(Photo: The Newport Bermuda Race returns this weekend. Credit: 2012 Daniel Forster/PPL)
This week really marks a great kick-off for the 2018 Summer Season. The long-anticipated grand opening of the Visitor Center at The Breakers is tonight (June 14). This is followed tomorrow (June 15) by the start of the biennial 635-mile Newport-Bermuda Race, leaving from the Castle Hill Light on Narragansett Bay. Finally, Newport County & Hospitality Days begin Saturday, June 16, and continues through Monday, June 18.
Get ready for a big summer in our City-by-the-Sea.
Tell your guests and visitors about all the reasons they should enjoy our fair city now and why they should come visit us again soon. Check out the updated calendar of Speakers & Special Events below, and share them with your guests.
TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK: CROSS-SELLING BOOSTS RETURN GUEST VISITS
The ideal place to tell people about other things to see and do in Newport is when they are right here in Newport. This is called “cross-=selling” and it can be a very effective tool to keep people coming back to our City-by-the-Sea.
Our visitors and guests are always receptive to learning about the other tours, exhibits, attractions, sporting events, seasonal activities, and dining options in our city. A visitor who has just enjoyed a mansion or harbor tour is the best prospect to share information about our restaurants and bars, sports activities, upcoming festivals, flower and boat shows, wineries and breweries, and our wonderful coastline. Our goal should be to encourage visitors to return to our city over and over, in every season. When you are face-to-face with our guests you will have the ideal opportunity to promote, explain, market, and cross-sell the rest of the year-round Newport experience.
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.
If you want to be a tour guide or a crew a harbor cruise boat or join the event teams catering weddings and other special activities in Newport, events, then this is your year. Pick up a copy of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (facebook.com/newporttourguidesandgreeters) to help you master the field and find a job.
Keep your eyes open for additional job opportunities and check back regularly online at WhatsUpNewp.com for
the latest job openings. A busy summer is ahead and Newport needs you.
REMEMBER: Most of the city’s largest tour and cruise businesses accept job applications year-round.
SPEAKERS & SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
Check out the wide selection of lectures, exhibits, talks, classes, and workshops to add to your knowledge and increase your understanding of the people and history of greater Newport.
TODAY – JUNE 14 – GRAND OPENING – VISITORS CENTER AT THE BREAKERS – 5:00 PM
It’s been a long time coming, but construction is ahead of schedule and the Preservation Society of Newport County has announced they will inaugurate the Visitors Center at 5:00 pm today [Thursday, June 14]. RSVP your attendance to firstname.lastname@example.org or 401/847-1000, ext. 169.
THURSDAY, JUNE 14 – WHITEHORNE HOUSE MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE – 5:00 – 7:00 PM
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is hosting a free open house of this wonderful museum at 416 Lower Thames Street (Newport), from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Come and explore the collection of 18th-century Newport furniture for the first time or come back to hear about NRF plans for the revitalization. The museum’s charming pocket garden will also be open for wandering. Info: 401/847–8344
JUNE 15-17 – NEWPORT SECRET GARDEN TOURS – 10 AM – 5 PM
Self-guided walking tour of private gardens in Historic Newport. Up to 10 gardens may be open to tour (varies year-to-year). Tour times are 10 am until 5 pm each day. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 day of. This self-guided tour program will raise funds for the Art Education programs in the island’s public schools. Info: www.secretgardentours.org
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – 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 leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – NEWPORT-BERMUDA RACE
Watch and experience the start of the 2018 635-mile ocean race from Newport to Bermuda. The race leaves Newport and Narragansett Bay from below Castle Hill Light. Info: bermudarace.com
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – I DARE YOU: A MUSICAL SUITE DEDICATED TO DORIS DUKE – ROUGH POINT MUSEUM
Something completely different arrives on Bellevue Avenue! Composer and musician Francisco Pais has assembled musicians from around the world to debut an original contemporary jazz suite inspired by Doris. The suite is imagined as a soundtrack of Doris’ life and each movement tells a story. Pais was inspired by meaningful moments in Doris Duke’s life and by her wide-ranging interests in the arts, surfing, and music. In the Great Hall at Rough Point (680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). Doors open at 7:00pm. Performance 7:30 – 9:00 pm. The performance will be followed by a talk-back with the composer. Parking is available on site. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Information: www.restorationfoundation.org
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – NEWPORT GULLS COLLEGIATE BASEBALL – CARDINES FIELD – – 6:35 PM
Here is a great recommendation for your baseball-loving guests and visitors. Tonight’s game is against the Keene Swamp Bats with the first pitch at 6:35 pm. A night at historic Cardines Field (20 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport) is an inexpensive entertainment for a family. Ticket prices are reasonable at $1-$5 per person. Information & Tickets: www.newportgulls.pointstreaksites.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 – MONDAY, JUNE 18 – NEWPORT COUNTY & HOSPITALITY DAYS
Newport County residents and hospitality employees, including tour guides & greeters, are invited to visit many of the great attractions in Newport and Bristol for free. This includes many of the county’s best museums, mansions, and parks. Info: discovernewport.org
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 – 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. The tour leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 – NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL POLO – USA VS SCOTLAND – 5:00 PM
Join the excitement of Newport Polo. Newport International Polo Grounds, 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth. 5 pm. Tickets to the match ($15 for General Admission; 15-and-under free; $25 for Pavilion seating) and to the après polo field-side dinner are available at www.nptpolo.com.
SUNDAY, JUNE 17 – 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
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 – MOTORS & MANSIONS – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
The Preservation Society of Newport County and the Audrain Automobile Museum team up each month to offer Cars & Coffee (aka Motors & Mansions) on Bellevue Avenue. This week, come to Chateau-Sur-Mer (464 Bellevue Avenue, Newport) to view the cars, have coffee, and meet like-minded people in the City-by-the-Sea. Info@audrainautomuseum.org or call 401/856-4420
JUNE 22-24 – NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW — COTTAGES SMART & SMALL
Martha Stewart will be a featured guest and speaker at this year’s show. The annual flower show adds the current trend of tiny homes and combines them both as livable spaces, functional & beautiful, and the prettiest plants and flowers ever. Rosecliff. Information & tickets: NewportFlowerShow.org
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 – HERMAN MELVILLE’S MOBY DICK
The Redwood Book Club will discuss the second half of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick that was begun on May 26th. All are welcome. Redwood Library & Athenaeum (50 Bellevue Avenue, Newport), redwoodlibrary.org. Info: 401/847-0292.
THROUGH SUNDAY, JUNE 24 – MUSCLE CAR MADNESS – AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
Enjoy this current exhibition at the Audrain Automobile Museum. 222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Contact: 401/856-4420. Info@audrainautomuseum.org
SATURDAY, JUNE 30 – ASK A GARDENER – ROUGH POINT
Estate gardeners share their expertise on a range of topics from plant identification to organic garden care. Get inside tips on how the Rough Point staff keeps the grounds looking lush and how to incorporate those practices in your own home garden. 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM. Free with admission to house or grounds (680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). No advance purchase necessary. Weather dependent. For more information: 401/847–8344
COMING SUMMER EVENTS: JULY & AUGUST
Share these dates and events with your guests and visitors. Sell and promote our future activities and invite everyone to return here again and again.
JULY 4, 2018 – 233RD ANNUAL FOURTH OF JULY PARADE – BRISTOL, RI – 10:30 AM
Our visitors are already asking about this annual event, the oldest 4th of July Parade celebration in the United States. It begins at 10:30 a.m. and will step-off at the corner of Chestnut Street and Hope Street (Rt. 114) and ends on High Street, between State Street and Bradford Street. Ad mission is free, but get there early early early! Info: www.fourthofjulybristolri.com
JULY 4-22, 2018 – NEWPORT MUSIC FESTIVAL
This annual music festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer. A number of special guests and new experiences for the audiences will be included among the festival’s summer season. Performance sites include The Breakers and the Newport Art Museum. More information, schedules, and tickets are available at newportmusic.org. Box Office: 401/849-0700.
THURSDAY, JULY 12 – WHITEHORNE HOUSE MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is hosting its second free open house of this wonderful museum at 416 Lower Thames Street (Newport), from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Come and explore the collection of 18th-century Newport furniture for the first time or come back to hear about NRF plans for the revitalization. The museum’s charming pocket garden will also be open for wandering. Info: 401/847–8344
JULY 13 – BLACK SHIPS FESTIVAL – BRISTOL, RI
This year’s Black Ships Festival will be held at Independence Park in Bristol and at the Herreshoff Museum’s waterside tent. This event, hosted by the Japan-America Society, celebrates the friendship between Japan and America. It offers a variety of events emphasizing both Japanese art and culture. More Info: http://www.blackshipsfestival.com/
JULY 14 – GREEN ANIMALS CHILDREN’S PARTY – GREEN ANIMALS – PORTSMOUTH, RI
This annual party for children marks the middle of summer. Mark your calendars for this fun event for children of all ages and stay tuned for more details. Info: newportmansions.org
JULY 27-29 – NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL
This is the big folk festival of the summer. A number of other events surround this 3-day weekend. Location: Fort Adams, Newport, RI. Tickets: email@example.com
JULY 28-29, 2018 – THE NEWPORT SHOW
The annual Newport Antiques Show has a new name this year, The Newport Show. This luxury show will, as it has since 2007, feature antique furniture, fine art, jewelry, and unique vintage items from more than 40 dealers. Watch for more details about this show in the coming months. The Newport Show will again be held at the St. George’s School Ice Rink, 375 Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI, and will run July 28 and 29, 2018. Updates at www.TheNewportShow.com. Proceeds benefit the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County.
AUGUST 3-5, 2018 – NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL
This is the big festival everyone asks about. May already be sold out, but keep the dates in mind for those who ask. Location: Fort Adams, Newport, RI. Tickets and more information: http://www.newportjazz.org/
AUGUST 16-19, 2018 – A WEEKEND OF COACHING
Every three years, aficionados of horse-drawn 19th century road coaches gather in Newport for a big summer Weekend of Coaching. This year marks the third year since the last event. During the weekend of August 16-19, 2018 the Preservation Society of Newport County will host the biggest Weekend of Coaching ever. The weekend will feature driving exhibitions, viewing of the historic coaches as they drive around the streets of Newport, and tickets to a formal dinner dance at the Breakers on Saturday, August 18th. The weekend is led by Honorary Chair Linda Lindh with co-chairs Kenneth Lindh and Beverly Little. Ted Eayrs is the Chair of Coaching. Event updates and ticket information is available at www.newportmansions.org/events/a-weekend-of-coaching
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 – DRIVING EXHIBITION -– 10:30 AM – THE ELMS
This free event, part of the Weekend of Coaching, will take place on the grounds of The Elms (367 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). It will feature many of the coaches and their drivers who are part of the weekend celebration of this unique and historic sporting tradition. More Information: NewportMansions.org
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31 – AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM ANNUAL GALA – OCHRE COURT
This event will feature Jay Leno as the key speaker. Get more information at: audrainautomuseum.org
PREVIEW OF AUTUMN IN NEWPORT
NEWPORT SECRET GARDEN TOURS – SEPTEMBER 7-9
Here’s one of Newport’s great events to share with your guests to encourage them to return here after the busy summer season. The September Newport Secret Garden Tours will offer ten incredible private gardens for the public to visit and enjoy. This self-guided tour program will raise funds for the Art Education programs in the island’s public schools. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.secretgardens.org for a discounted rate of $20.
NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW – SEPTEMBER 13-16
The Newport International Boat Show encompasses thirteen acres of Newport’s downtown waterfront. Exhibitors from near and far offer a full range of new powerboats and sailboats, plus a medley of marine products, services and accessories to enhance the nautical lifestyle. Special events, seminars, and in-water boating courses for the whole family are offered on all show days. Not to be missed is the exciting Newport For New Products program – showcasing boats and boating products making their first-ever debut in the United States. Newport Yachting Center, 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport. More information: http://newportboatshow.com/
NEWPORT MANSIONS WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – SEPTEMBER 20-23
This festival features a world-class variety of tastings, seminars, and events over a four-day weekend. Held at The Elms, Rosecliff and Marble House. Tickets & more information: http://www.newportmansions.org/events/wine-and-food-festival/tickets-events
BOWEN’S WHARF SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – OCTOBER 13-14
11 am – 5pm. Free event. Honoring the harvest of the sea, this Festival offers fresh local seafood, continuous live music and family fun. Bowen’s Wharf, Newport. More Information: http://www.bowenswharf.com/events
CURRENT EXHIBITS & TOURS NOT TO BE MISSED
OSCAR WILDE & THE BOHEMIAN MOVEMENT AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THEM
Go visit the newest exhibit at the Galleries at Rosecliff, Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement & Oscar Wilde’s Newport. Preservation Society Curator Ashley Householder has gathered a breathtaking collection of furniture, ceramics, wallpaper, clothing, accessories, and ephemera about the aesthetic movement (1870-1890) and the era’s major promoter, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). The colors, patterns, and shapes of this “art for art’s sake” movement and the influence of Irish writer, playwright, and impresario Wilde will whisk you away to another time. Go and see this unique and truly wonderful exhibit. Open daily through November 4th. 9am until 5pm. Additional information available at: newportmansions.org
VISIT ROUGH POINT IN 2018 – NRF’s 50th ANNIVERSARY
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. This year its exhibitions at historic Rough Point mansion, as posted on its website (newportrestoration.org), are: “‘To Preserve and Restore’: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50,” and “A Hand in Design: Exquisite Drawings of Jewelry and Architecture for Doris Duke.” This is a collaboration between NRF and David Webb New York, jewelry designer to Duke and many other prominent figures from 1948 to the present. Rough Point will be open for tours through November 11th. Don’t miss this amazing home.
BENEATH THE BREAKERS TOUR
The Breakers tour, “Beneath the Breakers,” has a new summer schedule. Tours are offered four times daily at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. Tour is one hour. Info: newportmansions.org
SERVANT LIFE TOUR AT THE ELMS
At The Elms, their world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour” has a new summer schedule. Tours are offered four times daily at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. The tour is one hour. Info: newportmansions.org
PRINT & DIGITAL RESOURCES
The very best leaders, guides, and managers of historic sites, mansions, and tour companies read constantly to know the most about the places they work and to learn the latest research about the history, artwork, and artifacts of the places they talk about to their guests. Here is a new and useful reference book to read, learn from, and share.
NEWPORT FIRSTS: A Hundred Claims to Fame. By Brian M. Stinson. Charlestown, SC: The History Press, 2018. This new book is an amazing, and at times astounding compilation of information and stories about Newport that you’ve never heard of, nor perhaps even contemplated. There are many “first stories” you may know and are part of the city’s folklore, such as the first circus presented in America (1774), first gas streetlight in America (1806), and the first lawn tennis court (1875). But there are many more, some quite obscure, and others that are completely unknown and overlooked by the older and more popular history books. These “firsts” include the first tomato eaten (1822), and the first spermaceti candle factory (1748).
Author Brian Stinson is a prolific writer, lecturer, and historian. He knows his stuff and he wisely offers up a few caveats about the nature of establishing a “first” event or an “oldest” event, and other challenges of tracing the histories of so many claims for his book. Nevertheless, he’s done the due diligence. He includes 75 stories and more than 100 claims for “firsts” in a wide range of categories. The table of contents lists them in chronological order by occurrence, beginning with the First Free Public School (1640), continuing with the First Intercity Stagecoach Service (1716), First Free Black Church (1824), First Parade of Automobiles and Speeding Arrest (1899), all the way to the First Judicial Complex named in Honor of a Woman (1990).
In over 200 pages, Stinson provides a stimulating and detailed narrative of facts, figures, dates, larger-than-life characters, and amazing things that happened in Newport. There are plenty of stories, vignettes, fun facts, and head-scratching firsts to keep even the most jaded historian, tour guide, and chamber of commerce ambassador intrigued and inspired. This volume, NEWPORT FIRSTS: A Hundred Claims to Fame, belongs on every Newport history-lover’s bookshelf.
ONLINE RESOURCE: RHODETOUR.ORG
RHODE TOUR is a handy app and website offering tour guides, greeters, taxi drivers, and concierges easy access to a user-friendly platform to explore the culture and history of Rhode Island. PLUS, it’s FREE!
RHODE TOUR uses images, sounds, and words to bring the state’s rich history to life through more than 200 stories of food, families, culture, community, and more. Add some of these stories to your tours with guests and visitors. Download the RHODE TOUR app from the App Store or Google Play, or access it online at rhodetour.org.
KENNETH PROUDFOOT is a documentary film producer, international & Newport tour guide, and author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).