Newport Tour Guides and Greeters News – #53: A big finish for the Newport Mansions

The Breakers

Midtown Oyster Bar

The Newport Mansions and many other historic sites had a banner week the last week of December. Record crowds were recorded at The Breakers, Marble House, and other tourist favorites around the city.  On December 28th, the Preservation Society of Newport County also reported they had delivered over one million tours, with still a few days left before the month’s busy last weekend that was expected to further swell their final visitor tally for the year. This marks the third year in a row the PSNC has topped the one million tours mark.

Congratulations to everyone at the Preservation Society of Newport County for this amazing accomplishment!

ALSO THIS WEEK

The Elms is closed now through February 14th for a “deep cleaning” of the 1901 Bellevue Avenue mansion. The mansion will re-open for tours on Friday, February 15th at 10 am. Additional information and schedule at: newportmansipons.org

Walking Tours led by guides from the Newport Historical Society will resume Saturday, February 16th with the popular “Road to Independence” tour. Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org  

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The Chinese Tea House at Marble House (596 Bellevue Avenue, Newport) closed for the season on December 31st. It is expected to re-open May 18, 2019. Please check back at newportmansions.org for further updates.

TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK: HAVE A VISION FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE

Visitors to Newport come here for the history, the mansions, the ocean, the bay, the food, and our many special events and festivals. They return because of the high quality of services and how we make them feel while they are visiting with us.  

Great service is something that makes us special and helps distinguish us from every other of the million and one places they can choose to spend their time and money.  It does not happen by accident. We’re all involved in one way or another, from the desk clerk at the hotel to the trolley driver to the restaurant server to the tour guide and to the police officer on the beat. And everyone else who lives and works here. As a result, each of us needs to be conscious of the important role we play in the overall tapestry of creating a high-quality experience for our guests. At every level of our businesses and organizations, all of us must be thinking about doing our part to meet and exceed the expectations of all our visitors.

It begins with envisioning what our guests will experience and what it will look like when our business is delivering high quality service to our customers and clients.  Each week in this column, we share some tips and strategies for planning, marketing, and providing quality services. If you have a suggestion, please send it along so we can share it with all our readers.

As you begin the first week in this new year of 2019, think about embracing a vision for delivering outstanding service to your guests and visitors. Let’s make 2019 our best year ever in the City-by-the-Sea!

JOB OPENINGS

The Christmas holiday rush is nearly at an end.  The Newport Mansions and many other public sites will be retiring their holiday decorations for another year.  Tour schedules and opening times will be adjusted at historic sites all over the city. Cutbacks in personnel have already started. Annual layoffs will begin for many others.  

It’s best to check in with each of Newport’s largest employers (see contact list below). There may still be a few winter season short-term openings available at the city’s historic attractions, including tour guides, cashiers, security personnel, and ticket sellers.  Call and ask if they need your help.

WINTER 2019 NOTICE: This season can be the best time to research jobs, start making connections, and secure employment for the coming Spring and Summer seasons.  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.

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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.

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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.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 3 – EIGHT BELLS LECTURE – MCMACKEN COMMUNITY CENTER – FORT ADAMS – 12 NOON

Chuck Veit brings the next presentation in the ongoing Eight Bells Lecture series. His topic is “Natural Genius: Brutus de Villeroi and the U.S. Navy’s First Submarine.”  Free admission. Presentation begins at noon. Info: elizabeth.delucia@usnwc.edu.   

SATURDAY, JANUARY 5 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 1:00 PM

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, JANUARY 5 – SPRING BULL GALLERY – ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION – 5-7 PM

Multi-media works by local artists will be the focus of a new exhibit tilted, “City Life.” Exhibit will continue through January 30. The public is cordially invited to attend an Opening Reception: 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Spring Bull Gallery (55 Bellevue Avenue, Newport); Info: 401/849-9166, springbullgallery.com

SUNDAY, JANUARY 6 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 1:00 PM

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.

SUNDAY, 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 – “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

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CONTINUING PROGRAMS & EXHIBITS

RANDOMLY THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAY 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 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. Hours and more info: newportmansions.org

NOW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 – “MY SMALL ABILITY” – THE LIFE AND WORK OF WILLIAM CLAGGETT

This exhibit at the Newport Historical Society Resource Center (82 Touro Street, Newport) features the story of 18th century master clockmaker, William Claggett. The exhibit tells us more than just the life of this craftsman by bringing alive other aspects of Newport including trade, artistry, aesthetics, science, religion, and culture through an examination of the life of Mr. Claggett. Additional Info and hours at 401/846-0813; newporthistory.org

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PREVIEW OF FEBRUARY 2019 IN NEWPORT

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2019 – RETURN TO CAMELOT: A REMEMBRANCE OF THE KENNEDY WEDDING

This year marks the 66th wedding anniversary of Jacqueline Bouvier to John F. Kennedy at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. Return to that day of September 12, 1953 to learn more about the history of the church and the Kennedy wedding and reception while viewing archival pictures and vintage film from that day. This is a special, one-time performance of the award-winning presentation featuring the Kennedy wedding music, sung and performed by the Music Director and choir of St. Mary’s. Event from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. St. Mary’s Church, (12 William Street, Newport). Tickets: $15, available online at stmarynewport.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/

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE – 11:00 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  

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – DISCOVER COLONIAL NEWPORT WALKING TOUR – 11:00 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

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – ROGUES & SCOUNDRELS WALKING TOUR – 11:00 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

2019 — UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS

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 8, 2019 – NEW YORK YACHT CLUB’S 2019 SEASON BEGINS – LEUKEMIA CUP

The New York Yacht Club has announced its 12-event 2019 sailing season that begins on June 8 with the Leukemia Cup race, followed by the club’s 165th Annual Regatta (June 14-16), and ending on September 29 with the Melges IC37 national championship races (September 27-29). Info:  401/846-1000; nyyc.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

TAKE THESE TWO BEHIND-THE-SCENES MANSION TOURS!

SERVANT LIFE TOUR AT THE ELMS: RESUME ON FEBRUARY 15TH

Considered by many to be the best tour in Newport, the world-famous 1-hour guided “Servant Life Tour” at The Elms will resume Friday, February 15, 2019 following the completion of a “deep cleaning” at this historic mansion.  Info and updates: newportmansions.org

BENEATH THE BREAKERS TOUR

The Breakers tour, “Beneath the Breakers,” is scheduled daily.  Tours are 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

STILL AVAILABLE

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).

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