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2012 Tall Ships Festival Newport, Rhode Island

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2012 Tall Ships Festival Newport, Rhode Island

October 21st, 2011 by billfarrell

State officials and local business leaders recently announced the 2012 Ocean State Tall Ships Festival. With an anticipated $92 million dollar economic impact locally and statewide, the Tall Ships visit from July 6-9 and the America’s Cup World Series events that will precede it from June 23 – July 1 are sure to draw tourists, visitors and sailors from around the world. Previous Tall Ships events in Newport and Rhode Island have been large draws for the city and the state but with the Americas Cup World Series this year, Newport will sure to be the place to be to view these exciting events.

The most recent Tall Ships event was in 2007 and drew an estimated 200,000 people to Rhode Island and had an economic impact of more than $20 million dollars. The organizers of the 2012 event are expect the numbers to far surpass the 2007 numbers. Local businesses are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the Tall Ships and the Americas Cup events preceding it.

The 2012 Tall Ships event will be part of the Tall Ships Challenge sponsored by Tall Ships America. Participating ships will begin in Savannah, Georgia form May 3-7, go on to Charleston, South Carolina, May 10-14 and will then be in Greenport, New York from May 24-28 before heading to Newport. When the Tall Ships depart Newport, they will sail for Halifax and other Nova Scotia ports on July 18-2 and July 24-30th. These events are all part of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The Spring Seasons Inn currently has availability on these dates but we would expect the month of June and July, 2012 to fill up soon so if you are thinking of coming to Newport to participate in or view these events, it is a good idea to start your planning immediately as the B&B’s and hotels are expected to sell out soon.



Newport Restoration Foundation Events October/November

October 12th, 2011 by billfarrell

Founded in 1968 by Doris Duke, the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit institution. NRF was founded to preserve, interpret and maintain Aquidneck Island’s 18th- and 19th- century architectural culture.

Some upcoming events for October/November that might be interesting are listed below. While participating in these events, consider stay at The Spring Seasons Inn and Tea Room, a Victorian B&B in Newport, RI.

Open Hearth Cooking
Saturday, October 22, 12:00-4:30 pm
Join Linda Oakley, food history and hearth cooking expert from Old Sturbridge Village, in a hands-on workshop in the c. 1730 Guard House at Prescott Farm.  You will be able to prepare and enjoy a colonial era harvest dinner. The workshop fee is $55 and reservations are required. Questions? Contact Liz Spoden by email or call (401) 846-4152.

Windmill Wednesday
Wednesday, October 26, 4:00-6:00 pm

Enjoy a fun, family-friendly evening at Prescott Farm’s 1812 Sherman Windmill. An open house format offers visitors a chance to explore the inside of the historic windmill and learn about the history of windpower on Aquidneck Island. Taste johnnycakes made with locally milled cornmeal. Enjoy activities for kids. Admission is $5 and free for children under 5. Questions? Contact Liz Spoden at (401) 846-4152 or

Winter Weatherization
Workshop for Old House Owners
Saturday, November 5, 9:30am – 12:30pm

Winter is coming. It’s time to think about tuning up your old house and lowering those heating bills. At the same time you will be protecting Rhode Island’s heritage and helping to save the planet! In this half-day workshop learn how to make your old home more “green,” saving both money and energy without damaging its historic character. You will receive a Historic Homeowners’ Toolkit and a checklist for seasonal home maintenance.

The partially restored Gibson House (c.1848) in historic Bristol, RI (1200 Hope Street) is the setting for this workshop. Experts will present information and demonstrations on:
Weatherizing the building envelope (walls, doors, roof, windows)
Efficient heating systems
Basic maintenance
and more
This workshop is a project of the Collaborative for Common Sense Preservation: Historic New England, the Newport Restoration Foundation, and Preserve Rhode Island.

Advance registration required: Call Liz Spoden at (401) 846-4152 or email her at

Jazz is back at Fluke Restaurant

July 26th, 2011 by billfarrell

Jazz is back at Flue Wine Bar and Restaurant! Fluke is an excellent restaurant overlooking the bay. The food is excellent, service is great; why not enjoy a romantic evening with some great music and views too!

Sponsored by Louis Roederer Champagne, join us at Fluke on Monday evenings in August for a special price fix menu, champagne, cocktails, and great jazz.  We are proud to announce an incredible lineup of accomplished musicians who will entertain you with their individual styles.

Reservations are available at 6:30PM and 8:30PM and feature a 4 course price fix menu for $55.

Monday 8/1

The Little Branch Trio featuring Antoine Drye (trumpet), Kris Kaiser (guitar) and special guest, Vanessa Trouble (vocalist).

Monday 8/8

The Little Branch Trio featuring Antoine Drye (trumpet), Kris Kaiser (guitar) and special guest, Vanessa Trouble (vocalist).

Monday 8/15

The Little Branch Trio featuring Antoine Drye.

Monday 8/22

The Little Branch Trio featuring Antoine Drye.

Monday 8/29

The Little Branch Trio featuring Antoine Drye.

Antoine Drye founder of Fluke jazz nights, will be back to celebrate jazz fest all month long – bringing his own unique style of playing to Newport.   Antoine Drye performs regularly at a number of renowned jazz clubs in New York City and has recently performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival with The Brian Blade Fellowship.  We are proud fans and supporters of Antoine!

Fluke – Wine, Bar & Kitchen, 41 Bowen’s Wharf, Newport, Entrance on Banister’s Wharf.  Fluke is open 7 nights for dinner at 5pm.  Reservations Recommended.



Art Newport – Aboard the Megayacht Venue

June 29th, 2011 by billfarrell

SeaFair, a forty million dollar mega yacht has docked in Newport for what is planned to be a two month floating art show/sale. Florida base art dealers, David & Le Ann Lester have based their art show on what have become hugely popular land based art fairs and have taken it to the high seas, docking in ports up and down the east coast. A recent showing in Sarasota, Florida attracted 18,000 visitors in five days.

Floating Art Gallery

While the ship is docked in Newport, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the ship, admiring art from prestigious presenting paintings, sculputure, photography, solver, jewelry, design and fine art glass among other things. With five decks, a glass walled restaurant, luxe lounge, international coffee bar and open air sky deck bar and bistro, the Sea Fair promises to be a once in a lifetime visit.

Guests of The Spring Seasons Inn and Tea Room are eligible to receive special pricing on admission to the exhibits. Please call for details.


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

Tea Room at The Spring Seasons Inn – Best of Newport County Awards

May 7th, 2011 by billfarrell

Bets of Newport County AwardsAt an awards banquet this past Thursday evening at Newport’s Rosecliff Mansion, The Tea Room at The Spring Seasons Inn received one of Newport Life Magazine’s “Newport County’s Best Kept Secret” awards.The award honors local business that represent all that you love about your community, you just didn’t know about it yet! Newport Life Magazine’s readers nominate the businesses for the awards and owner Susan Farrell was pleasantly surprised when she heard that she was nominated.

The Tea Room at The Spring Seasons Inn is the only Tea Room located in an Inn that is open to the public. Please see the website for additional information regarding Tea Room.

Newport Waterfront Festivals 2011 Sunset Music Series

April 5th, 2011 by billfarrell

Newport Waterfront has announced their Sunset Music Series lineup for 2011. Reserve your rooms at the Spring Seasons Inn before we sell out.

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Greenvale Vineyards 12th Annual Summer Jazz Series

March 30th, 2011 by billfarrell

Portsmouth, RI – Greenvale Vineyards will continue with its 12th Annual Summer Jazz Series.  The Jazz Series was organized by Matthew Quinn and is held in his honor.

The Jazz Series concerts are held in the Tasting Room from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday from May 7th through the last Saturday in November. We will be offering wine tastings as well as wine by the glass and bottle all day and welcome our guests to come with picnics.

Greenvale Vineyards is located at 582 Wapping Road in Portsmouth, just 6 miles from downtown Newport, along the Sakonnet River. This historic property produces approximately 3,500 cases of wine each year from over twenty acres of vines, which include Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc grapes.  All of the wines are made from 100% estate grown grapes.  The Tasting Room is open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, with tours daily at 2:00 p.m. or by appointment. For further information, call (401) 847-3777 or visit online at

Abbey Road to Perform at Greenvale Vineyards

March 30th, 2011 by billfarrell

Portsmouth, RI, — From 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 29, 2011 Abbey Rhode, a local 1960s-influenced band will perform at Greenvale Vineyards.  The group has been playing at clubs around Rhode Island for years, and have gained popularity for their authentic sounds of the 1960s.  Their favorite musicians include Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:00 p.m.)  in Greenvale Vineyards’ historic Stable/Tasting Room.  Tickets are $22.00 in advance or $25.00 the day of the show.   For more information or to purchase advance tickets, please call (401) 847-3777.

Greenvale Vineyards is located at 582 Wapping Road in Portsmouth, along the Sakonnet River. Approximately 3,500 cases of wine are produced each year from twenty acres of vines, which include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec grapes.  All of the wines are made from estate grown fruit.  The Tasting Room is open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, with vineyard tours daily at 2:00 p.m. or by appointment. For further information, call (401) 847-3777, email at or visit online at

Bird Watching at Norman Bird Sanctuary

March 21st, 2011 by billfarrell

11:01 AM EDT on Monday, March 21, 2011 By Jennifer D. Jordan
Providence Journal Staff Writer


A sure sign of spring arrived Sunday at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, a day that marked the official end of winter and the arrival of the vernal equinox.

It wasn’t so much a glimpse of swooping redwing blackbirds or the echo of a downy woodpecker drumming a hollow tree that heralded the change in seasons.

It was the arrival at 8 a.m. of Charlotte and Mike Perry of Swansea. The couple joined a dozen fellow birders at the 325-acre refuge Sunday for a free bird walk offered year-round, every other week.

Bird watchers, from left, Rick Oriel of Newport, Mike Marcetti of Portsmouth, Bob Weaver of Newport, Jana Hesser of Providence and Mark Anderson of Newport.

The Providence Journal / Kris Craig

“The first sign of migration is the Perrys come back,” joked guide Jay Manning as the group assembled in the morning chill.

“I won’t come out here with six feet of snow on the ground,” said Mike Perry. He and his wife still go out birding in the deep winter, he said, but closer to home.

Like the tree swallows that fly north and nest near the bird sanctuary’s meadows, though, the Perrys always come back.

“It’s amazing what you hear,” Perry said, “when you start paying attention to it.”

Manning, an engineer with the state Department of Environmental Management and a sanctuary board member, has led the walks since 1993.

“We’re getting to that time of year when birding is as audio as it is visual,” said Manning. “The resident birds are getting ready for spring, calling to each other and getting their territories set up.”

In a few weeks, herons will start to arrive from the south, followed by many others. May is prime season for Rhode Island birders.

Manning motioned for the group to pause and listen to three birdcalls: a song sparrow cooing “please, please put on the teakettle;” a Carolina wren also chirping “teakettle” but much quicker and louder than the sparrow; and the whistle of a cardinal that sounded like “birdy, birdy, birdy” the faster it whirred.

“That one’s saying, ‘Welcome spring. Now get out of my area,’ ” Manning said.

He imitated the song of the chickadee. “Spring’s here, spring’s here.”

“Just being out in nature, you never know what you are going to see,” said Mike Marchetti of Portsmouth, a Navy retiree who has been accompanying Manning on bird walks for more than a decade.

“You see some beautiful things out here. You get some exercise out of it. And all it takes is a pair of binoculars.”

Years ago, Marchetti met Barry Murphy, a retired Marine, on the Sunday excursions. The peaceful pilgrimage through meadows, woods and marsh has become their shared ritual.

“This is church,” Murphy said.

Robert Weaver has visited the bird sanctuary for most of its six-decade history, starting as a Boy Scout more than 50 years ago.

Unlike the Perrys, Weaver, a retired cook, participates in the Sunday walks year round, even in rain, sleet and snow. Four years ago, he discovered a pair of rare pink-footed geese that attracted birders from as far away as California.

Weaver and Manning, like most birders, keep “life lists” of the birds they have seen. Weaver says his contains more than 500 kinds; Manning reckons he has “about 480” from North America.

Most in the group can rattle off species with ease, verifying their finds by referring to well-thumbed reference-books tucked in their pockets.

“There’s a tufted titmouse!”

They watched a white-breasted nuthatch dart down the trunk of a tree head first, its long, thin beak leading the charge.

The yellow-rumped warbler can switch from eating insects to berries to survive, Manning explained, as they pause to watch one jump through brambles.

Except Manning doesn’t call the bird by its proper name. “They’re lovingly called butter-butt,” he said.

Not everyone is an expert. Kerry Novack and her husband, Chris Vales, have lived in Newport for four years. Sunday was their first visit to the sanctuary.

“We took a trip to New Zealand and went camping and saw so many beautiful birds,” Novack said. “And I realized, I don’t know what’s out in my own backyard. So, it’s just been great to come out here this morning.”

For more information, go to and click on “calendar” or call (401) 846-2577. The next free walk is 8 a.m. on April 3.

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