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.
October 4th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
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)
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.
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.
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.
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”.
September 14th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
Even though summer is basically over and school has started, there are still plenty of things to do in Newport during the fall season. Here is a list of some of the upcoming festivals to look forward to as the leaves start to fall and the nights begin to cool down.
September 20th-22nd: The 8th Annual Newport Mansion Wine and Food Festival
Enjoy hundreds of wines from around the world as well as great cuisine. There will be cooking demonstrations by world renowned chefs, auctions and various gala events throughout the weekend. Tickets start at $150.
October 5th-6th: Norman Bird Sanctuary’s 39th Annual Harvest Fair
Start your fall off right by attending and old-fashioned Harvest Fair. There will be crafters, pony rides, music, and food for all ages to enjoy. The event is from 10am to 5pm and tickets are $6 for adults.
October 12th-13th: International Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is Newports “official” sendoff of summer and welcoming of fall. Seasonal beers, German Cuisine and lively music will be available to all who attend. There will be two Biergartens this year in order to make more room for the festivities. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
October 19th-20th: Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival
Local restaurants celebrate the “harvest of the Sea” on Bowen’s Wharf. There will be a variety of seafood and baked goods for everyone to enjoy. Live music will be playing all day long and the event is rain or shine.
October 26th: Newport Food Truck Festival
A variety of food trucks will be rolling into the Newport Yachting center to serve up great food such as grilled cheese sandwiches, tacos, lobster mac and cheese and desserts such as whoopee pies and homemade ice cream sandwiches. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.
November 1st-10th: Newport Restaurant Week
Enjoy three course lunches and dinners at some of Newport’s best restaurants. Three course lunches are $16 and dinners are $30.
August 31st, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
Since it’s completion in 1852, Chateau-sur-Mer has undergone a major transformation. Chateau-sur-Mer was first built by Seth Bradford, for William Shepard Wetmore, as a romantic Italianate villa. Wetmore wanted something a little more than the ordinary summer home and therefore had his made of rough-cut, Fall River granite, giving it a more rugged look, which wasn’t found in any of the other seaside villas. Though smaller than it is now, it was expensive and substantial enough to be considered palatial. It became a turning point in domestic architecture and triggered an architectural competition among summer residents.
Wetmore was a great entertainer and was featured in the New York Times for his “fete champetre,” held in 1857, and attended by over 3,000 guests. This party was the “start” of Chateau-sur-Mer. Unfortunately, when Wetmore died in 1862, his estate was passed to his son, George Peabody Wetmore, who undertook a major rebuilding of his fathers estate.
Richard Morris Hunt was the architect hired for the project. He altered the appearance of the Chateau so much that many believed the original had been torn down and replaced. His revisions began in 1871. He switched the main entrance from the west side to the north, built a grand carriage entrance, and replaced the gambrel roof with a steeper mansard roof. Hunt tore out the old service wing and replaced it with a billiards room, added a wing on the north side for a service area and new dining room, and created a dramatic entrance hall three stories high with balconies, skylights and an imperial staircase.
Several years later he continued the transformation of Chateau-sur-Mer and added another floor above the dining room and service wing as well as raising the mansard roofs. Critics have since used words such as “stern” and “severe” to describe this impressive mansion.
George Peabody Wetmore died in 1921 and left the estate to his two daughters, Edith and Maude, who began adding some softer touches to the very masculine residence. The house gradually filled with contemporary paintings and drawings and Chinese porcelain. The furnishings of the house were auctioned off after the death of Edith Wetmore in 1968, many of which were purchased by the Preservation Society, whom also purchased the estate.
August 18th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
Summer in Newport is winding down making way for Fall, but there’s still time to enjoy the beach! Newport has various beaches to satisfy any ocean lover. While there are a few private beaches around town, most beaches are open to the public.
First Beach – Also known as Easton’s Beach is located just a mile from our Newport Inn. It’s located on Memorial Boulevard, where you can also find the beginning to Cliff Walk. This is one of the more popular beaches and has a snack bar, carousel, skate park and gift shop. Many events take place on the beach such as concerts and volleyball tournaments. Parking costs between $10 and $20 and metered street parking is available.
Second Beach – Also known as Sachuest Beach, this beach is located in Middletown, next to the Norman Bird Sanctuary. This is a quieter beach with less seaweed and better waves for surfers. There is a snack bar and Del’s Lemonade available. Parking is between $10 and $20.
Third Beach – Third Beach is past Second Beach in Middletown. This is a small beach but is very peaceful and offers calm waters without many waves. It’s a good spot for wind surfing and there’s also a public boat ramp. Parking is between $10 and $20.
Gooseberry Beach – Gooseberry Beach is located along Ocean Drive and is set back in a cove so there aren’t many big waves. Many families come to enjoy this beach. The beach club here is private, but food can be purchased at the Gooseberry Café. Parking is $20.
Reject’s Beach – This beach is a public section at the end of Bailey’s Beach, which is a private beach. This beach is only accessible by walking or biking so it is usually less crowded.
August 12th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
The Isaac Bell House sits on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Perry Street and is one of the best examples of shingle style architecture in the nation. It was built between 1881 and 1883 by McKim, Mead and White as the summer residence for Isaac Bell Jr. Bell was a wealthy cotton broker and the brother-in-law of the publisher of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett.
This house blends English Queen Anne with New England colonial. The architects used Oriental design influences which created a new “vernacular” style, known now as “shingle style.” The Isaac Bell House helps illustrate the evolution of Newport as a premier place for great design and a distinctly American style of architecture. This house also features Arts and Crafts interiors, an open floor plan and Japanese inspired columns.
This house was passed through a variety of owners before being purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County in 1994. The house was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.
July 26th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in America, is located just minutes away from our Newport Inn. Newport’s first Jewish residents made their way to the island in 1658 from Barbados. Upon the arrival of these fifteen families, a new congregation was formed. They called themselves the “Yeshuat Isreal.” By 1677, the congregation realized they needed to acquire land for a Jewish cemetery and Mordechai Campanal and Moses Israel Paeheco, two of the original immigrants, purchased a lot on the corner of what is now Kay and Touro Streets.
The Jewish population had grown by 1758, to a point where they needed a larger, permanent gathering place and house of worship. Peter Harrison, a Newport resident volunteered to design the synagogue and construction began in 1759. Newport’s Jewish citizens were closely tied to communities throughout the mid-Atlantic region as well as the Caribbean and garnered significant financial support. Communities in London, Jamaica and Surinam also lent financial support. The building was completed in 1763 and was dedicated on December 2nd, during the Chanukah festival celebrations. The dedication was a regional ceremony attended not only by the congregation, but by clergy and other dignitaries from around the colony.
During the American Revolution, the British occupied Newport and many of the Jewish residents fled the city. Isaac Touro kept watch over the synagogue and it became a hospital for the British military as well as a public assembly hall. British troops were desperate during the cold winters and tore down and burned a number of local residences and buildings, however, since the synagogue was used as a hospital and meeting place, it was saved from the same fate. British troops evacuated Newport in October of 1779 and within the next few years many of the Jewish families returned.
The war took a toll on the regions economy and rival ports quickly overshadowed Newport. Many of the Jewish merchants had business interest in these other cities, and by the end of the War of 1812, most of the families had moved. The synagogue was used occasionally for holy days and funerals. The congregation decided to lock the doors and left Stephen Gould as caretaker. Legal oversight and its deed were given to Congregation Shearith Isreal of New York, with whom there was already a close relationship. Even with the distance from the synagogue, Newport natives Abraham and Judah Touro both provided aid to maintain the properties. Abraham had a brick wall built around the cemetery in 1820 and bequeathed $10,000 to the State of Rhode Island for the support and maintenance of the “Old Jewish Synagogue” when he died. He also bequeathed $5,000 for the maintenance of the road connecting the cemetery and the synagogue. Because of his generosity, this street was named Touro Street the synagogue took on the name of Touro Synagogue. Judah died in 1854 and had previously replaced the wall his brother had made which had fallen into disrepair. His will included $10,000 towards the ministry and maintenance of the synagogue.
In 1881, the “new” Jewish community of Newport petitioned the New York congregation to reopen the synagogue for services and to appoint a permanent rabbi. Congregation Shearith Isreal in New York complied and sent a rabbi from London, but retained the rights to the building. A lease amount of $1 per year is still paid to the New York group. In 1946, Touro Synagogue was designated as a National Historic Site, followed two years later by the Touro Synagogue Foundation to aid in the maintenance and upkeep of the building and grounds. Touro Synagogue remains an active house of worship and is open for tours.
July 14th, 2013 by Marshall Slocum Inn
There are a lot of outdoor activities in Newport, RI, including a variety of different scenic walking routes. Most people head straight for Cliff Walk to enjoy the views of rugged cliffs along the water on one side, and the magnificent mansion on the other, however, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge offers views that are just as grand.
Sachuest Point occupies the peninsula between the Sakonnet River and the Rhode Island Sound, just past Second Beach in Middletown, RI. A newly renovated visitors center welcomes you to the 242 acre Wildlife Refuge. There are over 2.5 miles of nature trails with various viewing platforms along the way. This Refuge is popular for saltwater fishing and has the largest winter population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast. The refuge supports over 200 bird species in its saltmarsh and beach strand habitats as well as its upland shrub dominated land. Some notable birds include: peregrine falcons, northern harriers and snowy owls.
This land started out as farming land and was later used as a horse racing area. During World War II, the Navy used this land as a communications site and rifle range. In 1970, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge was established after a donation from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.