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60th Annual Newport Jazz Festival Lineup

February 7th, 2014 by Marshall Slocum Inn

Tickets for the 60th Annual Newport Jazz Festival, one of Newport’s biggest music festivals, are already on sale and the lineup is here.  Fort Adams will be bringing amazing jazz performances to Newport once again from August 1st to the 3rd.  The music starts at 11:30am on Friday, August 1st and ends at 7:00pm on Sunday, August 3rd.

njf-big[1]George Wein produced the first Jazz Festival in 1954 in order to celebrate jazz music and to make a case for its relevance.  From then on, this festival has continued to showcase jazz icons and bring attention to up and coming performers.  The Newport Jazz Festival has provided many memorable moment for jazz history, such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1956 and the introduction of Esperanza Spalding.  Performers at this festival both respect the tradition of jazz and reflect the changes in the current musical trends.

Here’s a list of the artists who will be bringing their talents to the Fort Adams stages.

Firday, August 1st – Jon Batiste & Stay Human, John Zorn’s Madasa Marathon, Miguel Zenon Big Band, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Snarky Puppy, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Rudresh Mahanthappa – A Charlie Parker Project, Amir ElSaffar Quintet, Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, URI Jazz Festival Big Band

Saturday, August 2nd – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Dave Holland Prism, Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper Experiment, SFJAZZ Collective, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Pedrito Martinez Group, Dick Hyman, Howard Alden & Jay Leonhart, Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet, Newport Now 60 Band, Stefano Bollani & Hamilton de Holanda

Sunday, August 3rd – Bobby McFerrin spirityouall, David Sanborn & Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Gary Burton New Quartet, Vijay Iyer Sextet, Danilo Perez Panama 500, Django Festival All-Stars, Ron Carter Trio, Lee Konitz Quartet, Ravi Coltrane, The Cookers, Migus Big Band, The Brubeck Brothers, George Wein & Newport All-Stars

Preservation Society of Newport– Bringing Newport History to the Public

January 30th, 2014 by Marshall Slocum Inn

Some of the biggest attractions in Newport are the Newport Mansion, which wouldn’t be available to the public without the efforts of the Preservation Society of Newport.  The Preservation Society was founded by a group of visionaries in 1945.  Their goal was to save Newport’s historical architecture from neglect and ruin.  It is a non-profit organization, which now has 11 properties, 7 of which are National Historic Landmarks.  They have worked to “protect, preserve and present” these houses as museums to share the history of Newport with further generations.  The Preservation Society of Newport is the largest cultural organization in Rhode Island, and is continuously working to engage the public in America’s heritage.

The Breakers

The Breakers

These historical building date back as far as the 1700’s and tell the story of America from the Colonial Era through the Gilded Age. More than 900,000 people visit these 11 properties every year, learning about what New England life was like within the last 250 years.  From the Hunter House to the Breakers, guests can explore history and see what life was like.  Both audio tours and guided tours are available.

The Preservation Society is always working to improve the historic experience and get their guests involved.  This past summer, the audio tour of the Elms was updated, which includes recent research and tells the story of the Venetian paintings in the dining room.  It also adds more information about servant life in the Gilded Age, incase you can’t experience the separate servants life tour.

In October 2013, the Preservation Society was approved by the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, to create a visitors center at the Breakers, Newport’s largest mansion.  This new center will get rid of the current ticket booth, portable restroom trailer, vending machine shed and seasonal ticket tent and create a one-story building that adopts the style of the original landscape.  It will offer visitors information about the Breakers as well as the other Preservation Society properties.  It will also offer refreshments and comfortable bathrooms.  No irreversible alteration to the landscape will happen and the historic “fabric” and “viewsheds” will be preserved.  They are just waiting on the appeal to the Newport Zoning Board.preservation-society-of-newport-county-logo

Top Ten Historical Attractions in Newport RI

January 18th, 2014 by Marshall Slocum Inn

Cliff Walk from the air

Cliff Walk from the air

I decided to write a piece on the  top ten historical attractions in Newport RI to assist our guests if time is short.   Most if not all of these landmarks are within walking distance of the Marshall Slocum Inn and/or have free ample parking.  Although there are significantly more than 10 historical landmarks we decided to offer a top ten list to guide our guests when visiting Newport.  For those guests who are staying longer at the bed and breakfast there are many more places and sites to see than these ten.

  1. The Breakers – The Breakers is undoubtably the most famous tourist attraction in Newport RI for domestic and international visitors.  Completed in 1895, The Breakers is a concrete example of the Vanderbilt families exorbant wealth derived from, amongst other things, the New York Central Railroad.  This National Historic Landmark consists of 70 rooms adorned with rare marble, alabaster, and gilded woods.  Perhaps the most enjoyable feature of the Breakers are the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the historic Cliff Walk.
  2. Touro Synagogue – The Touro Synagogue is the quintessential example of Roger Williams’s promotion of religious tolerance and could be a main topic of why Rhode Island is it’s own state.  Completed in 1763, the Synagogue became the first accepted active place of worship in the United States for Jewish persons.  During the British occupation of Newport RI the synagogue survived burning due to it’s usefulness to the British troops as a hospital and meeting place.  Recently, a beautiful new visitors center was completed giving tourists a great resource to learn about Judah Touro and his followers.
  3. The Marble House – Inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles, the Marble House is the other grand property of the Vanderbilt family.  The house is ordained with gold and marble throughout which architect, Richard Morris Hunt, intended to be a statement of wealth during the infamous Gilded Age.  Alva Vanderbilt, the properties owner, held her “Votes for Women” rallies at the mansion as part of her lifelong commitment to women’s rights.
  4. Rough Point – Rough Point is the home of Doris Duke, heiress and art collector who turned her good fortune into a life’s work in philanthropy.  Most of Duke’s fortune came from the tobacco plantations owned by her family and she is said to have donated up to $400 million throughout her lifetime.  Her philanthropic legacy continues today throughout the City of Newport by means of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation.
  5. National Museum of American Illustration – The National Museum of American Illustration is perhaps the most under visited and cautiously marketed attraction in Newport.  Located at Vernon Court, a Gilded Age mansion on Bellevue Avenue, the building hosts the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration art, featuring Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parish, JC Leyendecker, NC Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, and 150 other artists.
  6. The Elms – A personal favorite of the staff at the Inn, The Elms was completed in 1901 as a summer retreat for coal magnate Edward Berwin and his wife Herminie.  Features of the house include modern amenities that were unheard of at the time as well as floor to ceiling artwork and tapestries.  Perhaps the best part of the Elms preservation is the behind the scenes tour where visitors can see the staff living quarters, boiler room, laundry room, kitchen, and the secret roof deck with expansive views of Newport and the Atlantic Ocean.
  7. Fort Adams – Situated in a strategic location overlooking Narragansett Bay, Fort Adams is a unique example of coastal defense systems utilized pre Revolutionary War up to World War II.  Visitors can take a guided tour of the interior of the fort, the many underground tunnels, and the amazing overlook posts with 360 degree views of Aquidneck Island and Narragansett Bay.  Fort Adams is also home to the Jazz and Folk Festivals which occur each summer in Newport.
  8. The Newport Mill – The Newport Mill is located in beautiful Touro Park and is thought to be the oldest remaining structure in Newport.  There is no confusion about it’s usage from the 18th century onward but the debate rages on as to the buildings origin and purpose.  Some theories point to an astronomical tool and others to an observatory for the Chinese.  In a document of 1741 the tower is described as “the old stone mill” an d in 1760 the Tower was used as a haymow.  During the American Revolution, the tower was used by the Americans as a lookout, and by the British to store ammo.
  9. The Cliff Walk – Other than the Breakers the Cliff Walk is perhaps the number one tourist attraction in Newport.  Although there is not a lot of historical facts associated with the walk it offers too many beautiful scenic views and has been around since the Gilded Age to be left off this list.  The 3.5 mile walk was used by the Vanderbilts and all their wealthy neighbors on walks to Easton’s Beach.  In 1975 the walk was designated as a National Historic Trail, the first in New England.
  10. Washington Square – Two of Colonial America’s most significant structures are located at either end of Washington Square, the Colony House and the Brick Market.  Built in 1741, the Colony House is one of the best maintained surviving Georgian buildings in the United States.  The stately building was used for the colonial legislature during the fight for independence.  Another example of classic Georgian architecture is the Brick Market built in 1762.  The traditional open first level served as a marketplace for trading, much like Fanueil Hall in Boston.

New Year’s Day Polar Plunge

December 23rd, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

Nothing says “Happy New Year” like a nice dip in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean.  The annual Polar Plunge will be held on January 1st, 2014 at 12pm at Easton’s Beach.  The Newport Polar Bears welcome anyone who wants to brave the Atlantic in the winter. At this event, money is raised for A Wish Come True, a Rhode Island Charity that grants wishes to children suffering from life threatening illnesses.

A Wish Come True was started in 1982 by Rosemary Bowers, who wanted to make the lives of children suffering from severe illnesses a little brighter.  The mission of this charity is to, “grant every medically qualified child (ages 3 to 18) one memorable wish.”  In their first year, they granted 12 wishes and have increased that number to about 3 or 4 wishes per month.  A Wish Come True have completed over 1400 wishes since its start.

The Polar Plunge is a great way to kick off the New Year.  It is sure to be a great time for everyone, no matter if you brave the icy Atlantic or not.

 

 

The Holiday Season in Newport

November 15th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

The holiday season is upon us here in Newport, and there are plenty of activities going on that will put you in the holiday spirit!  The following are some great holiday happenings in Newport:

The Polar Express: Every weekend starting now until Christmas, take the spectacular journey to the North Pole with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Caroling, hot chocolate and cookies are all part of the experience.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions: From November 23rd to January 5th, three of Newport’s mansions, the Breakers, the Elms and Marble House will be decked out in holiday décor.  The houses will be filled with thousands of fresh flowers, poinsettias, evergreens and wreathes.  Each mansion will be open for tours daily.  You can also enjoy Holiday Evenings at the mansions on various dates, where you can enjoy light refreshments and music as you wander through the mansions.

Holly Days: On Saturday, December 7th, the Normal Bird Sanctuary will be hosting a holiday fair from 10am to 1pm.  Enjoy hiking, holiday crafts, games and more.

Bowne’s Wharf 43rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting – On December 7th, head down to Bowen’s Wharf for their annual Christmas Tree Lighting.  Festivities start at 4:30 with Frosty the Snowman and Christmas Carols.  The tree lighting starts at 6:00 and Santa will be paying everyone a visit.

 

Newport Restaurant Week is Just Around the Corner

October 24th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

The season may be slowing down, but for all of you foodies out there, Newport Restaurant Week is just around the corner.  From November 1st through 10th, enjoy three or four course meals from some of Newport’s best restaurants at a great price.  Enjoy lunch for $16 or dinner for $30 (beverages, tax and gratuities excluded).newport-restaurant-week-logo[1]

There are a bunch of new Restaurants joining the line up this year as well as old favorites. A few of our favorites include The Brick Alley Pub, The Mooring Restaurant, Diego’s, Tallulah on Thames, Thames Street Kitchen, Café Zelda, The Fifth Element and Salvation Café.  All these restaurants are just a short walk away from the Inn.  Wherever you decide to go, you’re sure to get a great meal at a great price.

Columbus Day Weekend in Newport

October 11th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

If you’re planning on spending Columbus Day weekend in Newport, but aren’t sure what to do, here’s a list of possible ideas:

Fortress of Nightmares: Head to Fort Adams State Park anytime after 6pm to experience the tunnel of terror, or join other ghost lovers for a ghost hunt starting at 10:30pm.  These terrors will be around every weekend of this month.

International Oktoberfest: Join your fellow beer lovers down at the Newport Yachting center on October 12th or 13th for music, food, and of course, beer. This festival is an official send off to summer and welcome to fall.

Festival in the Park: This free event will be held between 11am and 4pm on October 12th in Touro Park. Enjoy Italian music and food as well as dancing and raffles.

Live Improv with the Bit Players: Head down to the Firehouse Theater to enjoy live Improv by Newport’s best comedy crew.  Join them at 8pm on Friday or attend one of their Saturday shows at 8pm or 10pm .  This is a BYOB event.

Where to Find Antiques in Newport

October 4th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

antiques-newport[1]Among the restaurants, mansions, scenic walks and various boats you’ll find when in Newport, you’ll also find a large selection of Antiques to peruse. Here’s a list of a few of Newport’s premier Antiquing locations.

Armory Antiques (365 Thames Street): This Antiques shop is located in the heart of downtown Newport, in the Newport Armory, which functioned as a military armory from 1894 to the 1980’s.  The Armory has been showcasing antiques and collectibles since 1994 and feature items from over 70 dealers.  They are open 7 days a week and feature nautical and military items as well as a fine selection of furniture, art, vintage clothing, jewelry, coins, books and much more.

Aardvark Antiques (9 JT Connell Highway): In 1969, this shop was established by Arthur Grover. They specialize in stained glass, iron gates, fencing, but have been developing their line of bronze furnishings for the home and garden.

A & A Gaines Antiques (40 Franklin Street): Alan and Amy Gaines have been buying and selling antiques from around New England since 1980. They are closed on Mondays and open 1-5 Tuesday through Sunday. They have a selection of furniture, clocks, jewelry and Asian Exports.

Other shops around town: Antiques at the Drawing Room (152 Spring Street), Seahorse Antiques (91 Long Wharf), Cottage & Garden (9 Bridge Street) and Mark Jager Antiques (25 Mill Street)

 

White Horse Tavern

September 27th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

Most people don’t think about history when they go out to eat, but at the White Horse Tavern it’s hard not too.  This Tavern is the oldest, still running Tavern in the United States, rich with history and still serving excellent food.

The White Horse Tavern has only had 6 owners since being built in 1652 as the two story home of Francis Brinley.  Just over 20 years later in 1673, this property was acquired by William Mayes, Sr., who transformed it into a tavern, identifying it with a white horse – the symbol of a tavern during that time.

For about 100 years before the Colony House was constructed, this tavern was a meeting place for the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court, as well as City Council.  When William Mayes Jr., a notorious pirate, became the innkeeper in 1702 after his father, he was granted a license to sell “all sorts of Strong Drink.” William caused much embarrassment to the British officials and William’s sister Mary and her husband Robert Nichols soon became the tavern’s innkeepers.  City councilors continued to dine here and charged their meals to the public treasury.White_Horse_Tavern_in_Newport_RI[1]

In 1730, a new tavern keeper, Jonathan Nichols, gave the tavern its present name, The White Horse Tavern.  He was followed by Walter Nichols, who left Newport in 1776 to avoid the British, but returned later. When he returned, he added a gambrel rood and re-opened the tavern.

The Nichols family sold the tavern in 1895 to Thomas and Bridget Preece and it became a rooming house.

The structure suffered from use and neglect by 1954, but was acquired by the Preservation Society of Newport and was restored.  In 1957 it re-opened as the White Horse Tavern.  In 1981, O.L. Pitts and three partners purchased the Tavern and continued the tradition of “good fellowship, good food and good cheer.”  O.L. Pitts gave the tavern over to Paul Hogan, a native of Newport on his 90th birthday, and the White Horse Tavern continues to thrive.

 

 

 

 

The Whitehorne House

September 19th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn

The Whitehorne House, located on Thames Street, was built in 1811 and is a rare example of a Federal-style mansion.  It features a formal garden, a hipped roof and classical entry portico, as well as a grand central hallway featuring hand carved details.  This house is home to a large collection of 18th century American furniture, including works from the Townsend and Goddard workshops and Benjamin Baker.Whitehorne House Newport

Samuel Whitehorne Jr. made his fortune through various commercial enterprises, such as rum distilling, banking, shipping and most likely slave trading.  Whitehorne was one of Newport’s last great merchant “princes” due to the collapsed economy after the American Revolution.  The Whitehorne House was a symbol of his prosperity.  However, it was short lived after two of his ships were lost at sea.  Whitehorne went bankrupt and his house was sold at auction in 1843.  It was converted to shops and apartments and gradually deteriorated.  Thankfully, in 1969, the Newport Restoration Foundation purchased and restored the property.

Not only is the Whitehorne House now home to some of the best examples of Newport and Rhode Island furniture from the late 18th century, but it has a magnificent garden, which is an interpretation of a Federal period garden for an affluent, urban family.  The garden is filled with antique roses, blueberry bushes, fruit trees and various perennials and annuals.  The garden maintains a rustic quality despite its “refined geometry”.

 

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