If the weather holds, this weekend is a fabulous time to take advantage of one of the Newport Historical Society’s annual Holiday Lantern Tours. You learn about the history of celebrating this season among the native Newporters. The stories will surprise you!
It’s also a great weekend for visiting Rough Point and the three fully-decorated Newport Mansions — The Elms, The Breakers, and Marble House.
A Rough Point Holiday will showcase the Newport Restoration Foundation’s signature property with Christmas décor and more in this historic mansion.
At The Breakers, the Preservation Society of Newport County will host a special “Holiday Evening at the Newport Mansion” event this Saturday (Dec 22) and next Saturday (Dec 29). If you haven’t yet attended one of these evenings, you are missing out on something truly special and memorable.
Many other exciting holiday events are scheduled all around Newport. Check the schedules below and online at ChristmasInNewport.org. Please share these events with our visitors and try to attend as many of them for yourself as well.
Share the joy of this Christmas and holiday season with everyone you meet!!
TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK: BE NEWPORT’S BEST AMBASSADOR
As a Tour Guide and/or Greeter, you are an important Ambassador for Newport and the many exhibits, entertainments, and attractions we offer. Each person you interact with automatically sees you as a “The Newporter” and thus representative of the happy attitude and knowledgeable resident of this quintessential seaport.
For the relatively short time each of our visitors are in this city, we need to give them everything we’ve got and deliver our special brand of hospitality at the very highest level of professionalism we know how. You represent all of us and all the history and special qualities that make us one of the most unique cities in the world.
Let each of us strive to establish Newport as the gold standard of hospitality, consistently delivering memorable experiences to one and all.
Finally, let your Christmas and holiday spirit shine in this most joyous season of the year!
Ah, December, we barely knew you. Only a few busy days remain in this holiday season. There will still be more school groups, college students, bus tours, and other visitors in our city. Fortuitously, at the end of the month we’ll witness one of our busiest weeks. But the numbers will soon drop.
It’s best to check in with each of Newport’s largest employers (see contact list below). There may still be a few seasonal and short-term openings for work at the city’s historic attractions, including tour guides, cashiers, security personnel, and ticket sellers. Call and ask if they need your help.
PRE-2019 NOTICE: This is the best time to research jobs, start making connections, and seeking employment for next year. Most of the city’s largest tour and cruise businesses accept job applications year-round. Get a jump on the next year’s seasonal job-seeking crowd and apply now for 2019 work on harbor cruises, walking tour guides, trolley driver/guides, and cruise ship bus step-on guide work.
Here is contact information for the city’s biggest employers of tour guides and greeters.
- Preservation Society of Newport County. This is the largest owner and operator of historic mansions in Newport. Open year-round. They hire tour guides, housekeepers, and security guards. Check out their web site for current job openings. Info: newportmansions.org
- Newport Historical Society. This organization offers the largest variety and greatest number of walking tours in the city. Tours offered year-round. Info: newporthistory.org
- Newport Restoration Society. This non-profit operates Rough Point mansion (680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). Seasonal. Info: newportrestoration.org
For continuous and updated job listings, please go to www.whatsupnewp.com.
NEW LISTINGS AND EVENTS: For more information to prepare you to be the best tour guide & greeter ever, read and learn about the following updated listings and previews of the busy season ahead for residents and visitors alike.
SPEAKERS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Check out the wide selection of lectures, exhibits, talks, classes, tours, and workshops to add to your knowledge and increase your understanding of the people and history of greater Newport.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 – ROGUES & SCOUNDRELS WALKING TOUR – 10:30 AM
Every tour guide should experience one or more of the great walking tours organized by the Newport Historical Society. This tour about some of the city’s more colorful residents – pirates, criminals, and more — leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS – DECEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 29 – HOLIDAY LANTERN TOURS — 4:00 PM
One of those most interesting and inspiring Newport walking tours! Guests hear the history of early American holiday traditions on this memorable evening walk. Learn how Newporters did, or did not, observe the holidays.
Tour departs from The Museum of Newport History and Shop (127 Thames Street, Newport). Tickets: $15. Members: $10. Active Duty Military with ID: $10. Reservations recommended. Info: 401/841-8770; newporthistorytours.org
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 – DISCOVER COLONIAL NEWPORT WALKING TOUR – 10:30 AM
Every tour guide should experience one or more of the great walking tours organized by the Newport Historical Society. This tour offers stories of entrepreneurship, African American heritage and religious diversity during Newport’s colonial period. Tickets: Adults: $15; Children: $5. 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM. Tour leaves from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and Reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 — A ROUGH POINT HOLIDAY – DORIS DUKE’S ROUGH POINT
Rooms of the museum will be spruced up for the Christmas holiday while others will be cloaked in their winter coverings. Together, these spaces tell the story of Doris’s holiday traditions and the off-season routines of one of Newport’s most famous summer cottages. Hours: 10 am – 4 pm. Admission: $10, adults; Children 12 and under, free. Rough Point (680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). Info: 401/847-8344; newportrestoration.org/events
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 – HOLIDAY EVENING AT THE MANSIONS – THE BREAKERS – 6-8 PM
This is the second to last of the Christmas season Holiday Evenings at The Breakers (4 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport). The evening includes live music, light refreshments, eggnog, and cider. The mansion comes alive with beautiful music and inspiring Christmas decorations. Ticket prices vary. Reservations encouraged. 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Info & Tickets: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23 – GOLDEN TO GILDED WALKING TOUR – 10:30 AM
Every tour guide should experience one or more of the great walking tours organized by the Newport Historical Society. On this tour you’ll get the inside skinny on the transformation of Newport and its people from its colonial Golden Age to Gilded Age summer colony. This tour leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
MONDAY, DECEMBER 24 – ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE – 10:30 AM
This tour features riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Learn about Newport in the years surrounding the American Revolution. This tour leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 10:00 AM
One-hour tour to view seals on Citing Rock with experts from Save The Bay. Tour leaves from Bowen’s Ferry Landing, 18 Market Square. Tickets: $17-$22. Register at: savebay.org/seals.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29 – HOLIDAY EVENING AT THE MANSIONS – THE BREAKERS – 6-8 PM
This is the last of the Christmas season Holiday Evenings at The Breakers (4 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport). The evening includes live music, light refreshments, eggnog, and cider. The mansion comes alive with beautiful music and inspiring Christmas decorations. Ticket prices vary. Reservations encouraged. 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Info & Tickets: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 10:00 AM
One-hour tour to view seals on Citing Rock with experts from Save The Bay. Tour leaves from Bowen’s Ferry Landing, 18 Market Square. Tickets: $17-$22. Register at: savebay.org/seals.
CONTINUING PROGRAMS & EXHIBITS
SUNDAYS ONLY – NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31 – TOURO SYNAGOGUE TOUR – 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Touro Synagogue (85 Touro Street, Newport) is the oldest synagogue in the United States. It was designed by Peter Harrison and dedicated in 1763. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1946. Tours begin at the Loeb Visitors Center (54 Spring Street, Newport). The Center opens a half hour before the start of the tour and closes ½ hour after the tour ends. Info: 401/847-4794; tourosynagogue.org
RANDOMLY THROUGHOUT THE CHRISTMAS SEASON –WASHINGTON SQUARE STREET PERFORMERS
Art & Performance join for impromptu street performances in the magical space of Washington Square in the heart of the historic district of Newport. Dancers, singers, and posing “statues” are all part of the mix when this troupe of performers appear for an impromptu happening. There is no schedule. They prefer to just let spontaneity occur in this busy square. Tell your guests to keep their eyes peeled for street entertainment as they shop and tour our city. More Info: Washington Square Street Performers on Facebook or washingtonsquareperformers on Instagram.
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 1, 2019 – FORT ADAMS GUIDED TOURS – DAILY – HOURS VARY
This is a must-see Newport attraction. Fort Adams is the largest coastal fortress in the United States. From pre-revolutionary earthen cannon emplacements through the WWII command center, learn more about the history of the fortress once called “The Rock on Which the Storm Shall Beat”. Guided one-hour tours are offered weekdays at Noon and 2:00 PM; and hourly on weekends from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Located at Fort Adams State Park (entrance off Ocean Drive, Newport). Admission: $12 (adults); $6 (ages 6-17). Info: 401/841-0707; fortadams.org
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 1, 2019 — CHRISTMAS AT THE NEWPORT MANSIONS
Christmas Season begins in November at the four big houses of the Preservation Society. Christmas flowers and special decorations will fill The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House. Special holiday evenings are scheduled at the Breakers on November 24, December 1, 8, 22, and 29th from 6-8 pm. The Elms and Marble House Duet holiday evening is scheduled for December 15th from 6-9 pm. Info: newportmansions.org
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 20, 2019 – “LA FAMIGLIA” – ART EXHIBIT – ATELIER NEWPORT – 2:00 PM
Since its opening in 2016, Atelier Newport has hosted numerous artists and their work. This new exhibit brings together a number of these artists’ work for one exciting show. Exhibit will remain through January 20, 2019. Free and open to the public. Info: 401/619-0700; ateliernewport.com
NOW THROUGH FEBRUARY 3, 2019 — PORSCHE THEN & NOW – AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
The Porsche is one of the most amazing automobile stories of the 20th & 21st centuries. Check out this exhibit and learn about the history and current leadership of this brand. Open daily, 10 am – 4 pm. 222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Info: 401/856-4420. Audrainautomuseum.org
NOW THROUGH MARCH 1, 2019 – BILL CUNNINGHAM: FACADES – ROSECLIFF
BILL CUNNINGHAM: FACADES, the newest exbibit at Rosecliff, opened on Sunday, December 2nd. Celebrating the creative intersection of fashion and architecture through the lens of a visionary photographer, this exhibition explores Cunningham’s self-created project, begun in 1969, documenting the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. Here he captures Manhattan’s Egyptian temples and Russian cathedrals, Beaux-Arts mansions, Gothic Revival churches, art deco office buildings, and high Victorian department stores. Bill Cunningham found antique clothes in New York’s thrift shops, street fairs and auctions, and dressed Editta Sherman, “the Duchess of Carnegie Hall,” in his fashion finds, posing her in front of a wide variety of these Manhattan sites. The results are mesmerizing.
PREVIEW OF WINTER 2019 IN NEWPORT
JANUARY 6, 2019 – NEWPORT ART MUSEUM SCHOOL CLASSES BEGIN
The Newport Art Museum School’s courses and workshops for youth and adults begin January 6, 2019. Offerings for the winter term include a professional practices workshop for artists, monotype printing, painting, hand building in clay, and more. Newport Art Museum members receive a 15% discount on tuition. Registration closes one week before the class start date. All classes are held at The Newport Art Museum School located in the Coleman Center for Creative Studies (26 Liberty Street, Newport). More information on the full selection of classes and registration is available at newportartmuseum.org, or by phone at 401-619-7983.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019 – “I AM AN HONEST WOMAN:” FEMALE REVOLUTIONARY RESISTANCE ALONG THE NEW ENGLAND SEACOAST
Dr. Emily Murphy, Curator for the National Park Service at Salem Maritime National Historical Site, will discuss the popular spinning bees of the New England seacoast in the late 1760s and early 1770s, including several that took place in colonial Newport. This presentation will examine how middleclass women participated in resistance in the years before 1775. Presentation will be held at the Newport Historical Society Resource Center (82 Touro Street, Newport), 5:30 -6:30 pm. Info: 401/846-0813; newporthistory.org
JANUARY 19-25, 2019 – NEWPORT WELLNESS WEEK — NEWPORT MARRIOTT
Start the year off right by focusing on lifelong health and wellness solutions. Join us for this annual celebration of mind, body and spirit featuring a diverse array of events throughout the destination tailored to help you become the best version of yourself. This annual event will feature a Wellness Marketplace on Sunday, January 20th in the Atrium of the Newport Marriott. More info: https://www.discovernewport.org/newport-wellness-week/
JANUARY 24, 2019 – WINTER LECTURE SERIES – ROSECLIFF – 11:00 AM
The First lecture in this Winter Lecture Series is titled, “Rosecliff-Hangers: Stories from the Rose Garden.” Members: $10; General Public: $15. Info and Reservations: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
FEBRUARY 15-24, 2019 — NEWPORT WINTER FESTIVAL
Check out the 31st Annual Newport Winter Festival, touted as “New England’s Largest Winter Extravaganza.” the annual Winter Festival will take place throughout Newport and Newport County. It features over 150 events and offers our guests and visitors a unique winter experience combining food, festivities, music, and fun for all ages. Highlighted events include the Family Fun Days, Chili Cook-Off, Mac & Cheese Smackdown, Newport Burger Bender, Princess Party and exciting, fun concerts by the Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Changes in Latitudes and more! Updates and more information: https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/event/newport-winter-festival/39329/
UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS IN 2019
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019 – TRAVELS ACROSS AMERICA: ART, NATURE, AND THE PURSUIT OF BEAUTY
The 2019 Newport Symposium kicks off with this lecture and opening reception at Rosecliff at 5:30 pm. For info: 401/847-1000, ext. 178; Newport mansions.org
JUNE 21-23, 2019 – THE NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW – AUDUBON ARTISTIC ADVENTURES – ROSECLIFF MANSION
The 2019 Newport Flower Show will feature design and horticulture exhibit, a Home & Garden Marketplace, Oceanside Boutiques, outdoor garden displays, lectures, and demonstrations by the top experts in the field. The Opening Night Party will take place from 6-9 pm on June 21.
OCTOBER 3-6, 2019 – AUDRAIN’S NEWPORT CONCOURS & MOTOR WEEK – INAUGURAL EVENT
The Audrain Automobile Museum presents the inaugural Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week coming to Newport, Rhode Island on October 3 -6, 2019. Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week 2019 will be the first of an annual event which aims to enliven the story of the automobile and its racing history in the northeast region of our country. With all this history, and help from their Event Chair, world renowned collecting, restoration, and culture expert, Jay Leno and their Concours Chair, Donald Osborne, noted classic car historian, consultant, writer and television personality, the Audrain Automobile Museum adds another chapter to Newport’s extensive book of automotive and sporting fascination.
With the support and assistance from the Preservation Society of Newport County, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Salve Regina University, along with car enthusiasts, luxury car brands, venue partners, and supporters in Newport, Audrain plans to execute one of the highest quality events that the community has ever seen and raise money to increase the local economy. Info: 401/856-4420; audrainautomuseum.org
GO ON THESE TWO MANSION TOURS!
SERVANT LIFE TOUR AT THE ELMS: EXPANDED NUMBER OF TOURS!
Considered by many to be the best tour in Newport, The world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour” at The Elms has added two additional daily tour times to meet demand during this holiday season. Tours are now offered at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. The tour is one hour. Info: newportmansions.org
BENEATH THE BREAKERS TOUR: EXPANDED NUMBER OF TOURS!
The Breakers tour, “Beneath the Breakers,” is scheduled daily. Tours are now offered at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. Tour is one hour. Info: newportmansions.org
NEW PUBLICATIONS & BOOKS
Congratulations to Newport historian and author, Brian Stinson, on the success of his book, “Newport Firsts: A Hundred Claims to Fame.” As of December 18th, his book was #10 on one of Amazon’s top lists — Lighthouses — and #143 on the New England Travel books list. This very interesting book was published by The History Press in April 2018.
HANDBOOK FOR NEW TOUR GUIDES & GREETERS
If you’re new to Newport and/or new to this field, get your copy of THE OFFICIAL 2018 NEWPORT GUIDES & GREETERS HANDBOOK [Direct from the author or via Amazon.com] to help you become a master hospitality ambassador for our city. It also lists many of the best tour companies and hospitality organizations hiring seasonal and year-round people here. Consider working in ticket sales or other support positions at one or more of these tour companies. It will give you some visitor services experience and make you aware of tour guide and greeter jobs as they become available during the season.
————————————————————————————————————————-KENNETH PROUDFOOT, a Newport Tour Escort and Guide, is the author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).