Posts Tagged ‘Newport’

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Sept. 16-19

September 9, 2021
The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, Sept. 16-19, 2021, features a series of specially designed culinary experiences paired with chosen wines and cocktails. © Karen Rubin/

NEWPORT, R.I. – For the second year in a row, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival will expand into the local restaurant scene with a series of specially designed culinary experiences paired with chosen wines and cocktails.

These unique dining experiences will be hosted by participating restaurants on select dates from Sept. 16-19, 2021.

Participating establishments include The Grill at 41° North, Nomi Park Restaurant at the Wayfinder Hotel, Midtown Oyster Bar, Cara at The Chanler, The Dining Room at The Vanderbilt, Giusto at Hammetts Hotel, 22 Bowen’s, the Hotel Viking’s Garden Room and Gurney’s Newport.

“Our Wine & Food Festival Restaurant Program is a great way to celebrate the return of dining out,” said Trudy Coxe, CEO and Executive Director of The Preservation Society of Newport County, which has hosted the festival in the Newport Mansions every year since 2006. “Newport is fortunate that its restaurant scene has survived the COVID crisis, and we hope food and wine lovers will come out and support these wonderful establishments.”

The presenting sponsor of the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Restaurant Program is BankNewport, one of the Preservation Society’s longtime Partners in Preservation.

“We are pleased to be partnering with the Newport Mansions to present the 2021 Wine & Food Festival with a world-class restaurant program,” said Wendy Kagan, BankNewport Executive Vice President/Director of Employee and Community Engagement. “Helping to promote restaurant events that recognize their chefs and the festival’s spirits and wine sponsors maintains the bank’s continued commitment to our community.”

For details including dates, times and how to make reservations for these events, visit the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Restaurant Program webpage at

Other events in the 16th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival are sold out, including two wine dinners and a Sunday brunch at Rosecliff, along with a series of 23 tasting seminars at Rosecliff and The Breakers Stable, Sept. 17-19.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

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Tickets on Sale for 60th Anniversary Newport Jazz Festival, Aug. 1-3

February 9, 2014

The 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival taking place August 1-3, 2014 will feature three full days of music that give a look at the future of jazz, including more than 40 performances by some of the world’s greatest established and emerging jazz artists and devote an entire day dedicated to emerging artists..

Now presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, the Festival will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin spirityouall, Trombone Shorty, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Robert Glasper, Dr. John, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Gary Burton, Gregory Porter, Jon Batiste, Dave Holland, John Zorn, Miguel Zenon, The Cookers, Snarky Puppy and more.

“We are thrilled to open the Festival on Friday with an entire day of musicians who have emerged on the scene with distinctive stories to tell through their music,” said George Wein, who has produced the Festival since its beginning in 1954. “We’re not just selling these artists, we might be selling the future of jazz. In fact, the only reason for me to be in the Festival business at this point in my life is because these musicians and others must be heard,” added Wein, now 88.

Also, the Newport Jazz Festival will present a symposium to discuss how jazz relates to popular culture in today’s society. It will feature jazz aficionados and historians, including Henry Louis Gates.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame will host the Friday evening concert, featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Festival-goers can play an additional role in helping to secure the future of jazz by supporting Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. at its fundraising gala at the famed Vanderbilt summer cottage, The Breakers, including an appearance by Marsalis and other Festival artists.

Tickets are now on sale. For tickets and more information, go to For information on luxury bus trips to Newport, go to WBGO Travel at

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Newport’s Preservation Society Costume Exhibit at Rosecliff Traces 20th Century Fashion

June 7, 2013

As the summer playground to many of America’s wealthiest families, Newport was once a swirl of couture dresses in a seemingly endless string of balls and entertainments. The Preservation Society of Newport County’s annual costume exhibition at Rosecliff (1902) this year highlights 20th century fashion and the way designers marketed changing styles and silhouettes to American consumers. The 11 dresses on exhibit are among the finest garments in the Preservation Society’s collection, from designers such as Chanel, Givenchy and Halston, among others.

Among the highlights of the exhibit is a 1925 evening gown by Callot Soeurs of Paris. With its straight profile, this evening dress epitomized the style of the period. The increasing popularity of automobiles and dance crazes such as the jitterbug necessitated shorter hemlines and ushered in a new silhouette for the 1920s. Heavy corsetting and layers of skirts were out, girdles and bras that flattened out the figure were in.

From the late 1930s to the mid ’40s, dresses were back to having a more defined waist and fuller skirt to emphasize the female figure. The exhibit includes a 1941 tea party dress made of cotton organdy which demonstrates this style.

Additional highlights include a 1965 red skirt suit by Chanel, a 1985 cotton organdy pant suit with glass beads by Halston, and a wool cocktail dress by Givenchy from the 1990s.

The Preservation Society’s costume collection helps to trace the changing role of women in American society over the centuries. The creation of one-of-a-kind garments, known as haute couture, has represented the pinnacle of high fashion since the 19th century. The allure of haute couture still captivates the imagination today; however, due to dwindling markets, collections now include fewer pieces than they did in the early 20th century.

Beginning in the 1960s, designers licensed their names for use on products and expanded their own lines beyond apparel. At the same time, the retail clothing industry diversified, providing more options at different price points. Today, haute couture collections no longer set the standards for how women should dress. Instead, they have evolved into marketing tools that shape a designer’s “brand” and increase sales of affordable products. Some devotees still buy haute couture clothing, but it is a shrinking population.

The exhibit is on display in the Lesley Bogert Crawford costume galleries on the 2nd floor of Rosecliff through November 22. Admission to the exhibit is included with any Rosecliff tour ticket, including multi-house tickets. Rosecliff is open daily for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through November 22, except when it is closed for the Newport Flower Show June 20-23. Newport Mansions tickets can be purchased online at, or in person at any Preservation Society property.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

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Tickets on Sale for 7th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

July 17, 2012

The Elms is one of the historic Newport Mansions hosting the 7th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, September 21-23 in Newport, Rhode Island, featuring world-renowned celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and father-daughter duo Jacques and Claudine Pépin, as well as exclusive wines from around the world © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival celebrates its 7th year as the most sophisticated wine and food festival on the East Coast. The event returns September 21-23, featuring world-renowned celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and father-daughter duo Jacques and Claudine Pépin, as well as exclusive wines from around the world, and fabulous food from the region’s most-celebrated restaurants and caterers. Sponsored by FOOD & WINE, the Festival takes place in the historic Newport Mansions, Rosecliff, The Elms and Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island.

The fun kicks off with the Wine & Rosecliff Gala, where guests will enjoy vintages uncorked exclusively for the evening alongside delicious food pairings. The activities continue throughout the weekend, with a 2-day Grand Tasting, informative seminars with some of the industry’s most respected personalities, auctions, and new this year, a Collectible Wine Dinner at The Elms.

Tickets to the 7th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, including the Grand Tasting on Saturday and Sunday, as well as all-inclusive weekend packages, are on sale now, and may be purchased at http://www.NewportMansionsWine

Ticket packages are tailored to satisfy the interests of all guests, whether in town for the day or the weekend. Individual tickets are available for each event, but for those guests who want to enjoy more of the weekend, combination tickets are available. The Connoisseur’s Package includes Wine & Rosecliff admission and either the Saturday or Sunday Grand Tasting at Marble House. For those who want to experience everything that the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival has to offer, the Wine Lovers Weekend Package, new this year, provides admission to Wine & Rosecliff, one Grand Tasting day, the Collectible Wine Dinner, and three seminars.

Wine seminars will be offered all three days of the Festival, offering entertainment and enlightenment for everyone from the curious new wine drinker to the most seasoned connoisseur. Seminar presenters will include Thirsty Girl’s Leslie Sbrocco, Master Sommelier Laura Maniec of New York City’s Corkbuzz Studio, Stuart and Suzanne Bryan of Pride Mountain Vineyards, and wine writer Jordan MacKay, among others.

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is also sponsored by National Trust Insurance Services, Buitoni, Porsche of Warwick, United Airlines, Alex & Ani, Stella Artois, Dasani, Alaska Seafood, Clarke Luxury Showrooms, Dave’s Fresh Marketplace, Honest Tea, Vinho Verde & Wines of Portugal, Casa Cornoer and the Italian Trade Commission, Hyatt Regency Newport, Amtrak, Johnson & Wales University, Roseann Tully’s Intermezzo, Travelocity, New England Home and Yankee Magazine.

All proceeds from the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Association of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its’ 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the 2012 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, visit, or call 401-847-1000.


March 31, 2011

Gilded Age mansions, like The Breakers (above), are among the top attractions that bring visitors to Newport, RI. Make your lodging as interesting by staying in a 19th century mill converted to a luxury, all-suite hotel, the Mill Street Inn © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Newport, RI –

The Mill Street Inn, Newport’s landmark all-suite hotel was recently honored with election as a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) brand.  Nestled in Newport’s historic hill area and featuring 23 newly renovated luxury suites, the Inn is offering several packages to guests visiting Newport this season.

A former 19th-century mill, the Inn was converted to an all-suite hotel in the 1980’s and has undergone major improvements under its current ownership.  Over $1 million has been invested in the Inn over the last few years to bring the property to its SLH status.  Only the world’s finest small luxury hotels are accepted into the SLH brand based on strict criteria.  The Mill Street Inn is now proud to be part of an unrivalled portfolio consisting of 500 hotel s in 70 countries.

Suites have been fully renovated throughout the hotel, combining historic charm with today’s modern luxuries.  Spacious suites, with exposed brick walls and original beams, are decorated with a contemporary style and nautical theme.  While maintaining the historical integrity of the Inn, the Inn is now also a member of the Green Hotels Association, incorporating green technologies such as energy efficient lighting and plumbing systems.  Gas fireplaces will also be added to the townhouse suites this spring.

In addition to the many renovations, each suite offers a list of hotel amenities including:  Aveda spa products, 300-thread-count linens, feather bed comforters, mini-bar, flat screen TVs, high-speed internet access and a complimentary breakfast each morning, with freshly squeezed orange juice and Nespresso coffee.  A rooftop patio with expansive views of the harbor lets guests enjoy breakfast on sunny mornings in the ocean breeze.

Dean Maki, the General Manager, says the hotel is preparing for a busy summer, but encourages travellers to also visit Newport this spring.  The hotel recently launched a springtime package deal that includes a two night stay, dinner at 22 Bowen’s, a mansion tour, bottle of wine upon arrival, and a continental breakfast starting at $255.  Visitors are encouraged to visit for further package details.

 Newport’s famed waterfront, excellent dining and speciality shops are within close walking distance from the Inn.   

Mill Street Inn, 75 Mill Street, Newport, Rhode Island, 401-849-9500,



Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House Marks 90th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, Aug. 26

July 25, 2010

Marble House Celebrates 90th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a noted suffragist, called Marble House her "temple to the arts," and used the house as a setting for suffrage rallies. On Thursday, August 26, there will be a free event to mark the occasion © 2010 Karen Rubin/

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a noted suffragist, called Marble House her “temple to the arts,” and used the house as a setting for suffrage rallies. On Thursday, August 26, there will be a free event to mark the occasion © 2010 Karen Rubin/

On Thursday, August 26, Marble House, on Newport’s tony Bellevue Avenue, will be the site of a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The festivities will begin at 11 a.m., and the event is free and open to the public.

Taking place on the terrace of Marble House, where Alva once hosted rallies to raise funds for the suffrage movement, the celebration will include poetry, music, and readings from historical documents.   Participants will include Rhode Island State Senator June Gibbs; the state’s Poet Laureate, Lisa Starr;  Amber Rose Johnson, the 2010 Poetry Out Loud National Champion from Classical High School in Providence, RI; and Lt. Colonel Jayme M. Sutton, Naval War College Military Professor of National Strategy Decision Making.

Why would a Gilded Age mansion in Newport be the scene to mark Women’s Suffrage? The House, so opulent in its architecture and decoration, was built by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, as her “temple of the arts.” But Alva was a pioneer feminist – the decorations are loaded with imagery of goddesses and feminine symbols of learning and art. She became a vigorous sponsor of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and held suffrage rallies at the House, attended by women of all classes (there are some wonderful photos and audio about them as you tour the house). Visiting the house, you can sense Alva’s frustration and longing for a society in which women had the right to pursue their talents and ambition, but in her day, the way to power was to marry wealth.

“Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was a rebel right from childhood, and despite becoming one of the leaders of Newport and New York high society, she never lost her independent spirit,” said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe.  “Alva used her position in society to raise money and lobby for the right of women to vote, so she would be very proud to see her beloved Marble House hosting this celebration today.”

“Women got the vote through struggle, by organizing themselves, talking with politicians and marching in the streets.  The League of Women Voters continues the struggle by telling all that voting is the mainstay of democracy,” said Joanne DeVoe, President of the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.  “We also work out consensus positions on issues and then publicize and lobby for these positions.  The League thanks the Preservation Society for opening the grounds of Marble House to remember the women who were part of the struggle. Could there be a better place in Rhode Island for this celebration?”

“The example that Alva Vanderbilt Belmont set for women of her day, and the women of ours, is unmatched,” said Marcia Coné, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. “The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is so pleased to be a part of this important event and to celebrate her legacy.”

“Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was a force who championed the cause for the 19th Amendment’s passage. Imagine what our lives would be like today if the passage had not been won,” said Deborah L. Perry, Executive Director of YWCA Northern Rhode Island. “It is an honor for the YWCA to be part of this celebration.”

“We sometimes forget that Newport in the 19th century was a stage for more than just social entertainment, but was also a backdrop for many dramas of national consequence,” said Pieter Roos, Executive Director of the Newport Restoration Foundation. “Alva used Newport’s glamour and prestige to advance one of the most important social movements of the era, and this event will highlight that for contemporary audiences.”

Marble House was the summer cottage built for Alva Vanderbilt in 1892 to cement her place in high society.  But in later life, she moved from socialite to social reformer, using Marble House as a stage from which she rallied women to the cause of equal rights.  In 1921, Alva was elected President of the National Woman’s Party, and was the founder of the Political Equality League.  She is credited with the original advice, “Pray to God.  She will help you.”

Alva even partnered with songwriter and columnist Elsa Maxwell to write a light-hearted, one-act operatta entitled Melinda and Her Sisters to convince New York and Newport high society that the time had come to grant women equal rights. The play was performed at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in 1916, and was re-staged by the Preservation Society at Marble House in 2003.

The Suffrage event is free and open to the public at Marble House, 596 Bellevue Avenue.  Call 401-847-1000, ext. 169 or visit

For more about the Women of Newport, Gilded Age Mansions and visiting Newport, visit

–Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate

New Family Tour of The Breakers, Vanderbilt’s Newport ‘Cottage’

June 18, 2010

The Breakers, Newport

A new family audio tour of The Breakers emphasizes the people and how they lived within the "summer cottage," a symbol of wealth and a base of power in the Gilded Age © 2010 Karen Rubin/

We have noticed an interesting change when visiting the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island: more use a self-guided audio tour rather than the timed tours presented by docents.

 The new audio tours are actually an improvement – you can pace yourself, spending as much or as little time as you like looking in this room or that, and you can punch in numbers to get much greater detail on various subjects that interest you.

 But most interestingly is that the audio tours incorporate many personal interviews with people who had a connection to the houses – they might have visited the house as a child, or had been a child of one of the staff; some are readers enacting the words of memoirs or letters of the historical figures, and historians offer illuminating commentary that puts the architecture, art, and social mores into context.

 The audio tours also incorporate wonderful sound effects – period music, the sounds of a busy kitchen- which help transport you back into that era, and add that extra sensual dimension.

 And if you have an additional question, you can still ask one of the museum people who will know the answer or know who to ask (whereas questions in a guided tour can be illuminating but also can drag down the commentary).

 Now, The Breakers, the fabulous (an understatement) historic Vanderbilt summer “cottage” built by Cornelius Vanderbilt, is introducing a family audio tour experience, created to enable youngsters and parents to imagine themselves personally witnessing the history made in this great Gilded Age chateau.

 As the house shares its secrets, you meet family members and staff, as well as fanciful creatures like the friendly dolphin hiding under the grand staircase, the lions of the Music Room and the dragons in the Dining Room. You experience a summer day in the life of one of the Vanderbilt children, you meet the masters of the kitchen – Monsieur Le Chef and his colleague, The Butler.

 You take an imaginary slide down the grand stairs on a silver serving tray, listen as imaginary acrobats pile 50 feet high to measure the Great Hall, and learn all the “rules” the children had to live by at The Breakers.

 The tour has been created by The Preservation Society of Newport County based on a decade of research, oral history from family members and staff who lived there as children, and the popular main audio tour “The Breakers Revealed” which premiered in 2009.  It uses extensively-documented historic facts to launch young people’s imagination on a flight of fancy through one of the 19th century’s grandest private residences, and introduces them to a time and place far removed from the present day.

 “Family experiences are among the most precious experiences children have in museums,” says Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “This tour begins to fulfill the promise of bringing our historic properties to life in ways that youngsters can share with their parents and each other.”  

 Using imagination, the tour introduces themes of architecture, design, décor and the importance of historic preservation from a uniquely personal point of view.

 “The strength of the tour is its solid artistic and historic foundation,” says Preservation Society Museum Affairs Director John Tschirch. “This tour is rich in imagination, but it’s not make-believe. The story of the building, the lives of the Vanderbilts and their staff provided all the material we needed to enable young people to connect with this important era in American history.”

 The tour is offered continuously at The Breakers as an option on the Explorer© audio tour players provided to all visitors at no additional charge. Presented in partnership with Antenna Audio, the world leader in museum audio tours, and Sonalysts Studios in Waterford, Connecticut, the 45-minute experience can be enjoyed by youngsters as their parents take “The Breakers Revealed” audio tour which follows the same route and timing. Visitors can stop as often as they like as they travel through the house, and can explore more information at subject stops along the route.     

 The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Association of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts.  Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

 For more information, call 401-847-1000 or visit

And to feel like a Vanderbilt, stay in the newly opened Vanderbilt Hall, an actual mansion built in 1909 by Alfred Vanderbilt, the great-grandson of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, reinvented as a mansion hotel in 2010 by hotelier Peter De Savary (Vanderbilt Hall, 41 Mary Street, Newport, RI 02804, 401-846-6200, 888-826-4255.

And for more information on visiting Newport, Rhode Island, call 800-326-6030 or visit

 (For more stories about Newport, the Gilded Age mansions, and Vanderbilt Hall, visit
–Karen Rubin