The Coronavirus may have cleared Newport’s streets and emptied our restaurants and hotels, but the city is still reaching out to visitors and educating people from around the world through the magic of digital technology! The current crisis has led to an expansion of some online digital offerings.
Computers and a myriad of other devices interfacing with the internet are connecting millions of people from around the world to be able to see and experience, in virtual space, some of our city’s biggest museums, historic homes, and key historic sites.
The Newport Historical Society (NewportHistory.org), the Preservation Society of Newport County (NewportMansions.org), Newport Art Museum (NewportArtMuseum.org), Discover Newport (DiscoverNewport.org), and Redwood Library and Athenaeum (RedwoodLibrary.org), among others, have photos, short videos, virtual tours, and lots of interesting information posted on their web sites and other social media sites.
The Preservation Society of Newport County recently added a new series of Virtual Tours of The Elms, and two of the recent art exhibitions at Rosecliff. On their website (NewportMansions.org), click on the “Virtual Visits” button.
Additionally, each of the above noted sites also have Facebook pages with additional photos, short videos, and information about their history, collections, and upcoming events.
Review some of these sites to refresh your memory about our city’s wonderful museums and attractions. Also, think about what other photos, videos, and interesting links could be added to one or more of these sites to increase interest and future visits to Newport. This pause in our normal routines just might be beneficial in the long run as we more closely observe how people interact with our online digital presence to learn about us.
Until this public health crisis passes and we are back open for business, do use this time to read, learn, study, and better understand our city’s exciting heritage.
FINAL THOUGHTS (as I first proposed to you last week):
Do not give up. We’ll get through this. All things must pass.
Take this down time to plan for bigger and better as we arise from this crisis, wiser and stronger.
Meanwhile, continue to check for openings and available services at our local restaurants and historical sites on the city’s visitor site at discovernewport.org, with daily updates on whatsupnewp.com.
You can check out further details in the listings below.
STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON THESE UPCOMING EVENTS (Subject to Change)
Check out the upcoming 2020 events at the end of this column.
Tickets, fees, and addresses are detailed in the following listings for the above events.
OPERATING SCHEDULES UPDATES
through April 2020. Re-opening date TBA.
Despite the current closures from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, literally “going viral,” Newport’s stalwart workforce of tour guides, greeters, restaurant and hotel workers, trolley and taxi drivers, boat and harbor cruise captains, and others are preparing now for the day when this crisis passes and we get back to welcoming our millions of visitors and guests.
TOUR GUIDE TIP OF THE WEEK
Every tour guide should learn to be a professional greeter.
A warm friendly greeting can provide each guest with a special welcome, both to your historic site and to the city of Newport. Remember that everyone wants to be noticed, not overlooked or ignored. And everyone wants to feel important. When we actively acknowledge each visitor with a smile and a friendly greeting of welcome, we are helping launch their Newport Experience on a positive note.
Each week in this column we share tips and strategies for planning,
marketing, and providing quality guest services. If you have a suggestion,
please send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll share it with all our readers. And you. Thanks!
Preservation & Heritage Tourism
Preserving these historic buildings
provides people from around the world
with an opportunity to see vestiges of our
American past while linking them to
the present age.
NEWPORT JOBS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
TOUR GUIDES · GREETERS · HARBOR CRUISE GUIDES · SUPPORT STAFF
JOBS in the AGE OF CORONAVIRUS
At this point, no one knows the future of the 2020 tourism season and the job prospects for all those who serve as tour guides, ambassadors, and greeters in Newport. We must assume (and believe) that this crisis, like others before, will end and we’ll return to welcoming the world to Newport.
The following job openings were posted over the past 30+ days related to our industry. It is still worthwhile to check in with these employers for the day when this virus is under control and we finally return to some sort of normal life.
- Part-time Associate Guide at The Preservation Society of Newport County. Part-time candidate needed to work a flexible schedule up to 32 hours per week in season, seasonally. One weekend day is required. Occasional special events may require work outside of this time frame. Several other job openings also available. More information: newportmansions.org
- Sightsailing. Runs tours and charters with its fleet of vessels from Bowen’s Wharf. Hires for a variety of crew, office, and reservations positions. Info: 401/849-3333; sightsailing.com
- Visitor Services Associates – Newport Restoration Foundation. The Newport Restoration Foundation seeks seasonal, part-time (3-4 days per week) frontline staff for the 2020 season (April-November). Open positions include tour guides, greeters, and front desk staff for both Rough Point and Whitehorne Museums. Season from April to November. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and résumé. Applications accepted until March 13th, 2020. Info: 401/847-8344; newportrestoration.org
- Sales/Ticket Booth — Gansett Cruises-Harbor Tour Boat – Newport, RI. Ability to handle fast paced sales environment, high volume of phone calls, basic computer skills. Prior sales experience preferred, cash handling. Info/Apply: email@example.com
- Server-Crew — Gansett Cruises — Harbor Tour Boat – Newport, RI. Boating experience helpful. Available to work flexible hours including night, weekends and holidays. Knowledge of Newport and surroundings helpful. A seasonal position May thru the end of October. Must be able to pass a mandatory USCG drug test. Info/Apply: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is contact information for the city’s largest 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
- Sightsailing. Runs tours and charters with its fleet of vessels from Bowen’s Wharf. Hires for a variety of crew, office, and reservations positions. Info: 401/849-3333; sightsailing.com
Cruise Ship Season 2020
If you want a job with the land-based tour companies greeting cruise ship passengers, you’ll have to check in with the companies for updates on whether the cruise ships will be operating, and which ships will be arriving here and when. We’ll provide updates here as soon they become available.
VOLUNTEER TOUR GUIDE OPPORTUNITIES
- Newport Car Museum’s family of volunteer docents share their passion for and knowledge of cars with interesting visitors from around the world. If you love cars and the people who love cars, call Vincent Moretti to learn more about the volunteer opportunities: 401/848-CARS (2277)
- Preservation Society of Newport County. This organization is always looking for volunteers. There are a variety of positions available, including work in the mansions and in the gardens of the Society. They recruit year-round. Check their web site on a regular basis for current opportunities. www.newportmansions.org.
For continuous and updated job listings, please go to www.whatsupnewp.com.
WE BELIEVE TOUR GUIDES & GREETERS ARE THE FACE OF NEWPORT
Check the schedules listed below and get familiar with the long list of
exciting upcoming events during the year ahead.
Share these events with our visitors and try to attend as many of them for yourself as well.
2020 is here and we’re ready to go!
CONTINUING PROGRAMS & EXHIBITS
NOW THROUGH APRIL 2020 – PAST TO PRESENT: POWER & SPEED WITH STYLE – AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
The new exhibit — Past To Present: Power & Speed With Style — features old and new super race cars. Call ahead for hours and open days. Info: 401/856-4420; audrainautomuseum.org
DAILY – BREAKERS INTERPRETIVE TOURS – 9:00 AM – Postponed Until Further Notice
The Breakers began offering a new program of daily guided tours – Breakers Interpretive Tours – on Sunday, March 1st at 9 am. This daily tour will be led by one of the Preservation Society of Newport County’s (PSNC) senior tour guides and follow the same tour route that guides have been taking visitors during the winter. The tour is limited to 15 people, and tickets will be available through the PSNC ticket sellers and online up to 11:59 pm the night prior. This tour is timed so that ticket holders can also opt to take the Beneath the Breakers Tour at 10:30 am, on a space available basis, so that they can enjoy both experiences. Tickets: Adult Member: $40; Adult Non-Member: $55; Youth (6-17 years): $20. Tickets & Info: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
TENTATIVE SCHEDULES – ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
APRIL & MAY 2020
THURSDAY, APRIL 2 – READING ACROSS RHODE ISLAND AUTHOR TALK – ELIZABETH RUSH – ONLINE – 6:30-8:00 PM
Join us tonight [Thursday, April 2nd] online for a Facebook Live conversation with author Elizabeth Rush, moderated by Dr. Jim Ludes, Pell Center executive director and co-hosted with Rhode Island Center for the Book. Use the registration link below to sign-up for this free author talk.
Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, and Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar. Her work explores how humans adapt to changes enacted upon them by forces seemingly beyond their control, from ecological transformation to political revolution. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, National Geographic, the Guardian, the Atlantic, Harpers, Guernica, Granta, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, The Washington Post, Le Monde Diplomatique and the New Republic, among others.
APRIL 4 & 5, 2020 – NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – CANCELLED
One of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days in 2020. Residents get free admission to the Newport Mansions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
SATURDAY, APRIL 4 – NEWPORT NIGHT RUN – 7:30 PM – CANCELLED TILL NEXT YEAR
Walkers and runners of all ages and paces are welcome to come out to Newport’s only after-hours 5K road race event, the Newport Night Run! The race, which benefits the Newport Public Education Foundation, will start at 7:30 PM on Saturday, April 4th. The city-by-the-sea’s annual after-hours 5K starts and finishes at Rogers High School. The course showcases some of Newport’s most beautiful rural roads, including parts of Ocean Avenue and Hazard Road. Walkers and runners of all ages and paces are welcome to participate! Bring the whole family — discounted student registration is available. Info and Registration: newportnightrun.com
THURSDAY, APRIL 9 – NEWPORT GALLERY NIGHT – 5:00-8:00 PM — CANCELLED
This is the third in a monthly series, held the second Thursday of each month from February through December, hosted by the Newport Gallery Organization. The Newport Gallery Organization is comprised of 28 member galleries, museums and cultural institutions who offer original works from local artists as well as from artisans around the world.
Contemporary, historic, traditional and avant-garde pieces may be purchased sales tax free throughout Newport. Free parking at the Newport Visitors Center. Info: newportgallerynight.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 11 – EASTER EGG HUNT & BRUNCH – ROSECLIFF – 10:00 AM — CANCELLED
Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch is on Saturday, April 11, 2020 at Rosecliff (548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport) at 10:00 a.m. The Easter Bunny visits Rosecliff for the annual Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch. Bring the children to scramble for candy-filled eggs on the oceanfront lawn and pose for photos with the Bunny. Info: 401/847-1000.
MONDAY, APRIL 13 – RE-OPENING OF GREEN ANIMALS TOPIARY GARDEN FOR THE SEASON – TBA
Info: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
APRIL 18-24, 2020 – NEWPORT ARBORETUM WEEK – NEWPORT ELKS LODGE – 7:00 PM — CALL FOR UPDATES
From Earth Day to Arbor Day, come celebrate the City of Arboreta! Newport, Rhode Island is home to far more professionally accredited arboreta than any other city in the world. During Newport Arboretum Week, you are invited to explore this urban forest, enjoy arboreal events citywide, and take pride in our city’s incredible urban forest.
Info: (401) 239-2045.
APRIL 24 – MAY 3, 2020 – 7TH NEWPORT DAFFODIL DAYS FESTIVAL – SEE WEB SITE FOR UPDATES
More than one million daffodils have been planted in the City-by-the-Sea by this program. As the flowers blossom, an annual festival celebrates Spring and its signature blooms, featuring special events, food, and music. Fun for the entire family. Info: newportdaffydays.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 – RHODE ISLAND ARBOR DAY 2020 – STATEWIDE
Happening during Newport Arboretum Week. Celebrations statewide, but particular emphasis on talks, lectures, and walking tours of our special arboretum. Check discovernewport.org for schedules.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2020 – SPRING BOOK SALE – REDWOOD LIBRARY & ATHENAEUM
If you love books (of course you do!), you’ll want to go to the Redwood Library Spring Book Sale at the Redwood Library (50 Bellevue Avenue, Newport) from Friday, April 24, 9:30 am till Wednesday, April 29 at 5:00 pm. Info at: redwoodlibrary.org or phone 401/847-0292.
APRIL 24 & 25, 2020 – NEWPORT CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL – GREAT FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE — NEWPORT
SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020 – DAFFODIL DAYS FESTIVAL OPENING CEREMONIES – BANNISTERS & BOWEN’S WHARF
Gather round to celebrate as the muskets are fired and the official ribbon of daffodils is cut at the historic Clarke Cooke House. The festival blooms forth on Bannister’s Wharf! With many thanks to Bannisters Wharf, this event will feature the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon of daffodils, the firing of the Muskets by the Newport Artillery Company of Newport, complimentary lemon bars and lemonade (daffy yellow, of course!), free Daffy Face painting for the kids, a Daffy stilt walker for your amazement, and steel drum music to get you dancing and daffy. Time: 1-2 pm. Next door at Bowen’s Wharf, you can pick up your daffy pins at the Pilot House and visit the URI Master Gardener tent for tips on your spring planting and get your free flower seeds. There are plenty of Daffy Deals and store specials for all those wearing the Daffodil Pin. Info: newportdaffydays.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020 – 35TH ANNUAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION CONFERENCE – CANCELLED!
Cancellation notice was received for The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) and partners’ Back to the Future, Rhode Island’s 35th Annual Historic Preservation Conference, scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020. This conference will be re-scheduled for April 2021. Stay tuned for further updates.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 — DAFFY DELIRIUM! – THE CHANLER — 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Celebrate the blooming of over one million daffodils! Join the Newport Daffodil Days Festival and Newport in Bloom at the historic Chanler on Cliff Walk (117 Memorial Blvd., Newport) for a delirious evening of merriment. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast to Mother Nature’s bounty, live music, daffy prizes and even S’mores at the Chanler’s fire pit while overlooking hundreds of daffodils set against Easton’s Bay. Tickets: $35. All proceeds go to purchase bulbs for the annual free bulb give-away in October and the beautiful flower baskets throughout town. Info: newportdaffydays.com
SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2020 — DAFFODIL GARDEN PARTY WITH LIVE MUSIC AND BALLET – BELLEVUE HOUSE
Stroll through the magnificent Daffodil adorned gardens at Bellevue House (304 Bellevue Avenue, Newport) and enjoy live music, a cash bar and Dances Among the Daffodils performed by the RI Ballet Theater at 4:30pm. $5 suggested donation. Free with a Daffy Pin. Info: newportdaffydays.com
MAY 9 & 10, 2020 – NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – FREE ADMISSION TO NEWPORT MANSIONS
Second of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days in 2020. Residents get free admission to the Newport Mansions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
MAY 15-17, 2020 – NEWPORT OYSTER FESTIVAL – BOWEN’S WHARF
Annual festival in celebration of the oyster. Bowen’s Wharf, Newport. Info: 401/849-2243; bowenswharf.com
MAY 18, 2020 – SUMMER RE-OPENING OF CHEPSTOW, HUNTER HOUSE, ISAAC BELL HOUSE & KINGSCOTE
Info: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
FRIDAY, MAY 22 – SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2020 – OPENING WEEKEND – MUSEUM OF NEWPORT IRISH HISTORY
Memorial Day Weekend season opener. In the heart of the “Fifth Ward” – Newport’s best known Irish American neighborhood – visitors will learn about Irish immigration to Newport County from the 1600s to the present and of the many contributions made to our community by individuals of Irish descent. Interpretive Center exhibits are organized around several key aspects of life in the local Irish community and include maps, photographs, video, and artifacts, including some from the construction of Fort Adams, which was built with Irish immigrant labor. The Museum of Newport Irish History (648 Lower Thames Street, Newport). Info: 401/848-0661; newportirishhistory.org
SUMMER 2020 PREVIEW
FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2020 – HOME OPENER – NEWPORT GULLS BASEBALL TEAM
2020 marks 20 Years of the Newport Gulls in the City by the Sea! The past two decades have included six championships, ten division titles, more than 150 alumni playing professional baseball, and much more! Leading up to Opening Day 2020, the Gulls are counting down the Top 20 Moments in History on their web site. Attend Opening Day! Go to: NewportGulls.com
JUNE 6, 2020 – OPENING WEEKEND FOR THE NEWPORT POLO SERIES
Info: 401/846-0200; nptpolo.com
JUNE 13, 14, & 15, 2020 – NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – FREE ADMISSION TO NEWPORT MANSIONS
Third of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days in 2020. Newport County Residents and Hospitality Workers get free admission to the Newport Mansions and other cooperating attractions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency/work status. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2020 – FOUR FAITHS WALKING TOUR
This is the first tour of the summer. Tour begins at Touro Synagogue at 10 am. It continues at United Baptist Church, Newport Congregational Church, and Channing Memorial Church. Tours conducted the third Monday of every month, through September. Information & Tickets: www.4faiths.org
JUNE 19-21 , 2020 – NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW – ROSECLIFF MANSION – NEWPORT
This year’s theme is Voices in the Garden. Voices are like fingerprints. Each has a unique register and leaves an indelible signature. A garden is the reflection of the gardener’s voice. Whether that voice echoes the strength in mighty trees, the romance of fragrant flowers, or the laughter of bubbling water, all are still heard in great gardens. Info: 401/847-1000; newportmansions.org
JUNE 24 – 28, 2020 – THE U.S. SENIOR OPEN 2020 – NEWPORT COUNTRY CLUB
The 41st U.S. Senior Open will be held at Newport Country Club (280 Harrison Avenue, Newport). There’s a variety of tickets and packages available. Contact: ussenioropen.com/2020
THURSDAY, JULY 23 – 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY – ROSECLIFF – 6PM
The Preservation Society of Newport County will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with former and current tour guides and other employees with a picnic on the grounds of Rosecliff on Thursday, July 23 at 6 pm. All current and past employees of the PSNC are cordially invited. Need more info? Contact Beverly Ware at email@example.com.
JULY 25-26, 2020 – THE NEWPORT SHOW – ST. GEORGE’S ICE RINK – MIDDLETOWN, RI
Save the dates! The 2020 edition of The Newport Show will be held at St. George’s School Ice Rink (375 Purgatory Road, Middletown). The show benefits the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County. A Gala Preview Party will be hosted on Friday, July 24th. Free parking. Info: www.TheNewportShow.com
JULY 31-AUGUST 2, 2020 – NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL—FORT ADAMS
Since 1959, the Newport Folk Festival has thrilled audiences. This year’s festival begins on July 31st. Info: newportfestivals.org
JULY 2020 – NEWPORT MUSIC FESTIVAL
Dates & Venues TBA. Info: 401/849-0700; newportmusic.org
AUGUST 1 & 2, 2020 – NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – FREE ADMISSION TO NEWPORT MANSIONS
Fourth of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days in 2020. Residents get free admission to the Newport Mansions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
AUGUST 7-9, 2020 – NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL – FORT ADAMS
This annual event takes place the first weekend of August. Tickets on sale now. Info & Tickets: newportjazzfest.org
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26 – 100TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT – MARBLE HOUSE
Be sure to set this day aside to join with members and friends of the Preservation Society of Newport County in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment (ratified on August 18, 1920) to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. The setting of Marble House is appropriate as so many of the rallies calling for “Votes for Women” were hosted by Marble House owner, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, and held on the grounds of this great Bellevue Avenue Gilded Age mansion. Stay tuned for more details. Info: newportmansions.org
AUTUMN 2020 PREVIEW
SEPTEMBER 12 & 13, 2020 –NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – FREE ADMISSION TO NEWPORT MANSIONS
Fifth of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days in 2020. Residents get free admission to the Newport Mansions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2020 – AUDRAIN MOULIN ROUGE – INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME – 6:30 PM
The Audrain Automobile Museum’s 5th Annual Gala Fundraiser will be A Night at the Audrain Moulin Rouge. Info: audrainautomuseum.org
NOVEMBER 21 & 22, 2020 –NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAY – FREE ADMISSION TO NEWPORT MANSIONS
Final of six scheduled Newport County Residents Days for 2020. Residents get free admission to the Newport Mansions. Bring license and/or utility bill to prove residency. Info: Go to newportmansions.org for schedules and hours.
Every day, Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Welcome the World to our City-by-the-Sea!
PRINT & DIGITAL RESOURCES
PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR 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 [Buy direct from 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 author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).