Photo Credit: St. Mary's Church

Yes, our churches will re-open this weekend! 

People are anxious to return to public worship. The long several month drought is over. Seating and the total number of people allowed into the building for services may be more limited than we are accustomed, but finally public worship returns for all.

Check with the website of your local parish, community church, synagogue, and other worship center for updated days and times of local religious services.

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Watch this column and daily posts in for additional openings of restaurants, cafes, hotels, museums, mansions, and more in the coming days and weeks. Indoor dining will return soon as well.

Plan Now, Play Later

With re-opening times for many museums and historic sites in flux, and the changing airline and cruise line travel restrictions, many people are now making detailed plans for the time when they will be fully able to safely travel and visit and tour new places, including Newport.  Many of these plans include booking travel, accommodations, dining options, and additional adventures.  We in the hospitality and tourism industries need to be keenly aware of this as we field and respond to inquiries from people worldwide. Even if they cannot travel this month or the next, we must delightedly encourage their visit ANYTIME!  We need to continue to exude enthusiasm for their visit to Newport, whether it is this weekend, this winter, or next year, or a few years from now.  

There are better times ahead. Keep aware of peoples’ desire for a future visit to Newport. Now is the time to plant the seed and offer suggestions of when, where, and how to best enjoy our city.

We know they are coming because Newport is a must-see destination. Eventually, after all their planning, they will arrive here. And thankfully, with proper planning on our part, we will be ready to welcome them and deliver to each one an unforgettable experience.

In the meantime, we have work to do here right now. Encourage your friends and guests and inquirers to visit Newport, patronize the open restaurants and cafes, drive and walk and experience the 4+ centuries of architectural beauty, and marvel at the miles of natural landscapes and water vistas. 

Much of what we have to offer visitors is already on display. We are also one day ever closer to a full re-opening of our city’s many attractions and activities.

The best is yet to come.

Watch this column and daily posts in for additional openings of restaurants, cafes, hotels, museums, mansions, and more in the coming days and weeks. Indoor dining will return soon as well.

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If you are still home, furloughed or laid off from your main work site, I want to encourage you to continue to read and research, virtually explore museum spaces and historic 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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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

a recent [and fun!] Newport history book.

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The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home (Touchstone, 2017), by Denise Kiernan. 

This is the fascinating true story of another place and time when a wealthy family, a genius architect, a visionary landscape designer, and a vast supporting cast of friends, lovers, business rivals, and family members created a world we can only imagine today but which has been captured magically by historian Denise Kiernan. This history of the planning and building of George Washington Vanderbilt’s 178,926 square foot home at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is also the story of the Vanderbilt family in Newport and New York. Here are all the Vanderbilt’s, architect Richard Morris Hunt, landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, and a thousand others who contributed to the realization of the “last castle.” For anyone who loves history and architecture and great achievement, this book offers wonderful insights and new details of an amazing era and the lives of a singular American family.    

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Great hospitality begins with a sincere hello and a smile.

It requires practice to really make your smile do all it should.

“How?” you might ask.

Practice smiling in your bathroom mirror.

Make it sparkle.

Make it shine.

Your smile can have power. 

Your smile most definitely HAS power.

Your smile can validate the most unappreciated person and the quintessential “shy visitor.”

In this time of face masks and viruses, the challenge is greater as your mouth and lips may often be covered. 

Still, your smile can be expressed and delivered and noticed and visible even if your mouth is covered and your smile is hidden. 

For the sincere smile is often and always visible through the eyes – the doorway to the soul.  When your soul, your heart, and your smile are joyous, happy, and loving, your smile, hidden or not, will shine through your eyes and your guest will know you are happy to see them. Use your smile, through your eyes, to empower and inspire your visitors.

More than ever, our smile can make this difficult time better. 

Remember how we love to see a smile on the face of the person next to us, across from us, and coming toward us. 

Make a special effort to use your smile to make magic and inspire a great experience for every guest.

REMEMBER: A smile is a non-verbal expression of welcome, joy, and love.

Your smile is the best welcome any guest can receive.

So, say hello and smile.

Everything else you will deliver is a bonus.

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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 will share it with all our readers. And you. Thanks!

Each day, until this public health crisis passes, and we are all again fully open for business, please take time to read, learn, study, and better understand our city’s exciting heritage. We encourage you to stay current by reading the daily news sites [such as], attending lectures, making online and virtual visits to other historic homes and museums, and walking around our great City-by-the-Sea. 

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 ( – Be sure to check out the videos of the lectures on their web site:

 Jamestown Historical Society ( – In January, the Society’s Collections Committee uploaded 41,834 records to the online database of holdings. Check it out this rich resource on their web site.

 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 and new ones announced every day, 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).