The Breakers Newport RI
The Breakers (Photo via The Preservation Society of Newport County)

This week’s news reports seem more positive, 

but the city is still quiet as we patiently await the 

lifting of sanctions, the opening of retail and service businesses, and 

the re-starting of Newport’s vibrant tourism industry. 

Till that time, we can continue to read,  virtually explore spaces and places, and learn more about this island we call home. Consider this time as a gift that allows you to improve your knowledge and better equip you for the immense dignity of the work that awaits you. 

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VIRTUALLY NEW: If you love cars, be sure to check out the Audrain Automobile Museum’s big Virtual Exhibition Opening Reception for their new exhibit, “SHINING BRIGHT: Advances in Automotive Lighting,” on Friday, May 1st at 7:00 pm [EST]. Simply tune in live to their website at

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In addition to the following local web sites, where you will find easy

access to photos, videos, and brief history lessons, here is a review of

an older but still relevant Newport history book.

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By Terrence Gavan. Newport, RI: Pineapple Publications, 1992. 

This is one of the early books that tour guides have used for more than 25 years to help visitors learn Newport history, introduce the mansions and explore many of the other features of our great City-by-the-Sea. The writer obviously loves Newport and the many nuances of its former and current residents. What is most amazing is the sheer amount of detailed information and anecdotes he crams into 112 pages!  For the tour guide, the book includes nine detailed walking and riding tours of Newport, covering the several eras of the city, from colonial days through the Victorian and Gilded ages to present times. Different parts of the city are also explored. Each tour includes specific walking directions and historic details and highlights of each building and street along the way. There is so much information here that even long-time residents may learn something new about the homes and streets they pass each day. A walking waterfront tour of several of the city’s key piers and wharves, a Cliff Walk tour, and a driving tour of Ocean Drive are also included.  The book is illustrated with ten simple maps and 69 photographs. Terrence Gavan’s tour guide is a wealth of facts and history and a resource you will read and refer to often.

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Our world has been turned upside down and inside out over the past three months. I am guessing that when our city’s dining, drinking, and retail establishments are allowed to re-open, there is going to be a welcome tidal wave of pent-up visitor demand streaming across the bridges to our island. Not every one of our businesses will open at the same time or resume their previous schedules, so it is imperative that we each familiarize and re-familiarize ourselves with Newport’s best (& open!) coffee and dining places. 

As you know from experience, when our visitors see a tour guide, they immediately think and assume that this local guide – you! — knows Newport’s best places to get morning coffee, and where to find a great seafood restaurant, a bar with music, and the best bowl of clam chowder.  Your job, now and forever, is to not disappoint.  To do that, you need to know the best coffee and dining places in the greater Newport area.  The best way is to go out yourself and find food and drink places you like. With all the recent shutdowns and closures, you may have to again consult online news sources (, internet guides, and business web sites for the latest information, schedules, and menus. As in the past, be sure to reach out and ask other guides and local residents for their recommendations and “secret finds.”  The initial post-virus crisis research may be intensive, of course, but it is for a good cause – giving our visitors and guests the best information and ensuring them a memorable quality experience in Newport.  If you aspire to be the best at what you do – and you do — then it’s imperative you become known the “go to” person for great food and drink place recommendations in your tour company or your historic site. More than any time in our history, you are going to be one of the key community resources, helping our returning guests and visitors feel welcome, safe, and confident while they are here.  

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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

We’ll share it with all our readers. And you. Thanks!

Until this public health crisis passes and we are back open for business, please take time to read, learn, study, and better understand our city’s exciting heritage. 

Meanwhile, continue to check for openings and available services at our local restaurants, stores, and historical sites on the city’s visitor site at with daily updates on   

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  Belcourt of Newport ( – Wonderful videos of the restoration of this gem 

 Fort Adams (

 Touro Synagogue ( – Read the history, view the photo galleries

 Museum of Newport Irish History (

 Rose Island (

 Newport Historical Society (

 Preservation Society of Newport County ( — Several new virtual tours have recently been added to the web site

 Newport Art Museum (

 Gansett Cruises ( – Check out their photo & video galleries 

 Redwood Library and Athenaeum (

 The Newport Experience ( – Includes OceanCliff and the Schooner Aurora

 Audrain Automobile Museum ( – The YouTube site for this museum is worth a look  

 Discover Newport ( – Video, photos & numerous links to more

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With so many cancellations and postponements, it is wishful thinking to list any upcoming events with any assurance they will take place. The future is still too unknown and constantly changing.  Therefore, this column is suspending its regular detailed listings until such time as Newport re-opens and the major attractions and historic sites post their new schedules and re-set the dates for key events. 

Until then, please check back daily with for schedule changes and updates. 

KENNETH PROUDFOOT, a Newport Tour Escort and Guide, is author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017). 

Kenneth Proudfoot

KENNETH PROUDFOOT, a Newport Tour Escort and Guide, is the author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).