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Gift Certificates

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Gift Certificates

November 29th, 2013 by billfarrell

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer you the ability to immediately purchase a gift certificate on our website. While we have always offered gift certificates, previously you had to call and we’d take you information and mail a gift certificate to you. Now you can purchase a gift certificate in any denomination and pay immediately and print out a receipt. Your purchase online is secure and immediate. You can still call and we can take your information and mail a gift certificate to you that you can present to someone special.

Preservation Society of Newport County Calendar of Events – 2013

March 12th, 2013 by billfarrell

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The Preservation Society of Newport County has announced some upcoming events  for the 2013 season at the various mansions. Please see their website  for additional details and additional events. If you’re staying at The Spring Seasons Inn, please be sure to ask about promotions we may have with the Preservation Society.

March 30 – Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch

April 28 – May 1 – The Newport Symposium “Hidden Treasures”

June 13 – Annual Meeting

June 21 – 23 – Newport flower Show

July 14 – Green Animals Children’s Topiary Party

August 3 – Summer Masked Venetian Ball

August 6 – An Evening in Honor of John G. Winslow

August 30 – September 2 – Newport Mansions Stores Member’s Sale

September 20 – 22 – Wine & Food Festival

November 24 – January 1 Christmas at the Newport Mansions

December 21 – Dinner Dance at The Breakers

www.newportmansions.org

Prescott Farm – where Past Meets Present

May 17th, 2012 by billfarrell

Learn how an 1812 Windmill works. Discover interesting facts about the Revolutionary War.  Explore the flower and herb gardens managed by Master Gardeners. See the ducks and geese. Snack on 18th century treats. Enjoy period games. At Prescott Farm, there is something for everyone. Prescott Farm is owned and managed by the Newport Restoration Foundation. The NRF manages period homes in Newport in addition to thier crown jewels, Doris Duke’s home, Rough Point and the Whitehorne Museum. The Newport Restoration Foundation’s web site is www.newportrestoration.org.

Touro Synagogue – Loeb Visitors Center

May 13th, 2012 by billfarrell

Touro Synagogue Congregation was founded in 1658 by Jews fleeing the inquisition and has since become a symbol of religious freedom for all Americans. The current synagogue was designed by Peter Harrison, a well know Newport architect at the time. Dedicated in 1763, it is considered one of the most architecturally distinguished buildings of 18th century America. George Washington addressed religious freedom in his 1790 letter to the congregation by declaring, “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport” that the new nation “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” The Synagogue was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1946.

The Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Visitors Center has been open several years now and is housed in a brand-new, period style stone building. Ambassador John L Loeb, Jr. welcomes you in his personal message:

I am John L. Loeb Jr. and I’d like to welcome you to the Loeb Visitors Center at the Touro Synagogue. The Touro Synagogue is an American treasure, the oldest active synagogue in the United States. I am a descendent of the Touro family, so it holds great personal significance for me.

This Synagogue and its early congregation are considered icons of American religious freedom because of the important letter that George Washington sent to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport in 1790. That letter directly affirmed the principle of religious liberty based on the separation of church and state that is guaranteed to every one of us through the Bill of Rights. The building stands as a physical manifestation and reminder of the event and of the concepts embodied in the letter.

Both this website and the exhibits planned for the Visitors Center tell the story of this historical landmark, its architectural beauty and its symbolic role in the development of American Democracy.

While our new Visitors Center space is being constructed, I invite you to spend some time exploring these web pages and then come visit us in Newport, Rhode Island.

Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.

The Visitors Center has been open several years now, Ambassador Loeb’s message welcomes you to visit.  Having toured the Center and the Synagogue many times, Susan and I can assure you you won’t be disappointed. Only a minutes walk from The Spring Seasons Inn. You can see their web site at Touro Synagogue. Close their page to come back to the Spring Seasons Inn.

Tours for Curious People opens in Newport, Rhode Island

May 2nd, 2012 by billfarrell

Tour for Curious People has recently opened in Newport, Rhode Island and it is a must do while visiting Newport. Started by Carol Miller, a native Newporter whose family has a long history in Newport. Carol takes her clients on a tour of the Point district of Newport, an area rich in history that goes back several hundred years. Carol is a very knowledgeable and personable tour guide who not only shares her extensive of knowledge of Newport but is also known to pull period antiques out of her pocket to supplement an interesting point that she is sharing with you. Having met Carol, Susan and I can attest to her enthusiasm and knowledge of Newport and can assure you, you won’t be disappointed or bored on this tour. Carol has a website that gives some general information that you may find useful at www.toursforcuriouspeople.com. Close this window to return to the Spring Seasons Inn.

2012 Newport County Calendar of Events

January 23rd, 2012 by billfarrell

This 2012 Calendar of Events is from the Newport & Bristol County Conventions and Visitors Bureau. If you click on an item for more details, please use your back arrow to go back to the Spring Seasons Inn and Tea Room Page.
JANUARY 1 – 31
The exhibit, featuring 18th and early 19th century samplers from the Newport Historical Society’s textiles collection, reflects the evolution of Newport needlework over the course of a century and… Details
Stop in at Gallery Eleven Fine Art for our “Bold and Bright” exhibition January 14 to February 29 and add some color to your winter months with original works of art ranging from paintings in watercolor,… Details
Allow Chef Alexandra Day to whisk you away to the lovely Normandy region of France in this hands-on classic French cooking class. Crepe lesson – both savory & sweet. Tips & tricks for making… Details
Take a Tour of Scotland enjoying Scotch from some of the country’s finest distilleries including JW Black, Singleton, Oban, Lagavulin and Talisker, all accompanied by an inspired 22 Bowen’s… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Candlelight Tour throughout Belcourt Castle with the focus being on Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont who married Alva Vanderbilt and built Belcourt with architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1891-1894. Tour… Details
Mrs. Tinney takes you on a tour of her home of 50 years and talks about her ghost experiences. She has put pen to paper in her new book titled: “Ghosts of Belcourt Castle”. Tour Price: $25 adult $15… Details
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
Stop in at Gallery Eleven Fine Art for our “Bold and Bright” exhibition January 14 to February 29 and add some color to your winter months with original works of art ranging from paintings in watercolor,… Details
The exhibit, featuring 18th and early 19th century samplers from the Newport Historical Society’s textiles collection, reflects the evolution of Newport needlework over the course of a century and… Details
New England was inhospitable territory for Catholics from the colonial era until the Civil War. Dr. John Quinn will explore the history of Catholicism in Newport, RI, specifically focusing on the late… Details
Rock Steady (tribute to Bad Company) & Rock This Way (tribute to Aerosmith) in town for one night! Tickets $10/$12 day of show. 9pm.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Discover the early history of Newport’s people of color, enslaved and free. Visit the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and the colonial African burying ground. $12 per person, $10 Newport Historical… Details
FEBRUARY 4 – 29
From its beginnings in 1994, this unusual show has brought together area artists who enter artwork representing pieces from the Renaissance to the modern day in a wide variety of 2 & 3 dimensional… Details
Featuring Piano Quintets by Dohnanyi, Mozart and Dvorak with Melody Albanese-Kelly and Meghan O’Connor, violins;  Diane Guillemette, viola; John Kelly, violoncello; and Paul Rosenbloom, piano…. Details
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Imagine experiencing and energetic mix of comedy, hypnosis and non-stop laughter from start to finish! Tickets $10/$12 day of show.
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
Noah Fulmer, Executive Director of Farm Fresh RI, will speak about the local food systems of Little Rhody from 7pm-8pm. This is the first event of SVF Foundation’s exciting new Lecture Series which… Details
Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people. Offered at 11am; $12 per person. Reservations suggested as space… Details
Feel transported through time to the heyday of a colonial metropolis on a lantern-lit stroll through Newport’s Historic Hill on this 4:30pm tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
New England’s Winter Extravaganza with more than 160 events combining food, music and entertainment for all ages.
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
Newport’s Revival features the social history and architecture of Newport after its Golden Colonial Era and before the Gilded Age. Offered at 11am. $12 per person, reservations suggested as space is… Details
Explore the Common Burying Ground during Souls & Stones. New to the Newport History Tours line-up, this 11am tour showcases the remarkable gravestones that make the Common Burying Ground a work of… Details
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
William J. Brown was an African-American civic leader who may have authored the most thoughtful narrative by a free man of color in the 19th Century. Mr. Brown uses his autobiography to tell how his… Details
See where scoundrels lived, where pirates profited and where criminals were put on trial and punished. Find out why the colony of Rhode Island was known as “Rogue’s Island.” Departs at… Details
Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people. Offered at 11am; $12 per person. Reservations suggested as space… Details
Newport’s Revival features the social history and architecture of Newport after its Golden Colonial Era and before the Gilded Age. Offered at 11am. $12 per person, reservations suggested as space is… Details
Watch bartenders compete in a “Iron Chef” format. What will be the secret ingredient?! A RI-USBG event. 8:30pm. Free.
Riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Hear stories from the years surrounding the American Revolution in Newport on the 11am Road to Independence tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
Walk in the footsteps of the immigrants, sailors and merchants who once lived and worked in the Lower Thames neighborhood on the 11am Working Waterfront Tour.
FEBRUARY 24 – 25
6pm-9 pm. The free event features thousands of lights displayed on the trees and unique features of Ballard Park’s three acre quarry meadow which include a one acre vernal pond, groves of trees and a… Details
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
Feel transported through time to the heyday of a colonial metropolis on a lantern-lit stroll through Newport’s Historic Hill on this 4:30pm tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
See where scoundrels lived, where pirates profited and where criminals were put on trial and punished. Find out why the colony of Rhode Island was known as “Rogue’s Island.” Departs at… Details
Explore the Common Burying Ground during Souls & Stones. New to the Newport History Tours line-up, this 11am tour showcases the remarkable gravestones that make the Common Burying Ground a work of… Details
Celebrate all that is Irish during this exciting month-long event.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Chefs from Newport’s sister city, Kinsale, Ireland, show off their cookery talents to create traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine in local restaurants.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
11am. Find your best green attire, keep your eyes open for leprechauns, and join in the revelry to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Newport! The parade begins at 11 a.m. at City Hall, runs through… Details
MARCH 23 – APRIL 1
A three-course meal from some of the finest area restaurant without breaking the bank! From a steaming cup of chowder overlooking the harbor to fine dining in romantic restaurants, Newport & Bristol… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
MARCH 23 – APRIL 1
Spring into Art, coordinated by the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County, takes place March 23-April 1. Artists, musicians, dancers, theater companies, photographers, arts organizations,… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
APRIL 7
10am. The Preservation Society of Newport County invites you to bring the children to meet the Easter Bunny. Reservations required. Visit website for ticket prices and to make reservations, or call.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
APRIL 14 – 30
Celebrate spring at this beautiful thirty-three acre estate on Narragansett Bay with a spectacular display of more than 50,000 daffodils. April 14 – May 6, 2012.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Celebrate spring at this beautiful thirty-three acre estate on Narragansett Bay with a spectacular display of more than 50,000 daffodils. April 14 – May 6, 2012.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
11:50am – The parade features over 4,000 law enforcement participants to commemorate National Police Week. Parade starts on West Main Road going towards Newport.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
MAY 26 – 27
The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is the only dedicated Class 40 sailing race in the US. The last of a 3 stage event will be held in Newport on Memorial Day Weekend. Event village and boats… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The official kick-off to summer in Newport, the international chowder championships are back! Enjoy all-you-can-eat samples of exotic and traditional chowders from across the country and beyond, and vote… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The Newport Bermuda Race is a 635 nautical-mile ocean race first sailed in 1906. Held biennially in even-numbered years. The race usually lasting three to six days. It crosses a stretch of the Atlantic… Details
The CVS Caremark Charity Classic features 20 professionals from the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours.  The Professionals are paired into 10 two-man teams. The CVS Caremark Charity Classic is Rhode… Details
JUNE 22 – 24
Enjoy the heat of Salsa – exotic plants and colorful designs, inspired by the fusion of Latin Music and dance.  Summer will sizzle with the 2012 Opening Night Party, June 22, featuring a… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
JUNE 23 – JULY 1
Newport is the final stop in the inaugural America’s Cup World Series (AC World Series), which will feature both fleet and match racing.The regatta will give the public an opportunity to watch the… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011″ Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The Fourth of July Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will step-off at the corner of Chestnut Street and Hope Street (Rt. 114) and ends on High Street, between State Street and Bradford Street.
At dusk (around 9:15 p.m.) Fireworks across Newport Harbor.
Newport, RI will be an Official Host Port for the Tall Ships Challenge® series on the Atlantic Coast in the summer of 2012 from July 6-9th. 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a… Details
Top ATP World Tour tennis pros travel to Newport direct from Wimbledon to compete for the Van Allen Cup in the only pro tennis tournament played on grass courts in North America. Complementing seven days… Details
JULY 12 – 15
A Festival of friendship between Newport and Japan that offers a variety of events emphasizing both Japanese and art and culture.
JULY 13 – 29
Newport Music Festival continues the tradition of presenting unique chamber music programs, American debuts, world-class artists and gala special events in the Gilded Age summer cottages of Newport, Rhode… Details
Come and frolic among the green animals at one of the nation’s oldest topiary gardens.
JULY 14 – 15
The spray of colors across the sky along Ocean Drive in July at the annual kite festival is a sight to behold. The air is filled with the sounds of snapping nylon and kite strings as the kites whip their… Details
Showcasing a variety of fresh cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes. Arts and crafts vendors, live musical entertainment.
JULY 28 – 29
Fort Adams is situated at the mouth of Newport Harbor with panoramic views of the Newport Bridge and the East Passage. The festival at the Fort features 3 stages of music, food & crafts, and a number… Details
AUGUST 3 – 5
The festival features two full days of jazz on three unique stages at Fort Adams, one of the Park system’s national treasures situated at the mouth of Newport Harbor with panoramic views of the… Details
This event features live reggae entertainment throughout the day.
AUGUST 16 – 19
Don’t miss the triennial renewal of this historic tradition of horsemanship and elegance. Authentic 19th century coaches drawn by teams of four horses participate in a series of daily drives and… Details
This event features live entertainment and authentic Irish cuisine.
SEPTEMBER 1 – 2
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Featuring a full range of powerboats and sailboats from both domestic and international manufacturers, as well as an extensive selection of marine equipment, services and accessories in a venue that spans… Details
Held in one of the most spectacular settings in America, this remarkable weekend experience features hundreds of wines from around the world, fabulous food, cooking demonstrations by nationally-renowned… Details
SEPTEMBER 29 – 30
An old-fashioned autumn Fair with crafters, food, games, animals, hay rides, mud pit, and monkey bridge.
This bona fide Bavarian weekend bubbles over with an expanded International Biergarten, juicy bratwursts, yodeling and folk dance performances. A kid-friendly Kindergarten area rounds out fall’s… Details
Area restaurants celebrate the “harvest of the sea” on historic Bowen’s Wharf, in downtown Newport. Enjoy a smorgasbord of seafood, baked goods, and kid-friendly fare. Groove all day… Details
NOVEMBER 2 – 11
A three-course meal from some of the finest area restaurant without breaking the bank! From a steaming cup of chowder overlooking the harbor to fine dining in romantic restaurants, Newport & Bristol… Details
DECEMBER 1 – 31
A month long celebration of the Holiday Season throughout Newport. Enjoy a series of concerts, tree lighting, craft fairs, candlelight house tours and much more.

Doris Duke Gives Another Gift to Newport

June 11th, 2011 by billfarrell

The Doris Duke Monument Foundation is a new non-profit under the umbrella of the Newport Restoration Foundation has recently announced plans for improvements to park at Queen Anne Square. The planned improvements are a gift to the City of Newport from the Foundation with most of the money being raised from private donations. and includes money for long term maintenance and upkeep. Queen Anne Square sits in front of Trinity Church, one of Newport’s most notable landmarks.

Pending approval from the City Council, the planned improvements to the park include additional seating and amenities, improve the overall beauty of the park with new landscape architecture, more lighting and other improvements. The architect for this project is Maya Lin, an internationally acclaimed architect most noted for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Also involved with the project is Nick Benson, a local stonemason whose business has been in Newport for several hundred years.

“The trustees of the NRF have been considering a project to pay tribute to Doris Duke and historic preservation in Newport for several years. Both Miss Duke and the efforts of countless private homeowners have had a transformative effect on the city. We feel that Queen Anne Square is a most appropriate site, as the creation of the original park was also a gift from Doris Duke to the City of Newport,” commented Pieter N. Roos, Executive Director of the Newport Restoration Foundation.

The project, scheduled for completion in 2012 with groundbreaking in the fall of 2011 only serves to continue the work that Doris Duke started so many years ago.

Founded by Doris Duke in 1968, NRF was created to rescue Newport’s dilapidated homes, many of which were at risk of being demolished. Today, NRF owns 82 historic structures of which 70 are lived in by individual tenant-stewards. NRF was honored with a Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2010. NRF operates three museum sites: Rough Point, the former home of Doris Duke; Whitehorne House, displaying a collection of early American furniture; and Prescott Farm in Middletown, featuring historic buildings on a preserved rural landscape. A non-profit institution, the foundation continues to be actively engaged in historic preservation, educational programming, and scholarly research. Visit Newport Restoration Foundation at www.NewportRestoration.org.

Doris Duke’s Sporty Side in Newport Exhibit

March 6th, 2011 by billfarrell

Saturday, March 05, 2011

GoLocalProv Lifestyle Team


From the beach to the bowling alley, from surfing to skiing, Doris Duke was a woman who loved to play.

A new exhibit at her Newport mansion Rough Point reveals the sporting side of the noted heiress and historic preservationist’s personality. Visitors can admire Doris Duke’s stylish sportswear alongside items of her personal sports equipment in Dressed to Play: The Sporty Style of Doris Duke. The exhibit illustrates her athletic lifestyle, which included surfing in Hawaii and daily swims in Newport. Fun, playful fashions from the 1940s-1970s will make visitors nostalgic for the classic styles of their mothers and grandmothers era. A collection of her personal sports equipment, including a surfboard, tennis racquet, golf clubs, scuba gear, riding habit and bowling ball, is displayed along with never before seen images of Doris Duke in action. The exhibit opens on April 14, 2011.

The active heiress

Doris Duke lived an active life filled with sports well into her later years. She swam off the rocks of Rough Point, surfed at her home in Hawaii, and bowled and rode horses at Duke Farms in New Jersey. She studied dance with choreographers around the world and was a member of Martha Graham’s Dance Company in New York. She had tennis courts at each of her homes – a passion that began as a child playing tennis with her friend Alletta Morris on the courts at the Newport Casino. Daily swims were an important part of Doris Duke’s regimen of healthy living. For many years, she swam off the rocks behind Rough Point. Later, she had a salt-water swimming pool installed in the house’s basement.

Exhibit highlights sporting gear

Two of the exhibit’s highlights are equipment related to Doris Duke’s love of water sports. The first is a Velzy Surfboard, ca. 1960, made of foam polyurethane and fiberglass. Created by Dale Velzy, who is believed to have opened the first conventional surf shop in California in 1949, the surfboard was used by Doris Duke at Shangri La, her home in Hawaii. It is notable as one of the first boards Velzy created using the new foam polyurethane material; boards were previously made of balsa wood. The second item is a pair of wooden water skis, circa 1935, which measure nearly nine feet in length. The large size of the skis helped to maintain stability on rougher ocean water. Both pieces are on loan from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art which runs Shangri La.

Soon after settling at Shangri La in 1938, Doris Duke became involved with surfing. She quickly became friends with the Kahanamoku family. Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic diver and celebrated champion surfer, and his brother, Sam, taught her to surf. Her aptitude for the sport is evidenced by a gold and sapphire powder compact included in the exhibit, inscribed January 22, 1939, recognizing Mrs. James H. R. Cromwell (as Doris Duke was then known) and Mr. Sam A. Kahanamoku for winning first prize in a Waikiki tandem surfboard paddling contest. This piece is also on loan from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Dressing for play

Doris Duke’s active lifestyle required a wardrobe that included comfortable, practical clothing to participate in a number of sporting activities. Sportswear, which began in the 1920s as specialized clothing for activities like tennis and hunting, became part of mainstream fashion during the 20th century. Social norms about public sports and activities for women expanded during this time, allowing sweaters, pants, skirts, blazers, and casual dresses to become regular items in a woman’s wardrobe. Exhibit curator Kristen Costa Francoeur explains, “These clothes may seem like everyday items to us now, but Doris Duke was on the cutting edge of fashion – she was wearing sportswear as it was being created and her busy lifestyle is shaping her wardrobe.”

Doris Duke’s wardrobe included a wide range of casual and active apparel made by American and European designers such as Jantzen, Valentino, and Giorgio Sant’Angelo.
One of the clothing highlights of the exhibit is a 1958 sundress by Tina Leser, one of the earliest American sportswear designers. During the 1930s-1950s, the United States was producing some of the best sportswear in the world. This sportswear was designed by women and it was the first time female designers had their name in the limelight.

“Dressed to Play: The Sporty Style of Doris Duke” will be on exhibit in the galleries at Rough Point through early November 2011. Guided house tours, which last approximately 75 minutes and include the exhibit, cost $25. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free. Tours are offered 10-2, Thursday-Saturday, April 14 – May 14. From May 17 to November 5, tours are offered 9:45-3:45, Tuesday-Saturday. For those wishing to see only the exhibit, gallery hours are offered on Saturdays from 1-4 for $5. In addition, the galleries are open during a series of special evening events offered as part of Newport Gallery Night, held on the second Thursday of each month. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.NewportRestoration.org or call (401) 847-8344. The Spring Seasons Inn is close to Rough Point and offers room packages that include admission to Rough Point

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Adds Millions to Local Economy

February 3rd, 2011 by billfarrell

By Chris Barrett
Providence Business News Staff Writer

NEWPORT – The Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Naval Station Newport said Thursday that the program pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy last year.

The center, just one component of the naval base, had a $1.1 billion budget during 2010. Of that, the center spent more than $668 million on payroll, construction, facility support and local contracts. That made the center the largest federal activity in Rhode Island when measured in terms of personnel and payroll, the center said in a news release.

The center provides research and development for military submarines, autonomous underwater systems and undersea weapons. In 2010, it employed 2,758 civilian employees and 30 military personnel and had a total gross payroll of nearly $277 million.

The civilian employee count increased from the 2,683 people employed in 2009 as the center went on a spree of hiring scientists and engineers. The military count remained unchanged.

The center also awarded $534 million in contracts. Of that, Rhode Island-based businesses received $317 million, Massachusetts companies $30 million and Connecticut firms $14 million.

The center traces its roots to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Todd Cramer, the center maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, N.Y.; and Dodge Pond, Conn.

While visiting Naval Station Newport, plan to stay at The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport, Rhode Island.

Rhode Island to Vote on Dropping Plantations from Name

October 28th, 2010 by billfarrell

Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:07:31By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press Eric Tucker, Associated Press – Tue Oct 26, 1:08 pm ET

Rhode Island Newport Bed and Breakfast

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This state’s official name — The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations — is more than just a mouthful. To many, it evokes stinging reminders of Rhode Island’s prime role in The Transatlantic Slavetrade.

Voters next Tuesday will decide whether to change the name by dropping the words “and Providence Plantations.” The issue has been debated for years, but lawmakers last year authorized a ballot question for the first time following an impassioned debate over race relations, ancestry and history.

“You go anywhere and you mention plantations and what automatically comes to a person’s mind is slavery,” said Nick Figueroa, 41, a member of a legislative minority advisory coalition that backs changing the name.

Supporters of the referendum see the ballot question as a chance to erase the state’s links to slavery and remove a word they associate with human bondage and suffering. But opponents, including Gov. Don Carcieri, note that the state name actually has nothing to do with slavery and that, in any case, changing it will do nothing to alter history.

Michael Vorenberg, a Brown University history professor, said he understands the contemporary connotation of the word “plantations” but favors keeping the name because it provokes questions.
“People might naturally say, ‘What does that word mean and why is it in the state name?’ And that may lead to a discussion of the role of slavery in the history of Rhode Island, in the history of New England,” Vorenberg said.

The referendum’s prospects are unclear. The issue has been overshadowed by a competitive gubernatorial race and congressional elections, and advocates of the name change haven’t run advertisements. The four leading gubernatorial candidates all oppose it.

“The overall concerns right now are jobs and the economy, and I think that’s foremost in people’s minds, as opposed to altering the name,” Figueroa said.

Many Rhode Islanders might not even know its formal name. It isn’t listed on modern-day maps, though it is on the state seal, is found in many official state documents and can be heard in the courtroom when the judge is announced.

The phrase “Providence Plantations” appeared in the royal charter granted in 1663 by King Charles II to the colony of Rhode Island. At the time, “Plantation” was a general term for settlement or colony. In this case, it referred to the merger of the Providence settlement, which was founded by minister Roger Williams following his banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and nearby towns into a single colony.

Keith Stokes, who is multiracial and can trace his family’s arrival to Newport back centuries, said the debate over the state name ignores Rhode Island’s legacy as a colony founded on religious tolerance, where Jews, Quakers and other minorities settled in large numbers after being rejected elsewhere. The principle of separation of church and state is laid out in the colony’s charter long before being formalized in the Bill of Rights.

“It has all these people who have been cast out because they worship differently and they all land in Rhode Island State,” said Stokes, who is also executive director of the state’s economic development corporation. “We have so many stories to share, we have such rich histories.”

Proponents of the name change say they recognize the word “plantations” was not initially associated with slavery, but argue the original meaning is irrelevant — especially because 18th century Rhode Island emerged at the forefront of a thriving industry in which local merchants got rich off the exchange of slaves, rum, sugar and molasses among New England, the Caribbean and West Africa.

They say “plantations” is inextricably linked to slavery, just as the swastika — traditionally a harmonious symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism — has since been adopted as an emblem of Nazi Germany and is today associated with ethnic hatred.

The name change had previously been debated by the General Assembly but wasn’t approved for a referendum until last year, when a group of primarily African-American lawmakers made a strong push and spoke of racial divisions and the lingering negative connotations of the word “plantations.” Even some legislators who said they were personally ambivalent agreed to put the issue to the voters after seeing how strongly their colleagues felt.

Figueroa said he didn’t know how much it would cost to change the name but expected it would be minimal. He said the focus was on phasing out the name on state correspondence but not on changing the Rhode Island State Seal in the Rhode Island State House.

The ballot question in itself is a victory, regardless of what voters decide, said Harold Metts, a black state senator who helped lead the effort for the referendum.

“At least people understand why we feel the way we feel. For me, that’s part of healing,” Metts said.

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