orange juice

2 ounces fresh lime juice

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

4 ounces simple syrup

6 ounces light rum

6 ounces dark rum

One 750 ml bottle brut Champagne, chilled

Orange, lime and lemon slices for garnish

Put the block of ice in a large punch bowl. If using ice chunks, fill the bowl just under halfway.

Add the juices and simple syrup. With a large spoon or ladle, stir 10 times (whichever direction you choose —the curse doesn’t get specific on stirring).

Add the rums. With the same large spoon or ladle, stir 10 more times.

Add the Champagne and stir very gently. Add lots of orange, lime and lemon slices.

Ladle into punch glasses, white wine glasses or historic goblets, working to get a little fruit in each receptacle. Serve immediately.

Serves 10.

From Wine Cocktails by A.J. Rathburn

Recipe: Skinny Rum Punch1


1 ounce white rum

2 ounces light orange juice

1 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce dark rum

Add white rum and the juices to a highball or other cocktail glass with ice, then pour the dark rum on top and let it flow through the cocktail for effect.

From Skinnytinis by Teresa Marie Howes.

Recipe: The Beachbum1


1 ounce light rum

1 ounce dark rum

1/2 ounce apricot brandy

1/2 ounce almond syrup

3/4 ounces lime juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with cherry / orange flag.

From Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide

Recipe: Bahama Mama1


1/2 ounce dark rum

1/2 ounce coconut liqueur

1/4 ounce 151-proof rum

1/4 ounce coffee liqueur

1/2 lemon juice

4 ounces pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients and pour into ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a strawberry or a maraschino cherry.

From Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide

Recipe: Bajito1


4 fresh mint leaves

4 fresh basil leaves

5 slices fresh lime

1 tablespoon superfine sugar (or simple syrup)

3 ounces dark rum

In shaker glass muddle mint and basil with lime slices and sugar or syrup. Top with ice and them rum. Shake well and strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Store in fridge.

From Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide

The Coastal Extreme Brewing Company is about ten minutes away from The Spring Seasons Inn where our classic Victorian Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast lodging offers amenities that will make your stay memorable. Candlelight breakfast, Jacuzzi style baths and our location close to waterfront dining, shopping and attractions make our Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast perfect for your Rhode Island escape.

Art Scene by Bill van Siclen: New paintings of classic R.I. landscapes

June 24th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 24 Jun 2009 12:35:43

By Bill van Siclen, Providence Journal

There was a time, just over a century ago, when Rhode Islanders couldn’t spend a day at the beach without bumping into a famous artist. There was Martin Johnson Heade, who came to paint the thunderstorms rumbling across Narragansett Bay. There was William Trost Richards, who painted the surf breaking near his home on Jamestown Island. And there were artists like John La Farge and John Frederick Kensett, who explored the rocky cliffs and coasts of Portsmouth and Middletown.

Nowadays, of course, artists still visit these storied locations. Still, it’s been a while since cutting-edge painters — and Heade, Richards and La Farge were all cutting-edge by the standards of their day — spent some quality time painting and sketching along the Rhode Island coast.

Sue McNally, a Newport artist whose work is the focus of a wonderful solo exhibit at the Newport Art Museum, aims to change all that. A longtime fan of painters such as Heade and La Farge, McNally decided to test her own (considerable) painting skills against her 19th-century heroes.

Sue McNallyÂ’s painting Hanging Rock Sunset is part of an exhibit of her work at the Newport Art Museum.

To do that, she revisited many of the locations favored by 19th-century artists, including landmarks such as Hanging Rock and Paradise Valley. She also consulted previous works by the likes of Kensett and La Farge, as well as more obscure talents such as David Maitland Armstrong and George Quincy Thorndike. (For the record, Thorndike was a Boston-born artist who settled in Newport around 1850; Armstrong, meanwhile, was a New Yorker who spent most of his career in Italy and France.)

At the same time, McNally’s goal wasn’t simply to mimic what other artists had done. Instead, the idea was at once more challenging and, ultimately, more rewarding: to channel the spirit of 19th-century painting while still maintaining her identity as a 21st-century artist.

About a dozen examples of this past-meets-present approach are now on display in NAM’s main Griswold House gallery. In many cases, the specific locations and topographical features that inspired the paintings will be familiar to anyone who’s spent much time wandering along the Rhode Island coast, especially Aquidneck Island. But McNally’s style, which combines bright, neon-hued colors with a playful Pop Art sensibility, also forces us to see these familiar landmarks through new eyes.

A good example is Hanging Rock Sunset, a painting that turns the famous rock formation into something akin to a psychedelic rock poster. In contrast to the muted greens and browns favored by 19th-century artists, McNally uses an array of more vibrant colors. Lush pinks and maroons, for example, dominate the cattail-filled marsh that sits at the rock’s base. The craggy profile of Hanging Rock itself is rendered in darker shades of blue and black, highlighted with streaks of electric blue and green.

As for the sky, its mix of lime greens and pale salmon pinks might seem better suited to the Caribbean than the North Atlantic. Still, the whole thing works. Granted , this may not be the Hanging Rock you’re used to seeing in old paintings and postcards. But who’s to say that McNally’s version, with its simple, stylized shapes and candy-hued palette, isn’t just as true to the spirit of the place?

Other paintings take similar liberties.

The phrase “fall color,” for example, takes on a whole new meaning in Valley Floor, one of several large multi-part paintings in the exhibit. Though the scene looks familiar — almost anyone who’s taken a walk in the New England woods has seen similar tangles of trees, vines and shrubs — McNallay’s colors, which range from bright pinks and purples for the trees to luscious reds, oranges and pinks for the ground, transform it into something dream-like and otherworldly. If Paul Gauguin had decided to skip Tahiti and settle on Aquidneck Island, he might have done something like this.

Perhaps the show’s most striking work is a night view of Middletown’s Sachuest Point. Titled Paradise at Night, it has an almost childlike simplicity. The waves rolling in toward Sachuest’s horseshoe-shaped beach, for example, are rendered — in classic paint-by-numbers fashion — as a series of flat bands of color. The moonlit clouds, meanwhile, are little more than glowing splotches of white.

Yet the painting itself is far from simple. Indeed, Paradise at Night has some of the spooky beauty of another nighttime scene: Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night.

That’s not to say McNally can do no wrong. While some of her subjects lend themselves to easy stylization — notably the waves in Paradise at Night and the playful polka-dot-shaped clouds that hover over many of her scenes — others are less successful. That’s especially true of some of the smaller paintings, where her efforts to depict a snowy field in mid-blizzard (Feb. 3:40 P.M.) or a spring meadow in full blossom (Spring) look more like sketches than finished paintings.

Still, these are minor complaints.

In these new paintings, McNally manages to pay her respects to some of the giants of American art without submerging her own artistic identity. It’s a brave, possibly even foolhardy mission, but McNally makes it work. No doubt fellow painter-surf bums like Heade and La Farge (several of whose works appear in postcard-size miniatures alongside McNally’s canvases) would approve.

While there’s plenty to see at the Newport Art Museum these days — in addition to the Sue McNally show, the museum is also exhibiting works from the collection of former Fleet Bank CEO Terry Murray and his wife — don’t miss François Poisson’s small one-man show near the museum’s front desk. A RISD-trained artist who now lives in Connecticut, Poisson makes toy-like sculptures and mixed media pieces that walk the line between childhood innocence and adult experience.

It’s a duality that’s summed up in Poisson’s favorite image — a cartoon bunny with puffy cheeks and an enigmatic, Mona Lisa-ish smile. When you first meet him, it’s easy to take this quirky little creature as a benign, even slightly comical presence. But the longer you look — and look you must, since the bunny appears on almost everything Poisson does, from a series of portraits to a collection of wooden cars and trucks — the stranger the bunny gets.

By the time you’re done, you may never look at Peter Rabbit or Bugs Bunny the same way again.

“Picture Paradise: Paintings by Sue McNally” runs through Aug. 12 and “François Poisson: The Bunny Car and Friends” through Aug. 23 at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave. Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-5 and Sun. noon-5. Admission: adults $10, seniors $8, students and military with I.D. $6, five and under free. Contact: (401) 848-8200 or

At The Spring Seasons Inn, our classic Victorian Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast lodging offers amenities that will make your stay memorable. Candlelight breakfast, Jacuzzi style baths and our location close to waterfront dining, shopping and attractions make our Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast perfect for your Rhode Island escape. we are only a five minute walk to the Newport Art Museum.

Norman Rockwell in Newport Rhode Island

June 21st, 2009 by billfarrell

Sun, 21 Jun 2009 13:36:39The National Museum of American Illustration, located on Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue, a short distance from The Spring Seasons Inn is hosting a special exhibition entitled, Norman Rockwell, American Imagist, Rhode Island’s first ever Normal Rockwell exhibition from June  6th – August 31st, 2009.

Norman Rockwelll at work. See his work at the National Museum of American Illustration oin Newport, Rhode Island.

Norman Rockwell’s heartwarming depictions of everyday life made him the best-known and most beloved American artist of the 20th century. He lived and worked through one of the most eventful periods in the nation’s history and his paintings vividly chronicled those times. His images often served as a mirror of American life, reflecting not who we really were, so much as what we thought and felt – and what we subconsciously endeavored to become.

Norman Rockwell: American Imagist exhibits a remarkable collection of selected original art spanning six decades, providing us with a comprehensive look at his career.

Rockwell was a storyteller during a time when so-called “serious” art was neither narrative nor representational. His painted stories were folksy, humorous, and often topical, but Rockwell was more than just a chronicler of the times. He had a genius for knowing which stories to tell, how to tell them and what details to emphasize. It has been said that a Rockwell painting does not require an explanation, a caption or even a title. It speaks to us directly.

Although Rockwell is most associated with small-town America, he was in fact born and raised in New York City. At 21, he moved to New Rochelle, New York, to be near his idol, the notable illustrator and icon-maker, J. C. Leyendecker. He set up a studio and began to sell freelance work to magazines such as: Life, Literary Digest and Country Gentleman.

In 1916, at the age of 22, Rockwell painted his first cover for the prestigious Saturday Evening Post beginning a long (1916-1963) and fruitful relationship. Most readers immediately recognized his covers, and responded well to the charming portraits of American life. Readers became fans and followed his covers through the Depression years and World War II.

In 1943, the entire nation joined together when he created the Four Freedoms, which toured in an exhibition raising $135 million for the war effort through the sale of war bonds.

The Saturday Evening Post covers became Rockwell’s greatest legacy. Yet he parted ways with the Saturday Evening Post in 1963 and began to work for Look magazine, where he had more creative freedom. The Look illustrations included his first socially conscious work concerning civil rights, space travel and other issues of national concern.

Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his life with his wife Molly in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On November 8, 1978, he died in Stockbridge at the age of 84, leaving an unfinished painting on his easel. Norman Rockwell was an American Imagist, whose art captured America and ultimately the world.

Some critics have called his art too sentimental to be taken seriously, but the fact that his work continues to resonate and find new audiences in the 21st century says something else. There is a universality to his appeal, suggesting that Rockwell’s real subjects were not simply “grandfathers, puppy dogs – stuff like that,” as the artist once said, but something larger, if less tangible.

This exhibition permits us to review selected works in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. These original works give the viewer a chance to see Rockwell’s accomplished technique and superb craftsmanship, which are sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions of his work.

Norman Rockwell: American Imagist asserts Rockwell’s place as a great American artist/ illustrator and suggests that his real and most enduring subject matter was capturing The American Spirit.

This exhibition, curated by Judy Goffman Cutler and organized by Laurence S. Cutler along with the American Illustrators Gallery and the National Museum of American Illustration, gives us the opportunity to experience Rockwell close up and marvel at his painterly skills.

While visiting the National Museum of American Illustration, plan to stay at The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport, Rhode Island , where your exclusive Rhode Island adventure awaits you.

East Coast Swing: On the Bay

June 17th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 17 Jun 2009 22:12:35East Coast Swing: On the Bay
– Two night accommodation for two including a full breakfast.
– Harbor tour, Gansett Cruises or Sightsailing (an additional $10.00)
– After your harbor cruise, you’re only a few short steps to a romantic dinner at Fluke Restaurant on Banisters Wharf ($60 voucher).

For Victoria’s Room, midweek cost is $330, weekend cost is $430, taxes not included.
For the Venice Suite, midweek cost is $430, weekend cost is $530, taxes not included.
For the Newport Suite, midweek cost is $580, weekend cost is $630, taxes not included.

Please reserve by phone for any of these packages.

Also, The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport, Rhode Island has discounted tickets available to:
Rough Point – Newport home of Doris Duke.
International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum
Astor’s Beechwood Mansion
Belcourt Castle
Preservation Society of Newport Mansions
Easton’s Beach Snack Bar

Two Newport Museums Host Shows of American Art

June 10th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 21:55:58Works by Ashcan School artist Robert Henri — such as Portrait of Catherine Omalley — are included in the Newport Art MuseumÂ’s “The Art of Life” exhibit.Thanks to some lucky timing, two Bellevue Avenue neighbors — the National Museum of American Illustration and the Newport Art Museum — are hosting summer exhibits that not only showcase American art but celebrate the depth and variety of the American experience. If these shows don’t make you want to break out the Fourth of July bunting a few weeks early, nothing will.

Certainly, the timing couldn’t be better for “Norman Rockwell: American Imagist,” a much-acclaimed traveling exhibit that opened June 6 at the illustration museum. Not only is Rockwell’s artistic reputation at its highest point in decades — nowadays even highbrow critics find it had to dismiss him as a mere “illustrator” — but his trademark blend of wry humor and gentle populism feels especially welcome in these topsy-turvy times. (One wonders, for example, what this outspoken supporter of America’s civil rights struggle would have made of the election of the country’s first black president.)

Organized by museum co-founders Laurence and Judy Cutler, the NMAI show features more than 60 Rockwell works, including dozens of rarely seen pieces on loan from private collections. Highlights range from Rockwell’s first-ever magazine cover (a rather nondescript fishing scene commissioned by a forerunner of Field and Stream) to later illustrations that tackle more politically sensitive topics such as civil rights, school desegregation, foreign aid and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

(If that makes “Norman Rockwell: American Imagist” sound more like a political debate than an art exhibit, don’t worry. The show, which is coming off a sold-out run at the Naples (Fla.) Museum of Art, also features many of Rockwell’s now-iconic scenes of small-town life.)

By contrast, “The Art of Life: Selections from the Terrence and Suzanne Murray Collection,” focuses on two subjects that Rockwell mostly avoided: seascapes and city scenes.

Drawn from the collection of former Fleet Boston CEO Terry Murray and his wife, the show, which opens Saturday at the Newport Art Museum, features a wide range of American-made artworks — everything from a dramatic shipwreck scene by 19th-century painter William Bradford to a cache of lithographs by the great (though still underrated) Ashcan School artist George Bellows.

Other highlights include paintings by Bellows’ fellow Ashcan School artists John Sloan (including a wonderful Impressionist-tinged view of sailboats on Gloucester Harbor) and Robert Henri (whose charming portrait of a young Irish girl is one of the stars of the exhibit.)

Even some lesser-known artists manage to make a splash — notably Leon Kroll, a turn-of-the-century artist who contributes lively, paint-speckled view of the Maine coast, and Mabel Woodward, a Rhode Island painter who more than holds her own against the show’s heavyweights.

Like most collectors’ shows, “The Art of Life” has some thin patches. (Though the Murrays are avid collectors of Ashcan School artists such as Bellows and Henri, their collection doesn’t have the kind of thematic or even qualitative consistency you’d expect to find in a traditional museum exhibition. On the other hand, the Bellows lithographs alone are worth the price of admission — especially the iconic 1921 boxing print The White Hope and an equally good revival-meeting scene, Billy Sunday.)

In fact, both shows have some quirky aspects.

“The Art of Life,” for example, freely mixes works from the Ashcan School, a movement that celebrated the grit and glamour of Jazz Age New York, with paintings of ships (Bradford), sailors (Sloan) and sun-bathers (Woodword). It’s an unusual approach — call it an artistic version of surf and turf — although NAM curator Nancy Grinnell does her best to make sure everyone gets along.

The NMAI show, meanwhile, is missing some of Rockwell’s most famous works — notably the great World War II-era paintings known as The Four Freedoms and the equally famous Triple Self-Portrait. (Fortunately, all five paintings — and, yes, all of Rockwell’s cover illustrations started out as oil paintings — are on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.)

Following the show’s convoluted layout can also be a problem. Things start off well, with roughly a dozen paintings and other works installed in the museum’s newly restored Tiffany Loggia (so-called because Tiffany & Co. designed the nature-themed ceiling murals). But keeping track of the rest of the show, which wends through a series of upstairs rooms before ending in a basement gallery, requires some advanced orienteering skills. Prepare to backtrack more than once.

Still, these are minor complaints.

At NMAI, the Cutlers have put together an exhibit that spans nearly the entirety of Rockwell’s five-decade career. True, America’s greatest illustrator could be hopelessly sentimental at times — witness The Runaway, a 1922 painting showing a teary-eyed boy being comforted by a circus clown and his faithful dog. Though beautifully painted — the clown’s polka-dot suit, for example, practically pops off the canvas — the scene is as cloyingly sweet (and about as nourishing) as a gumdrop.

Yet the show, which is sponsored by Newport’s William Vareika Fine Arts gallery, also features more ambitious works. A case in point is Bridge Game — The Bid, an aerial view of four bridge players that’s a marvel of technical skill and sly sophistication. Created in 1948 for Rockwell’s longtime employer, The Saturday Evening Post, it’s the kind of image — at once mundane and magical — that Rockwell excelled at.

Even the show’s Where’s Waldo layout turns out to be a plus. While tracking down individual Rockwell paintings can be a chore, it’s also helps showcase works by other illustrators such as J.C. Leyendecker, Howard Pyle and Maxfield Parrish, all of whom Rockwell admired.

“The Art of Life,” meanwhile, probably could have used some extra editing, especially the beach scenes. Still, there are some wonderful pieces scattered around NAM’s Cushing Memorial galleries: Bradford’s dramatic, Rembrandt-esque The Wreck of an Emigrant Ship; a lovely nude study by William Glackens, in which he seems to be channeling the work of French artist Pierre Bonnard; a small gouache and pencil study by Winslow Homer; and of course anything by Bellows.

So, yes, both shows probably could have been better. But if you love art — and especially if you love American art — you’ll put “Norman Rockwell: American Imagist” and “The Art of Life: Selections from the Terrence and Suzanne Murray Collection” on your summer to-do list.

“Norman Rockwell: American Imagist” runs through Aug. 31 at the National Museum of American Illustration, 492 Bellevue Ave., Newport. Hours: the museum is open Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 11-4 for general admission and for a 2 p.m. guided tour on Friday; all other times are by reservation only. Admission: $18 adults, $16 seniors, $12 students with I.D. and $8 ages 5-12. Contact: (401) 851-8949, ext. 18 or

“The Art of Life: Selections from the Terrence and Suzanne Murray Collection” runs through Oct. 12 at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10-5 and Sunday noon-5. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 students and military with I.D., 5 and under admitted free. Contact: (401) 848-8200 or

Spring Seasons Inn is a Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast located in the heart of all of the exciting activities in Newport Rhode Island including the Newport Art Museum and the museum of American Illustration.

Newport Jazz, Folk Festivals Returning To Roots

June 4th, 2009 by billfarrell

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 13:34:57Lineups for the Newport folk and jazz festivals indicate both are returning to their roots. Pete Seeger who will be turning 90 next month is scheduled to appear.

Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, who played the first Newport festival in 1959 and remain vital figures in the folk genre, are scheduled to perform again this year. Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie also are on the bill, along with more contemporary acts like the Decemberists and Iron and Wine.

“The whole concept of the folk festival is a reunion of the old people to celebrate 50 years of folk music in Newport — and to show how many young people are involved with folk music,” said 83-year-old George Wein, who founded both festivals a half-century ago.

He stepped forward to produce them again this year as they lost the backing of their longtime sponsor amid a flagging economy that’s made people think twice about traveling and spending money.

The jazz festival, meanwhile, will feature singers Tony Bennett and Etta James, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and the Dave Brubeck Quartet — a fixture at Newport.

The folk festival, which this year is formally known as George Wein’s Folk Festival 50, is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2. And George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 is scheduled for the following weekend. Both events will take place at Fort Adams State Park in Newport.

Both shows have a heralded history. Bob Dylan stunned the folk world in 1965 when he performed with an electric guitar, and the jazz festival has hosted Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra among others.

Wein hadn’t planned to produce the festivals again this year. He sold his production company in 2007 to the New York-based Festival Network, though he stayed on with the new owners.

But Festival Network was found in default of its contract with the state of Rhode Island earlier this year, and suddenly the future of the festivals was hazy. Wein said he came forward to “save” them.

“This is my life. To me, it’s not business anymore,” he said. “I’m not doing this to make money.”

A phone message left for Festival Network was not returned Thursday. But the company still lists the Newport festivals on its Web site and has previously indicated that it plans to be involved in producing shows in Rhode Island this summer.

Wein is proceeding without the festivals’ longtime sponsor, the JVC electronics company, which he said pulled out after running into financial troubles. He is bankrolling the concerts and expects to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on them.

“I’ve been spoiled all my life,” Wein said. “Sponsors have come to me. Now I just hope they’ll come again. They have to feel that what you’re doing has some significance and has some meaning.”

Wein said he doesn’t know what effect the economy will have on the events, but he promises that the quality won’t suffer.

“I have to put on my festival. It has to be a quality event,” he said. “It has to take care of the crowd.”

Spring Seasons Inn is a Newport Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast located in the heart of all of the exciting activities in Newport Rhode Island including the Newport Rhode Island Jazz Festival.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press.

International Tennis Hall of Fame To Honor "Peachy" Kellmeyer

June 3rd, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 22:00:01International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

NEWPORT, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum has announced that Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, is the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Golden Achievement Award. The Golden Achievement Award is given jointly by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation and presented annually on a worldwide basis to individuals who have made important contributions internationally to tennis in the fields of administration, promotion or education, and have devoted long and outstanding service to the sport.

Presentation of this year’s Golden Achievement Award will be made Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at the ITF Champions Dinner at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris, France in conjunction with Roland Garros (May 24-June 7). Presentation of the Golden Achievement Award will be made by Sir James Harvie-Watt, International Tennis Hall of Fame Executive Committee Member, and Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Also in attendance will be the past two Golden Achievement Award recipients, Juan Maria Tintore (2008) and Nancy Jeffett (2007).

Peachy Kellmeyer has made a tremendous contribution to the sport of tennis during her lifetime as a player, coach, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour executive and tireless pioneer for women’s rights in the sport. She has dedicated her life’s work to the sport of tennis, and has been an influential figure in women’s professional tennis for more than three decades. She has been instrumental in building the Tour into the global circuit and internationally popular sport that it is today, and has not only led the Tour’s operations, player and tournament relations, but also been at the center of all major Tour and Board policy decisions for the past 35 years.

Kellmeyer has been a senior executive with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour since 1973, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Tour Operations overseeing player commitments, the Tour calendar, overall Tour operations and a $3.5 million bonus pool. Kellmeyer officially retired at the end of 2008 however she continues working with the WTA as Tour Operations Executive Consultant.

Kellmeyer has been a key member in the leadership of women’s professional tennis since taking over as Executive Director of the Virginia Slims circuit in the mid-1970s, and has been part of the WTA Board of Directors in various capacities. It was during her tenure that women’s tennis exploded in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, when prize money, attendance, and worldwide exposure for the game skyrocketed. She played a pivotal role in the Tour’s successful and historic effort to achieve equal prize money; having brought the first women’s tennis event to Madison Square Garden; and in the development of the Tour’s new Roadmap circuit structure that will result in a shortened and streamlined Tour calendar featuring bigger events with more stars and rivalries beginning in 2009.

Another of Kellmeyer’s great achievements came while she was the Physical Education Director at Marymount College in Boca Raton, FL. In the fight for athletic scholarships for women, Kellmeyer spearheaded a lawsuit that ultimately led to the dismantling of the rule that prohibited athletic scholarships for female athletes at colleges across the nation. This landmark case paved the way for the historic creation of Title IX, and contributed greatly to the influx of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics in the United States.

Kellmeyer is a native of Charleston, West Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Miami. She also has a Master’s degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Past recipients of the Golden Achievement Award are: Brian Tobin of Australia (1999); Gil de Kermadec of France (2000); Pablo Llorens Reñaga of Spain (2001); Enrique Morea of Argentina (2002); J. Howard “Bumpy” Frazer of the United States (2003); John Curry of Great Britain (2004); Eiichi Kawatei of Japan (2005); James R. Cochrane of Great Britain (2006); Nancy P. Jeffett of the United States (2007); and Juan Maria Tintore of Spain (2008).

Nominations for the Golden Achievement Award are submitted by tennis federations and individuals from around the world, and then voted on by the Golden Achievement Award Selection Committee. For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or visit us online at

Newport’s Brick Alley Pub is still cozy and colorful

June 2nd, 2009 by billfarrell

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 22:05:45By Michael Janusonis

Providence Journal Arts Writer

Brick Alley’s spicy Portuguese Littlenecks are a customer favorite.

The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo

NEWPORT — The Newport International Film Festival is in full swing through Sunday and filmmakers and filmgoers alike may be looking for an easy dining spot.

The Brick Alley Pub, with its cheerful yellow-and-white- striped awnings, has been delighting customers for more than 28 years with a menu that ranges from burgers to steaks to seafood and chicken dishes. Once a frequent diner, I hadn’t visited for a couple of years and was startled by prices that now ranged from $24.95 to $29.95 for steaks and $25.95 for fried scallops. Still, many chicken, seafood and pasta items are in the $15.95 to $23.95 range. There are wonderful burgers and filling sandwiches from $7.95 to $10.95.

It’s a cozy place despite encompassing a warren of very different dining rooms — an airy front room, a wrap-around bar where you can drink and dine and hang out with politicians, yachtsmen or sailors on shore leave; a narrow room with booths that’s lined with retro posters and paraphernalia, including a program from the 1913 Navy Day where “Col. Theodore Roosevelt” spoke; a smaller back room, a front room opposite the bar that’s dominated by a huge soup and salad bar and the front end of a 1938 red pickup truck whose back end has been turned into a cooler.

Manager Tom Desmond has been at the Brick Alley Pub since a month after Ralph and Patricia Plumb opened it in December 1980. They immediately won fans, said Desmond, by introducing sky-high nacho platters to the City by the Sea, of which there are now five varieties. That’s why, Desmond added, Ralph’s license plate is NACHOS.

The Brick Alley Pub uses as many local ingredients as possible and, in that vein, I started with a Sakonnet Eye of the Storm wine ($5.25). Brick Alley holds a Wine Spectator Award. After a long day, the Pusser’s Painkiller ($6.75) also caught the eye — a generous pour of Pusser’s British Navy rum, coconut, pineapple and orange juices, topped with cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s strong, refreshing and yet pleasingly slightly sweet.

Because the menu reported that “the 50th anniversary issue of Bon Appetit had named Brick Alley’s Portuguese Littlenecks one of the 13 best recipes in the history of the magazine,” how could one resist? A bowl of 10 fat littlenecks had been steamed with chourico in a heady broth of white wine, garlic, olive oil, lemon and slim onion slices, with bits of green and red peppers and red pepper flakes. A delicious, slightly spicy mix, it was perfect for dunking with the otherwise tasteless slices of a baguette. I’d definitely order it again, though with the soup and salad bar that’s included with dinner entrees ($5 extra with a sandwich or burger), it might be too much food for some. The salad bar has a wide choice of fresh ingredients and the soup that day was a hearty barley-based Italian Wedding with tiny meatballs.

Southwestern Tilapia ($19.95) featured two good-sized fillets, bronzed from being sautéed with Southwestern spices and topped with a tangy chipotle-cilantro sauce that hinted of mustard. The fish sat atop a mound of rice that had been sautéed with black beans and red pepper, giving it a very spicy zing. On the side, creamed spinach added a mellow touch.

A yummy lobster roll ($17.95) had big chunks of claw and tail meat spilling out of a grilled frankfurter roll, but it could have used a lighter hand on the mayonnaise. It came with crunchy cole slaw and a choice of a side dish, in this case thick, meaty and yet crisp French fries that had a solid taste of the potato.

Many of the desserts tempted, but we were happy with the Peanut Butter Volcano ($6.95). Arriving in what looked like a tall, wide martini glass, it was decadence defined. Peanut butter mousse that had been married to a graham cracker crust with chocolate fudge inside was hidden under a mountain of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate syrup and shaved Ghiradelli chocolate. Oh, and a sprig of mint on top, the only low-cal thing about it. Spectacular looking and wonderfully rich, it easily was enough for two to share . . . and rave about.

Brick Alley Pub, 140 Thames St., Newport. (401) 849-6334, Casual. Wheelchair accessible. Child seats. Limited number of reservations taken each day. MC, V, AE, DC, DIS and domestic traveler’s checks. On-street parking. Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner 4 to 10 p.m. Sun. to Thurs., to 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; Sun. brunch 10:30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Appetizers $7.95 to $13.95. Entrees $15.95 to $29.95. Wines $5.25 to $12 by the glass; $18 to $275 for a bottle.BILL OF FARE

Dinner for two at Brick Alley Pub might look something like this:

Eye of the Storm…$5.25

Pusser’s Painkiller…$6.75

Portuguese clams…$13.95

Lobster Roll…$17.95

Southwestern tilapia…$19.95


Total food and drink…$70.80



Total bill…$90.46

86 Spring Street, Newport, RI 02840  |  401-849-0004  |  887-294-0004  |