It’s official! The entire month of March is Newport Irish Heritage Month! This is the 42nd year of this recognition and celebration of “All Things Irish.” Throughout the month – March 1-31 – we celebrate traditional Irish music and dance, food, history tours, lectures, and many more activities throughout our city.
The biggest event of the month is the 63rd Annual Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 16th. It steps off from Newport City Hall promptly at 11:00 am. Don’t miss this citywide parade and celebration.
In the meantime, please get in the spirit of the season and add some green to your wardrobe this month – scarves, ties, hats, buttons and pins – and let’s celebrate an important part of the heritage and history of our great city.
As they say in the old country, “Erin go bragh!”
TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK: REVIEW & UPDATE YOUR CAPABILITIES
Planning for the season’s biggest events is well underway and your presence and expertise will be in big demand. Continue to update your tour capabilities and strengthen your knowledge about the history of our city and its residents. Spring is near and summer is coming!
NOTABLE & QUOTABLE
It has been said that, at its best,
preservation engages the past
in a conversation with the present
over a mutual concern for the future.
first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places
CONTINUING PROGRAMS & EXHIBITS
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS – FEBRUARY/MARCH – NEWPORT FOODIES WINTER STROLL – 5:30 PM
Newport Foodies will offer a Winter Stroll in February and March. The mission of this new (2018) walking food tour business is “To introduce the flavors and history of Newport to our guests by discovering the eateries and streets of Newport.” Tours begin at the Armory (365 Thames Street, Newport). Book your tickets and get more information at: 401/619-3019; newportfoodiesstroll.com
NOW THROUGH JUNE 2 — HORSELESS TO HORSEPOWER: GILDED AND GOLDEN AGE AUTOMOBILES – NEW EXHIBIT
This new exhibit opens February 9th and will feature some of the most extravagant and beautiful vehicles ever produced. Come and see for yourself the amazing elegance and styling of these classic automobiles. Open daily, 10 am – 4 pm. 222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Info: 401/856-4420; audrainautomuseum.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
TOURS, 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.
SATURDAY, MARCH 9 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 1:00-2:00 PM, 2:00-3:00 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, MARCH 9 – NEWPORT FOODIES WINTER STROLL – MEETS AT THE ARMORY — 5:30 PM
Cozy up this Winter and enjoy a three-course meal accompanied by selected wine pairings at three of Newport’s exquisite restaurants. This progressive stroll will last several hours along Newport’s Historic Thames Street and will encompass a total of .75 miles. Tours run Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 5:30 P.M. Meet Tom and Sue, your tour guides, in front of the Armory (365 Thames Street, Newport). Book your tickets and get more information at: 401/619-3019; newportfoodiesstroll.com
SUNDAY, MARCH 10 – DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS – SET CLOCKS AHEAD ONE HOUR
Daylight Savings Time begins on this day and continues through Sunday, November 3rd.
SUNDAY, MARCH 10 – SAVE THE BAY SEAL TOUR – 2:00-3:00 PM & 3:00-4:00 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.
THURSDAY, MARCH 14 – BEYOND THE WRECKING BALL: HISTORIC PRESERVATION’S COMING OF AGE
The fourth program in this Winter Lecture Series at Rosecliff will be held at 11:00 am. Members: $10; General Public: $15. Info and Reservations: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
SATURDAY, MARCH 16 – NEWPORT’S ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE – 11 AM
Parade begins at 11 am at Newport City Hall (Broadway, Newport), moves through Washington Square onto Thames Street to Carroll Avenue in the Fifth Ward. We’ve been named one of the best St. Patrick’s Day Parades and Celebrations in New England by USA Today and Yankee Magazine. This is the 63rd year of the parade that began in 1956. The parade will be followed by parties throughout town, live music and family events, and more. Parade is held rain or shine, snow or sleet. Info: 401/846-5081; newportirish.com/parade
TUESDAY, MARCH 19 – 2019 ANNUAL EXPO – 4-7 PM — GURNEY’S NEWPORT RESORT & MARINA
Newport County Chamber of Commerce’s Expo, sponsored by Newport Hospital, Swipe For A Cause, and MWR Navsta Newport, will be held from 4-7- pm on Tuesday, March 19th at the beautiful Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. Info about booth space and schedule: 401/847-1608; newportchamber.com
UPCOMING 2019 SPECIAL EVENTS
THURSDAY, APRIL 4 – JOHN JAMES AUDUBON: OBSESSION UNTAMED
The final program in this 2019 Winter Lecture Series at Rosecliff will be held at 6:00 pm. Members: $10; General Public: $15. Info and Reservations: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
APRIL 5-14TH – NEWPORT RESTAURANT WEEK – SPRING 2019 EDITION
Newport Restaurant Week, part of a nationwide movement, debuted here in 2006. Two editions of Newport Restaurant Week take place each year in the spring and in the fall. More than 50 participating restaurants offer extraordinary two-course prix fixe lunches for $20, three-course prix fixe dinners for $35, and a three-course premier prix fixe dinner for $50. For a list of participating restaurants: discovernewport.org
SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2019 – 34TH RHODE ISLAND STATEWIDE HISTORIC PRESERVATION CONFERENCE
If you love historic preservation, you’ll want to attend this annual conference, focused on Preservation, Recreation and Sport. Keynote speaker is Brent Leggs, Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Mr. Leggs will reflect on the importance of preserving historic places where Americans play and watch sports. The event, including 12 preservation workshops and 12 tours by boat, bus, bicycle, and foot, will be hosted this year in historic East Providence, RI. Info & Registration: preservationconferenceri.com; 401/222-2078.
THURSDAY, APRIL 11-13, 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; newportmansions.org
APRIL 13-21, 2019 — 6TH ANNUAL NEWPORT DAFFODIL DAYS FESTIVAL
Join dozens of fun, free, all family daffy events as we welcome over one million daffodils that promise to put on a great show throughout Newport, April 13-21, 2019. Check back often as new events will be added regularly. Shake off the winter doldrums and have a bloomin’ great time! Info: newportdaffydays.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019 – NEWPORT ART MUSEUM EXHIBIT OPENS — GERTRUDE VANDERBILT WHITNEY: SCULPTURE
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, daughter of Alice & Cornelius Vanderbilt II, is best known as an art patron and founder of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. She also had a significant career as a sculptor, exhibiting throughout the United States and Europe and receiving major commissions and prizes. This is the first exhibition of Whitney’s art since her death in 1942. More info: 401/848-8200; newportartmuseum.org
NOTES ON THIS SCULPTURE EXHIBIT: “Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture” will showcase rarely seen works from private collections, examining the remarkable variety of the artist’s work—from her earliest classical sculptures to her more symbolic public monuments, from her bleakly Realist depiction of the tragedy of World War I to her late Art Deco work. The exhibit was organized by The Norton Museum of Art and curated by Ellen E. Roberts, the Norton’s Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art.
SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2019 – BEACH CLEAN-UP AT CLIFF WALK
Go green & spend your Saturday cleaning up one of Newport’s most breathtaking locations. Join us at the Cliff Walk on Saturday, April 20th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm to volunteer with a view! Sponsored by Clean Ocean Access. Coffee provided by Empire Tea & Coffee so BYO Mug. Info: 401/236-2561; cleanoceanaccess.org
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND — BOOTS ON THE GROUND FOR HEROES MEMORIAL – FORT ADAMS STATE PARK
In 2016, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial with the widely acclaimed and dramatic display of nearly 7,000 military boots. Each boot is adorned with a name placard and an American flag representing each American service member killed in action in the Global War on Terror. The first of its kind, the display has taken place at Roger Williams State Park over the last three years. This display will take place at Fort Adams State Park during the Memorial Day Weekend. Info: 401/383-4730; osdri.org
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND – JAMESTOWN NEWPORT FERRY SEASON BEGINS
The 2019 season for the Jamestown Newport Ferry begins Memorial Day Weekend. Stops include Rose Island, Fort Adams, Ann Street Pier, and Perrotti Park. Ferry leaves from the docks at the end of Narragansett Avenue in the village of Jamestown. Info & Tickets: 401/423-1556; jamestownnewportferry.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019 – NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL POLO SEASON OPENS
The Newport International Polo Series 28 begins on Saturday, June 1, 2019, 5:00 pm, at the Newport International Polo Grounds, 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth, RI. Box Office opens to the general public on March 15. Info: 401/846-0200; nptpolo.com
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2019 – OPENING NIGHT – NEWPORT GULLS BASEBALL – 6:35 PM
The Newport Gulls will welcome the Mystic Schooners to kick off the 2019 collegiate baseball season at Cardines Field (20 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport) on June 5th. Info & Tickets: 401/845-6832; https://bit.ly/2RxDm0D
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 15, 16, 17, 2019 – NEWPORT COUNTY DAYS AT THE NEWPORT MANSIONS & HOSPITALITY EMPLOYEE DAYS
This weekend is the second of four annual weekends called Newport County Residents Days at the Newport Mansions. Any Newport County resident will receive free daytime admission to all Preservation Society of Newport County (PSNC) properties currently open (The Breakers, Marble House, Rosecliff) as guests of the PSNC. Proof of residency (driver’s license, utility bill, etc.) must be presented. This weekend will also feature Hospitality Employee Days with other Newport cultural attractions participating. Info: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.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. Info: newportmansions.org
JULY 26-29, 2019 – NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL – FORT ADAMS – NEWPORT, RI
This famous festival, launched in 1959, will celebrate in a 4-day music extravaganza July 26-29 at Fort Adams, overlooking the mouth of Newport Harbor. Tickets and more information at newportfolk.org.
AUGUST 2-4, 2019 – NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL – FORT ADAMS – NEWPORT, RI
Since 1954, the greatest jazz musicians on the planet have played before the most loyal and appreciative jazz aficionados and fans in the world at the largest coastal fort in America, Fort Adams. They’ll do it again this August 2-4, beginning with a concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Friday, August 2. Don’t miss any of the music, the fun, and the food! Tickets and more information at: newportjazz.org.
SEPTEMBER 6-8, 2O19 – NEWPORT SECRET GARDEN TOURS
The annual Newport Secret Garden Tours opens its gates to a plethora of stunning gardens in historic Newport, Rhode Island. Join the Benefactors of the Arts on September 6-8 for this self-guided tour featuring at least 10 incredible gardens. These private gardens are shared with the community to help raise funds for the Arts Education programs in the Island’s public schools. The tour runs daily, 10 am until 5 pm, and tickets are good for any or all days of the tour, allowing for inclement weather, schedule conflicts, or just a late start. Info and tickets: secretgardentours.org
SEPTEMBER 12-15, 2019 – 49TH ANNUAL NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
Mark your calendar for the 49th annual Newport International Boat Show on the famed downtown Newport waterfront from September 12th to 15th this year. More Information: http://newportboatshow.com/
SEPTEMBER 19-22, 2019 — THE NEWPORT MANSIONS WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
This is one of the East Coast’s most sophisticated and anticipated events of the year. It is scheduled for September 19-22 at The Elms, Rosecliff and Marble House. Enjoy magnificent wines from around the world, fabulous food from local, regional and national chefs, artisanal food purveyors, cooking demos and interactive activities in an unforgettable setting. To learn more about the schedule of events, or to purchase tickets, visit newportmansions.org
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
OCTOBER 3-7, 2019 – ROGUE ISLAND COMEDY FESTIVAL – VARIOUS LOCATIONS – NEWPORT, RI
For auditions, show information, and tickets, contact: rogueislandcomedyfestival.com
OCTOBER 13-15, 2019 – VISITOR EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE (VEX) – PHILADELPHIA, PA
This is an annual industry conference that should be of special interest to tour guides, greeters, tour operators, chambers of commerce, and all those whose goal is to create a memorable experience for their guests and visitors. The 2019 Visitor Experience Conference is a recognized platform for experts to share best practices in the Visitor Experience sector and provide specialized knowledge to take museum organizations to the next level. VEX offers a range of professional learning opportunities. From keynote and panel sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, half-day workshops, and lots of social events to meet and talk with colleagues. The conference takes place in the history-rich city of Philadelphia.
Attendees include museum professionals at all levels of their career, mainly in the Visitor Experience and Visitor Services field, but also consultants, exhibition developers/designers, volunteer managers, ticketing and database companies, and more. Past VEX attendees have included The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Johns Hopkins University, Arizona State University Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian, Longwood Gardens, National Trust (England), Columbus Museum of Art, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Tacoma Art Museum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and more from around the world. Info & Registration: https://visitorexperience.group/conference
WINTER IS A GREAT TIME TO EXPERIENCE THESE BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS!
BENEATH THE BREAKERS TOUR – NEW WINTER SCHEDULE
The Breakers tour, “Beneath the Breakers,” is still offered daily this winter. Tours are now offered at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:30 pm. Tour is one hour. Info: newportmansions.org
SERVANT LIFE TOUR AT THE ELMS: FOUR TOURS DAILY!
Considered by many to be the best tour in Newport, the world-famous 1-hour guided “Servant Life Tour” at The Elms is back and better than ever. Tours are now offered at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:30 pm. Info and updates: newportmansions.org
JOB OPENINGS – TOUR GUIDES · GREETERS · SUPPORT STAFF
HIRING SEASON HAS BEGUN
UPDATE: Employers are now actively interviewing people for the upcoming 2019 season. Several new jobs have been posted on the web sites of the biggest tour employers listed below. Go directly to their sites for further details and requirements. Now – March/April – is the time to be aware of new job postings. If you want to break into the 2019 tour guide and hospitality industries, now is the time to get more aggressive to find and secure a position at your preferred organization.
As March begins, continue to use this time to fine tune your resume, practice your interviewing skills, and do some networking with the Newport Chamber, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and other industry groups. Remember to attend and network at the annual business fair coming up on March 16th at Gurney’s (See listing above).
BEST WINTER JOB SEARCH SUGGESTION: 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.
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. Handbook includes greetings in 18 of the most frequently spoken languages heard in Newport.
KENNETH PROUDFOOT, a Newport Tour Escort and Guide, is the author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).