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French Tall Ship Hermione To Dock in Newport, Rhode Island


By Liz Kelly, Contributor

NEWPORT, R.I. — The largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in 150 years, Hermione, an exact replica of General Lafayette’s Frigate of Freedom, is due to arrive at Fort Adams in Newport.

The ship, docking on July 8 for a two-day stay, is reenacting the return of 22 year-old General Lafayette to the shores of Colonial America 235 years ago, heralding France’s critical support of the Colonies’ War of Independence.

In celebration of this beautifully reconstructed Tall Ship’s arrival and the important journey it commemorates, numerous events are planned throughout Newport July 8-9, including tours of the Hermione, dedications, lectures, Colonial military drills and Colonial theme dinners, demonstrations, and even lunch with Lafayette’s friend and commander, General George Washington.

The voyage of the Hermione is in part to symbolize and rekindle through the Hermione the intimate ties between France and the United States, and the spirit of liberty that sustains them, and to demonstrate the inestimable value of history and show that it can be a living force in increasing our understanding of the world.

Able to hold a crew of 242, 72 volunteers, one-third women, are on this journey, most of whom gave up their ‘real life’ to become steeped in the history of the vessel that changed the course of America’s War of Independence.

Events begin July 8 at 9:30 a.m. with a dedication ceremony and end July 9 at 10:00 p.m. with a Farewell Ceremony as Hermione departs.

The public is welcome to join French and American dignitaries for the festivities honoring this historic occasion as Tall Ship Hermione docks at Fort Adams in full splendor

For more information, visit: http://www.hermione2015.com and  www.mysticseaport.org.

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Newport and Bristol Reveal Serene Beauty and Traces of the Past


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

NEWPORT, R.I. — Travel guru Arthur Frommer once observed that tourists don’t go to a city that has lost its soul. True soul, he said, is embodied in the older buildings that render a place unique. Moreover, it’s the architecture and ambiance of the locale that distinguish one city from the next. And in  Newport, R.I. that much is true.

On a crisp fall day, a trolley ride around this quaint city on the Narragansett Bay makes the area feel like someplace – and not just any place.  When you hop aboard the Viking Tours trolley parked at the Rhode Island Visitors Center depot, immediately, you start to discover the history and histrionics that laid the foundation of this place. Nearby is the first settlement in Rhode Island, which dates back to 1639. The settlement marks the beginning of a major 18th-century slave port city, and has the highest number of surviving colonial buildings in the United States.

Less than a mile away are several remarkable buildings surrounding the trapezoid town square. One of the most significant architectural gems is the Touro Synagogue, the oldest standing synagogue in the country. Its origin traces back to the philosophy of George Washington, who helped craft tenets in the U.S. Constitution. In his August 18, 1790 letter to the growing Jewish population, whose forefathers emigrated from Barbados in 1658, Washington planted the seed of religious tolerance and encouraged the Hebrews to luxuriate in their difference. This founding father wrote his letter after Rhode Island ratified the constitution that year, saying: “Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree. And there should be none to make him afraid.”

Moreover, the founding father and the first president of the U.S. disavowed bigotry and persecution because of difference or otherness: He writes: “For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

After learning such rich history that gives meaning to the present, it’s easy for the bosom to heave with pride and love for country as the trolley makes its way around what is now called Washington Square, Newport’s first town center. And there you can stay for at least two hours to marvel at a place and its past. In fact, the George Washington Tavern is only a stone throw away from the synagogue. Now restored and painted burgundy with white trimmings, the tavern serves as a central meeting location for today’s politicos, business people and curious tourists.

Jennifer R Balch_4Also nearby is the first house of worship in Rhode Island, the Quaker Meeting House built in 1699. But the centerpiece of this tour is arguably the 18th century Newport Mansions. More than 300 years of America’s heritage – charming inns, a grand collection of great hotels, and iconic resorts, each with a treasured story to savor, celebrate, and share, including Jacqueline Bouvier’s residence at the Hammersmith Farm, a Victorian mansion on a hill that slopes toward the bay.

Some of the most impressive mansions include the Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, all historic Landmarks, which will be decorated with poinsettias and evergreens for Christmas at the Mansions now through Jan. 5, 2014.

Newport has long been a playground for the rich and famous with its gracious mansions lining the Cliff Walk overlooking Newport Beach. But for a relatively modest fee, visitors can stay at the Newport Beach Hotel. Built in 1940, the gracious gambrel-style inn overlooks Newport Beach. An indoor pool, whirlpool, roof-top hot tub, fire pit and spa services come with panoramic water views. Bordered by the famous Cliff Walk next to the crescent-shaped beach, the boutique hotel is close to the world-renowned mansions on one side and the beach cottages of the Esplanade on the other.

*****************

About 30 minutes from Newport is one of the most charming little cities in America: Bristol, R.I.

Bristol, the home the DeWolf Tavern, was one of the largest slave cities in New England. Like Newport, Bristol was a major stop along the Atlantic Slave Trade route. Ships sailed from that port to Africa and to the Caribbean and then back to New England, exchanging captured Africans or “black cargoes” for molasses, sugar and rum. In fact, Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, had about 30 rum distilleries, more than Newport which had 22 alone. During the 18th and 19th century, the DeWolfs traded more than 10,000 enslaved Africans.

Today, Bristol is an exquisite tourist attraction along the Narragansett Bay with traces of its past.  After a leisurely drive from Newport to Bristol, visitors will encounter red, blue and white medians in the narrow road that leads to the center of town. On the way is the first fine-dinning restaurant in the town, The Lobster Pot, where you can have an exquisite feast that is more than worth a stop to enjoy the double-barrel lobster, their Indian pudding or Jamaican coffee.

In search for a respite from the bustling cities, visitors can stay a night at the Bristol Harbor Inn, facingNarragansett Bay. The Harbor Inn is a boutique hotel near quaint shops and next to DeWolf’s Tavern, which serves a hearty English breakfast in the morning to visitors before they explore the shops along the bay.

For passing the time, sitting on the dock of the Bay brings serenity and can make anyone feel far removed from the site’s distant past, yet still reminiscent of its troubled history as boats glide along the bay toward the barn that once belonged to James DeWolf, head of the largest slave trading family in all of North America. That serene and hauntingly beautiful surrounding is now one of the most prized attractions in New England.

Knowing the region’s history and sensing its soul is only part of the joy that comes from a visit to America’s “most patriotic city.”

Photos by Jennifer R. Balch.

Visti DiscoverNewport.com for more information.

If you go,

STAY:

Bristol Harbor Inn

Newport Beach Hotel

EAT:

Lobster Pot

DeWolf Tavern

VISIT:

Blithewold Mansion

Coggeshall Farm Museum

DO:

Viking Tours of Newport

DiscoverNewport

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Newport International Boat Show Draws Thousands, Aims for New Customers


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

NEWPORT, RI — Want to go sailing?

While navigating the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island, you will often hear that question as boat enthusiasts inspect new products on the market or ferry over to Goat Island to purchase yachts ranging from $644,000 to  $3.5 million.

With its elegant mahogany hull and stateroom layout, a 70-ft Vicem Yacht named Truant is an exquisite eight-sleeper with separate crew quarters. For $1.9 million, you can cruise top speed at 28 knots—or 32 miles per hour. Afterward, Truant’s broker at Northrop & Johnson, Inc. will return it to a harbor somewhere in Connecticut.

This weekend, Newport Waterfront along America’s Cup Avenue to attend the 43rd annual boat show from Sept. 12-15, the largest boat show in New England and the “kick off” to the fall boat show season. The show, which features more than 600 boats in water, power and sail, is expected to draw about 40,000 people to the smallest state in the union. And it’s a 90-minute drive from any part of Connecticut, Boston and New York for a three to four-day stay in southeastern New England.

But there’s more to the boat show than checking out dinghies, kayaks and cruisers; Mantus’s boat anchors with aerodynamic technology; or serene settings close to the water.

The maritime industry is synonymous with New England’s history. Puritan settlers livelihood included. This tradition is passed down in many New England families, such as Tom Delotto, director of thee Newport Exhibition Group that owns and produces the Newport International Boat Show.

“It’s a good way to disconnect from land and enjoy the soothing effects of being on water,” Delotto says.

The Group also has educational programs for novices, including children. Scheduled program include Discover Boating’s Hands On Skills Training (HOST) series, which allow boaters to enhance existing skills or serve as an entry-level course for understanding weather forecasting.

There’s also “a big push” to penetrate the minority population.  Up to 10 percent of African Americans and Hispanics are boaters.

And Rhode Island has its reason to ensuring the show expands. That economic value of boating and recreation sales impact on the local economy is notable.  The total annual economic value is $121.2 billion, with direct sales at $646 billion. The industry employs 338,526 people. Like many industries during the recession, outdoor recreation decreased. Now, it’s on the rise industry experts say. And people are expanding and hiring.

Chris Perry works as a prep cook at Bello’s Cafe. On Friday, he was just sitting on the dock on Goat Island—on his day off—with his dog.

“I love it this time of year,” said Chris Perry, a Rhode Island native, stroking his cockerspanial, Pandoria. “I just like being down by the water.”

Well, the water is there all year. But, as Perry may have observed, the crisp air and mild sun caressing your skin while you’re sailing in the Bristol Harbor is enough to draw you down by the water this time of year.

ACTIVITIES:

43rd Newport International Boat Show

Newport, Rhode Island

Show Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

www.newportboatshow.com

1-800-582-7846

WHERE TO STAY:

Homewood Suites Newport-Middletown

119 Hope Street

Middletown, RI

Opened in June 2013

Complimentary hot breakfast 

 

Bristol Harbor Inn

259 Thames Street Landing

Bristol, RI

Eat breakfast at DeWolf Tavern

 

Newport Beach Hotel & Suites

One Wave Avenue

Middletown, RI

WHERE TO EAT:

The Lobster Pot

119 Hope St

Bristol, RI

The first fine dining restaurant that opened in 1929; it’s renowned for its seafood dishes

 For more information on lodging, dining, attractions, transportation and more, visit www.DiscoverNewport.org.  

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