Archive for the ‘What to Do in Newport’ Category
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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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 www.greenvale.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at www.greenvale.com.
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 www.normanbirdsanctuary.org and click on “calendar” or call (401) 846-2577. The next free walk is 8 a.m. on April 3.
March 17th, 2011 by billfarrell
JANUARY 27, 2011, Newport, RI – David Pitman, secretary of the J-Class Association, announced that the first event in the J-Class Global calendar will be staged in Newport, Rhode Island. Racing in the fabled waters of the America’s Cup, the J-Class will use this regatta to kick off a four-regatta series culminating in a race around the Isle of Wight in July of 2012 for the finale regatta, which will be for the newly-minted Hundred Guinea Cup.
In 1930, Newport was the venue for the start of the remarkable J-Class era. Between 1930 and 1937 there were just 10 of these stunning yachts constructed for the purpose of winning the America’s Cup. Two of the originals (Shamrock V and Velsheda) will participate in Newport, together with Ranger, a true replica of the original. Negotiations continue with two other new J-yachts to have them join the regatta.
Lars Loftus, Captain of Velsheda, said, “Our team looks forward to racing in Newport. Brad Read of Sail Newport has given us an exciting course inside the bay, and we look forward to showing our friends on Shamrock and Ranger how a big yacht performs!”
In response, Dan Jackson, Captain of Ranger, said, “The pleasure will be ours to show Lars and his team the proper way to get the most out of a J-Class yacht.”
Sail Newport and the J-Class Association are responsible for the on-water race management of the regatta. The yachts and their teams will be based at the Newport Shipyard with crews staying at the Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina.
The regatta series of five races will be run from June 15 to 19, 2011, with starts and finishes off of Fort Adams. Viewing stands will be set up on the northwestern corner of Fort Adams, and other excellent viewing options will be at Castle Hill Inn and various spots in Jamestown. Working with the U.S. Coast Guard, Sail Newport will establish safe water viewing areas along the entire course. Mr. Pitman closed the announcement by saying, “This will be the first competitive J-Class regatta in the U.S.A. since the America’s Cup event of 1937 between the defender Ranger and the challenger Endeavour II.
“We hope to provide the most exciting racing seen in Newport since then, and with the continued support of the state and the city of Newport, we look forward to confirming arrangements for a major regatta in Newport during 2014, featuring up to ten J-Class yachts.”
While participating or watching these fascinating races, make The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport your home away from home.
March 13th, 2011 by billfarrell
Saturday, March 12, 2011
GoLocalProv Lifestyle Team
Salve Regina University in Newport opens their annual French Film Festival on Sunday, March 27, a two-week event that attracted an audience of more than 2,000 last year.
The opening reception and film will feature a wine and cheese tasting provided by Newport Wine Cellar, French café music performed by Salve Regina students, and student ushers from the university’s theatre department dressed in can-can. The feature film on opening night, Heartbreaker/L’Arnacœur, is an action-packed romantic comedy that was a blockbuster in France.
Films range from dramas and thrillers and romantic comedies. A complete line-up can be found here: www.salve.edu/frenchfilm. The festival runs at two locations in Newport through April 7. Tickets are $15 for the opening night film and reception. All other films during the festival will cost $5 at the door and will be screened at Salve Regina University’s O’Hare Academic Center, Ochre Point Avenue. A festival pass to all films and events is available for $20. Salve Regina students are admitted free with valid university identification.
Tickets and passes may be purchased at www.tinyurl.com/salvecasino or by calling (866) 811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased at the Casino Theatre during box office hours.
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
January 5th, 2011 by billfarrell
There are many theories about who built the Newport Tower including the Viking theory, the Benedict Arnold Windmill theory, the Portuguese theory, the Templar theory, and the alien theory. As of yet, none of the theories have been proven but each one has its own merits and until proven otherwise, it is up to each of us to decide which theory we believe. If you really want to learn more about the Tower and some of the theories around it, there is no better place to learn about it the the Newport Tower Museum which is located directly across the street form the tower at 152 Mill Street, Newport. Jim Egan runs the museum and is an expert on the tower and has his own ideas about it. I am not sure of the hours of the Tower Museum but Jim can be reached at 401.447.6757. His web site is www.newporttowermuseum.com
While walking through Touro Park and discovering the tower and museum, other nearby attractions include the Newport Art Museum and The Redwood Library, the oldest lending library in the United States. The Spring Seasons Inn is only a five minute walk from the Tower Museum.
November 26th, 2010 by billfarrell
Fri, 26 Nov 2010 20:09:41By Eric Tucker
Associated Press / November 26, 2010
NEWPORT, R.I.—Bellevue Avenue, home to a series of eye-catching mansions that famously embody America’s Gilded Age, crams enough history in a two-mile strip of Newport to be a mini-city unto itself.
Now, to accommodate both history buffs and casual passers-by, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates this city’s historic mansions has created a self-guided walking trail linking 11 historic clusters of properties along the avenue.
Markers outside the properties help identify the trail while also detailing the buildings’ history, architectural style and cultural commentary. They even include descriptions of neighboring buildings that have been demolished or are simply less well known.
“We tell the stories of each individual house, and yes, you can reference one house with another, but we felt we didn’t have an effective medium for linking the whole neighborhood together and telling the whole story,” said John Tschirch, an architectural historian and director of museum affairs for the Preservation Society of Newport County, which owns most of the city’s famous mansions and opens them to the public as tourist destinations.
“You get a rich experience in each house, but we wanted to give the experience of the whole streetscape and the urban plan,” he added.
There are about six homes in each of the clusters. Among the best known homes are the Elms, Chateau-sur-Mer and Rough Point, the one-time home of tobacco heiress Doris Duke.
Some of the homes are private; many of those that are not are open to visitors during certain hours.
The four-year trail project was completed this month and cost roughly $35,000, most of which was given by a private donor. It is similar in intent to the red-brick Freedom Trail in Boston, though the pale-green markers in Newport are more subtle and aimed at better blending into the neighborhood.
The markers read like a list of who’s who of wealthy dignitaries and socialites from the late 19th century and early 20th century.
The sign outside the Preservation Society’s headquarters, for instance, reveals that it once was the home of Herbert Pell, a congressman from New York and the father of Claiborne Pell, who represented Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and died in January 2009.
A nearby Gothic Revival house, the marker says, was built for Albert Sumner, the brother of Charles Sumner, a senator from Massachusetts who in 1856 was badly beaten on the Senate floor by a South Carolina congressman after delivering an anti-slavery speech.
The markers also offer assorted tidbits of information, obscure and well-known alike. Visitors are reminded not only that the film version of “The Great Gatsby” was shot at the Rosecliff mansion, but that decades earlier, the home’s owner, a Nevada silver heiress named Theresa Fair Oelrichs, dressed as Mother Goose at a special Fairy Tales ball.
The trail also highlights the Sherwood home, where an engagement party for John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier was once held. The building has since been converted into apartments.
The markers tell of fights over preservation, demolition and even over the fate of an unsightly junkyard that some wealthy residents considered a blight on the neighborhood. Each one includes a section called “Voices from the Past” — typically a quote from a newspaper or magazine article offering commentary on the homes and on Newport society.
“Since the passing of the Gilded Age that these houses symbolize, two wars, a long depression, high income taxes and a shortage of servants have dimmed Newport’s splendor. The doors of these villas will never be opened again,” a 1944 Life magazine article posited.
Dawn Cochran, 38, who works at a bank and recently was taking a morning stroll down the avenue, said the trail is a good idea, even for locals like herself.
“Living here all my life, I don’t know the history of Newport,” she said.
The first signs went up several years ago to a positive reception, Tschirch said. Of course, there are many Newport attractions beyond the ones on Bellevue Avenue — for instance, the Breakers, the most-visited and spectacular of the city’s mansions — that don’t get recognized on the trail.
Tschirch he hopes to ultimately expand the project to other streets to help visitors better appreciate the city’s rich history.
“Newport was America’s architectural treasure chest and as a result, those architects, landscape designers were shaping American culture, or contributing to American culture — just like painters and writers,” he said.
© Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
October 31st, 2010 by billfarrell
Sun, 31 Oct 2010 21:37:06By TOM MEADE
Journal Staff Writer
The International Yacht Restoration School is one of the sights along Newport’s Harbor Walk North tour.
AP / Michael Dwyer
NEWPORT — For more than 300 years, Newport Harbor has been one of the most important seaports on the east coast of America. The harbor has experienced several incarnations, many still visible on the Newport Harbor Walk.
Friends of The Waterfront, a nonprofit group, has mapped the harbor walk; it complements Newport’s famous Cliff Walk and Ten Mile Drive.
“It’s a fantastic idea whose time is long overdue,” says Evan Smith, president of the Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It gives visitors a sense of how majestic Newport Harbor is.”
On the harbor tour, walkers encounter historic buildings, a working waterfront, tourist attractions and a lot of boats, including world-class racing sailboats, restored antiques, luxury yachts and working fishing boats.
The harbor walk is divided into two parts. Harbor Walk North meanders through the city’s historic Point Section, the original Colonial center of the waterfront. Harbor Walk South takes visitors along today’s working waterfront.
The British destroyed Newport’s Colonial waterfront by breaking up and burning wooden docks for heat during the American Revolution, but the Point Section of the city still has many 18th-century buildings as well as some lovely Victorian houses.
The “driftways” to the water in the Point Section once led to the wooden docks for tall ships. Today, they are public rights of way to the water, open to everyone.
Peek into the yards here to discover some stunning hidden gardens.
The walk includes Newport Shipyard, where visitors may see some of the world’s elite racing yachts as well as some lavish cruisers, depending on who is in port. Next door is the state fishing pier, where lobstermen and commercial fishermen are on the job. The contrast between the shipyard and the state pier is remarkable.
The full Harbor Walk North tour, starting at Perrotti Park, is just under three miles. It’s really a stroll, rather than a brisk walk, so plan on spending some extra time.
The shipyard and fishing pier provide a preview of what lies ahead in Harbor Walk South, which winds through today’s working harbor front.
It includes a lot of T-shirt and souvenir places, restaurants, bars and boutiques, but behind them are working fishing boats, water taxis, tour boats and marinas that provide working wages for hundreds of people.
Along the way, the International Yacht Restoration School, is teaching future workers essential skills for jobs in the marine trades. At the dock behind the school, look for beautifully restored wooden vessels.
Harbor Walk South is about two miles from the Stone Pier at King Park to Perrotti Park, but because of all the interesting stops, it takes a spell to complete.
“What a wonderful visitor attraction!” says Evan Smith. “The harbor walk really enhances the visitor experience.”
Maps and a guide to the Newport Harbor Walk are available online at newportharborwalk.com. The site also includes links to the Cliff Walk and Ten Mile Drive. More information about things to do in Newport is available online at gonewport.com.