“Though April showers may come your way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May”*
*From the song, “April Showers”
Al Jolson’s original 1921 recording of these now-famous lyrics, written by Buddy DeSylva with music by Louis Silvers was a big hit and is still being recorded nearly 100 years after its debut. The song, as was traditional with most of those early Tin Pan Alley contributors to the American Songbook, with this four-line introduction: Life is not a highway strewn with flowers / Still it holds a goodly share of bliss / When the sun gives way to April showers / Here is the point you should never miss. Good advice.
The sun has been shining and warming Newport this past week. We have been luxuriating in the accompanying clear blue, but then, just as we think it’s forever, the sky opens up to pour out sunshine in liquid form. Yes, Mama said there’d be days like this. But, a whole month!?!
After a successful celebration of our 5th Annual Daffodil Days – they are still blooming all over the city! – the persistent April showers must be bringing forth even more amazing May flowers. Let’s continue to hope so. Till then, if it’s raining, tell your guests and visitors that it’s okay — May flowers are on the way!
TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK
The best tour guides deliver more than courtesy. Being polite and attentive to the needs of others – your guests and visitors – are critical skills. For most people, they come naturally. Beyond courtesy, there is the growing philosophy and practice of Uncommon Courtesy.
Uncommon Courtesy is the conscious practice of thinking, extending, and delivering extra attention and outstanding service to our guests. This practice recognizes that every job in our industry is a service job and that everyone in the organization is part of the marketing team. Three key practices of Uncommon Courtesy for tour guides and greeters in Newport are: 1) Always smile & greet guests first, before they say anything. 2) Identify and recognize repeat guests/visitors. 3) Treat any guest complaint as an opportunity rather than a problem. Never take it personally. Quickly apologize and offer to help or resolve any complaint.
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.
TOURISM JOBS – APRIL IS HIRING SEASON
April is fleeing! Lots of jobs are still open, including tour guides, greeters, harbor cruise staff, ticket sellers, bus drivers, and support staff. This time of year is the kickoff for the upcoming summer season. Get your resume polished and find a perfect match for your interests and skills so you can spend the upcoming season working in the City-by-the-Sea!
- Deckhand/Crew for Schooner Madeleine. Classic Cruises of Newport has several crew positions available aboard the Schooner Madeleine for the 2018 sailing season. Classic Cruises of Newport – Newport, RI. Info: 401/847-0298.
- Tour Guide & Pedicab Driver. This is a unique way to give tours and run your own business and get lots of exercise. Make $500-$1,000 per week. Rent a Pedicab and give your fares a custom tour of the City-by-the-Sea. Info: www.newportpedicab.com/drivers
- JOB FAIR. Preservation Society of Newport County (PSNC). Friday, April 27; 3-6 pm. Part-time and Seasonal positions available. Admission Associates, Associate Tour Guides, Food Service Associates, Housekeepers, Sales Associates, Security Guards, Warehouse Associates. Job Fair will be held at PSNC offices, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. More info: 401/846-1000, x138.
- Deckhand/Tour Guide aboard Rum Runner II, Part time position available May 1 through October 22 for a deckhand and tour guide position. Must be available for the season. Classic Cruises of Newport. Info: 401/847-0298.
- Trolley/Van/Bus drivers hiring now. Experienced Tour Bus/Trolley Drivers with passenger endorsement. Flexible time & Great Working Environment. $17-$24/hour. Historic Tours of Newport LLC. Middletown, RI. Info: 401/855-1942.
- Sightsailing of Newport seeks Outdoor Sales & Reservations Specialist and Land Ambassadors. www.sightsailing.com. Info: 401/849-3333.
- The Preservation Society of Newport County has several job openings, full and part-time, including Associate Tour Guides and support staff. Go to their Job Fair on Friday, April 27 or check with them directly online (newportmansions.org) or call 401/847-1000 for current information about job openings for the upcoming season.
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 THROUGH SUNDAY, APRIL 29 – NEWPORT ARBORETUM WEEK 2018
This annual event features lighting up and showcasing the trees throughout Newport. There will be Illuminated Trolley Tours on April 20thdeparting from the Elks Lodge (141 Pelham Street, Newport) at 8pm and 9pm. Cost is $15. RSVP and order tickets. More Info at newportarboretumweek.org
FRIDAY, APRIL 27 – ROGUES & SCOUNDRELS WALKING TOUR
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, APRIL 27 – JOB FAIR – PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY
Friday, April 27; 3-6 pm. Part-time and seasonal positions available. Admission Associates, Associate Tour Guides, Food Service Associates, Housekeepers, Sales Associates, Security Guards, Warehouse Associates. Job Fair will be held at PSNC offices, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. More info: 401/846-1000, x138.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28 – DISCOVER COLONIAL NEWPORT WALKING TOUR
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. This tour leaves at 10:30 am from the Museum of Newport History, 127 Thames Street (Newport). Info and reservations at: newporthistorytours.org
SUNDAY, APRIL 29 – GOLDEN TO GILDED WALKING TOUR
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
SUNDAY, APRIL 29 – THE TOWNSEND AND GODDARD DYNASTIES: 18TH-CENTURY CABINETMAKING IN NEWPORT
Part of NRF’s 2018 lecture series with Jeffrey Greene will explore Newport furniture history featuring the Townsends and Goddards. This presentation traces how the Townsend family cabinetmakers influenced the trade for a century, and how the Goddard family carried on the unique Newport style into the 19th-century. 2 pm at the Newport History Museum (76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport). NewportArtMuseum.org General admission: $15; Art Museum members $10.
MONDAY, APRIL 30 – ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE WALKING TOUR
Every tour guide should experience one or more of the great walking tours organized by the Newport Historical Society. This one will teach you about Newport’s history of riots and rebellions, enemies and allies and role in 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
COMING IN MAY
TUESDAY, MAY 8 – SUNDAY, MAY 20 – VOLVO OCEAN RACE NEWPORT
Tell your guests and visitors to get ready for the arrival of the Volvo Ocean race fleet, arriving in Newport this month on one leg of their round-the-world sailing race. The opening of the Race Village at Fort Adams is Tuesday, May 8th at 4 pm. Get updated information at www.volvooceanracenewport.com
MAY 19 & 20 – BOWEN’S WHARF NEWPORT WATERFRONT OYSTER FESTIVAL
11 am – 5 pm. Enjoy a festive weekend eating oysters. Rhode Island is home to more than 45 oyster farms. The flavors are distinctive to each farm. The festival will offer 13 kinds of oyster all in one festive atmosphere! Growers will be shucking alongside a select group of local restaurants under festival tents. Tickets are available online at: http://www.bowenswharf.com/newport-oyster-festival
COMING SUMMER EVENTS: JUNE, 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.
THE NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW — COTTAGES SMART & SMALL – JUNE 22-24
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
NEWPORT MUSIC FESTIVAL – JULY 4-22, 2018
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.
BLACK SHIPS FESTIVAL – JULY 12-15
The Black Ships Festival celebrates the friendship between Newport and their sister city Shimoda, Japan. It offers a variety of events emphasizing both Japanese art and culture. More Info: http://www.blackshipsfestival.com/
NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL – JULY 27-29
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NEWPORT SHOW ∙ JULY 28-29, 2018
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.
NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL – AUGUST 3-5, 2018
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/
A WEEKEND OF COACHING – AUGUST 16-19, 2018
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
DRIVING EXHIBITION – SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 – 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
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
EXHIBITS & TOURS NOT TO BE MISSED
SOMETHING TRULY SPECIAL
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), will be: “‘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,” begins hourly on the half hour from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm and is one hour in length. Info: newportmansions.org
SERVANT LIFE TOUR AT THE ELMS
At The Elms, their world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour” is offered hourly on the half hour from 10:30 am – 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 book that will amaze and shock and educate. Check your local library catalog to see if a copy is available for borrowing.
BEYOND THE MONUMENTS MEN
RESCUING DA VINCI. By Robert M. Edsel. Dallas: Laurel Publishing LLC, 2006. The history of looting during wartime is as long as the history of wars on earth. It’s always been a part of war. But nothing has ever surpassed the looting and stealing of art organized and undertaken by the Nazis during World War II. In RESCUING DA VINCI, the author details the unprecedented efforts of frustrated Austrian art student Adolf Hitler to acquire the greatest works of art in private and public hands throughout the Europe during the period 1939 to 1945. The looting was vast and systematic. Fortunately, leaders in the American museum establishment stepped up and pleaded (begged) the military to include trained art experts to accompany the armed forces to protect, preserve, and later recover Europe’s museum holdings, historic sites, cathedrals, and other notable artworks. Through their efforts and those of European curators and historians, much artwork was hidden from the Nazis, buildings and churches were saved from bombing destruction, and later, millions of paintings, statues, drawings, writings, and one-of-a-kind books were recovered.
Edsel’s book also includes photos and the story of art preservation in the United States during WWII. George Washington Vanderbilt’s Richard Morris Hunt-designed Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC is featured. It was utilized as a storage facility for 75 major masterpieces evacuated from the recently opened (1941) National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Through many never-before-seen photographs and never told stories, RESCUSING DA VINCI reveals the unfathomable criminality of the Nazis during the war, and the vision, bravery, and luck of the men and women who saved the European continent’s art and architecture riches. Sadly, many famous works are still missing and the search continues for these treasures by the dedicated disciples of the original WWII Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives officers.
For those who have only a passing knowledge of this story, this fully-illustrated coffee table-size book expands on the saga of the “Monuments Men,” previously featured in the original 2009 book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter, and the later disappointing 2014 film with George Clooney and Matt Damon. The amazing photos here, many retrieved from forgotten national archives, private collections, museums, churches, and military files, will expand your overall knowledge about the wide scope of the world’s art and the vital importance of preserving the masterworks of the past.
I highly recommend this book.
RHODETOUR MOBILE APP
As the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race participants arrive and the Volvo Race Village at Fort Adams gets ready to welcome 200,000 visitors, be sure to arm yourself with additional information about Rhode Island to share with guests. Get this free app for your mobile device.
Broaden your knowledge of Rhode Island history with this free app. Rhode Tour is a statewide mobile historical smart phone application. It offers captivating places, intriguing people, and exciting events that are all part of Rhode Island’s history. Rhode Tour offers a new way to interact with these untold tales of the state’s past. Using stories, sounds, and images, history comes alive on Rhode Tour. The site offers more than 200 stories of food, culture, community from throughout the state’s 39 cities and towns. Download the app for your smart phone at the iPhone App Store or Google Play. A website version is also available 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).