In this long homestretch of Winter let's focus on the special manifestation of Spring that is the Newport Daffodillion Campaign. Someone quite daffy came up with the idea to plant 1,000,000 daffodils throughout the city in order to make Newport "the daffiest city in America". Launched in 2006 with the support of an avid, local, beautification committee The Daffodil Project, the purpose is "to celebrate renewal, beauty, and live-ability in every neighbohood". More than 258,000 have been planted over the past 8 years!
The founding group has been fund raising and finding sponsors and volunteers to accomplish the large scale planting in public beds that are already in place with more to come. Sponsors and friends also fund the generous give away of daffodill bulbs toward reaching the goal of 1,000,000. Bulbs are given away and planted in public and private spaces in October and November and keep popping up every April.
Indeed, new large, public space plantings appear evey year. Daffodills are a hardy and tolerant plant that follow a simple planting guide. Folks are encouraged to find (anywhere and everywhere) a bright, sunny spot, dig a 5"deep hole into which they are to place 3 bulbs points up; cover with dirt and allow them to hibernate for The Fall and Winter. Their April arrival is a welcome, beautiful sight to behold.
Mark April in Newport as another good time to visit. These beautiful flowers add a Spring crown to the wonderful and powerful vistas that surround the city by the sea.You may want to come back every year and observe the progress that is made toward the 1,00,000 Spring blooming. Ivy Lodge is an ideal location for seeing several of the public plantings. Beat the summer crowds and come spend the change of sessons with us.
In a sure sign of what's to come, this year the nine coastal towns of Newport and Bristol Counties will hold their Spring Restaurant Week March 20 through March 29. Beginning in 2006 once a year, it became biennial in 2008 held in the Spring and the Fall. It usually marks the beginning of the busy Spring season and in the Fall, the beginning of the holiday season. It features three course prix fixe meals at exceptional value, $16 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Over 45 restaurants participate, serving meals that can satisfy any palate.
The mission of Restaurant Week is to provide visitors and residents alike the opportunity to experience the quality, diversity and hospitality that epitomizes a Newport (and Bristol) County dining experience at an affordable price. The menus celebrate seasonal ingredients and promote local food and wine purveyors. They cater to the culinary desires of both frequent restaurant goers and first time diners alike. Many restaurants offer an expanding list of vegetarian or gluten free alternatives.
Some of our favorite and recommended spots have mouthwatering specialties that make them well worth your consideration:
TSK is a "field to fork, chef driven eatery offering locally sourced cuisine in a relaxed and fun atmosphere." BYOB, Chefs Chad Hoffer and Tyler Burning (www.thamestreetkitchen.com)
THE SPICED PEAR at the Chanler on Cliff Walk you can "enjoy a meal with ocean vistas in a restaurant that exudes elegance and relaxed comfort in equal parts." (www.thechanler.com)
BOUCHARD RESTAURANT has been locally and nationally recognized for "dining that is refined but not stuffy... everything made on the premises to ensure the highest quality". (www.restaurantbouchard.com)
FLUKE WINE BAR AND KITCHEN has been awarded Best Wine List and Best Creative Cocktails from a number of regional publications. "Our fresh and seasonal menu changes frequently to take advantage of the season." Chef Amilar Pleite (www.flukewinebar.com).
STONE ACRE PANTRY is a "restaurant focused on sustainability and a posiitve relationship with our local environment." (www.stoneacrepantry.com).
SCALES AND SHELLS , a favorite of just about everyone, serves the freshest, high quality seafood. "Dishes prepared in such a way as to enhance the fish not overpower it". (www.scalesandshells.com)
Newport has several more recently opened gastro-pubs (as well as established ones) that deserve to be experienced too:
MALT ON BROADWAY, MISSION from the chefs at TSK, THE WHARF PUB AND RAW BAR and POUR JUDGEMENT just to mention an excellent few.
We are sure that none of these will disappoint. You will find a more complete set of listings and menus (not all serve lunch) at www.discovernewportrestaurantweek.org and www.discovernewport.org. There is a large array of selections, so why not eat at a restaurant you have not tried yet but have been longing to try? This is a chance to be adventuous without breaking the bank!
Newport welcomes March and the coming of Spring for many obvious reasons but one herald of Spring begins on March 1: the celebration of Newport Irish History Month. During the late 19th century and early 20th century "Newport was Irish" to the folks who made Newport their home. It is the time when Newport's Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) recognizes and promotes all things Irish. The month features events of the AOH and other organizations that support Newport Irish culture (www.aohnewport.org and www.newportirish.com/events). A central focus of the month is the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It always takes place on the last Saturday before March 17 (unless the 17th is a Saturday). Yankee magazine has listed it as one of the best in New England.
This year is the 59th annual parade. On March 14, 2015 it begins at 11:00a.m. sharp, rain or shine. The start is at City Hall on Broadway, proceeding through Washington Square, down Thames Street to Carroll Avenue and St. Augustin's Church. For two hours there are Pipe Bands, Marching Bands, Fire and Drum Corp, reenactment units, Clown units and a host of local, state, and regional organizations. Parade spectators often provide a great deal of entertainment also!
After the Parade is the post parade family party at "the Hut", Newport's recreation center on Golden Hill Avenue, behind the public library on Spring Street. This is the 8th year for this family fun celebration that is an alcohol free event. It features lots of free entertainment for the whole family including contests (How Green AM I?) and prizes.
Plenty of venues will offer music, dance, food and drink thoughout the month! In particular, just follwing the end of the parade (2:00p.m.) at the historic Jane Pickens Theater, Pendragon will perform. "Fashioning the music of tradition into the music of tomorrow" Pendragon plays the Celtic-inspired music that has a rich tradition in New England. Voted Best Celtic Act in RI in 2013, Pendragon has been nominated for numerous regional awards for Outstanding Celtic Act. It will be a great addition to your celebration of St. Patrick's Day in Newport. (janepickens.com)
With so much to see and experience in Newport it can be difficult selecting what will give you something you will not encounter anywhere else. Attending a performance, presentation or event at The Jane Pickens Therter and Event Center is a selection that is sure to make your time in Newport memorable. Overlooking historic Washington Square the structure was Newport's first Greek Revival building. Created in 1834 by renowned architect Russell Warren to be the Zion Evangelical Church, the building has been through many changes. In 1919 it became a theater, then called The Strand. It was renamed The Jane Pickens Theater 32 years ago. The current owners have been restoring and expanding the site to utilize it for a broad range of unique presentations with a sense of style based on history. They added Event Center to the name in 2005.
One of the oldest cinemas in the country, it has a reputation as a world class art house cinema, screening a mix of first run movies, documentaries, classic films and art films. Movies are hand selected to appeal to audiences with discrimnating tastes. Live performances from all over the world (live and encore) are regularly featured. Productions originating in the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet in London, the Globe Theatre, the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, La Scala Oera House, the Roundabout theater in New York city are just a few examples. On February 7-12 the theater is showing "Oscar Shorts 2015", the best animated and live action films of the year.
A mixed media venue, the remodeled space has new state of the art screens and speaker system. The back half of the improved stage had not been used since the days of Vaudville. Musical performers rave about the acoustics. It is the home of the sold out Newport Folk Festival After-Show every July. In February it will host jazz musician Doug Wolverton performing " A Tribute to Miles Davis". Wolverton has been performing the tribute show since 2012. It showcases Miles Davis hits from 1950-1990 including everything from his "Kind of Blue" album, the highest selling jazz album of all time. In two shows on February 19 the audience will experience hearing the evolution of jazz over 40 years. On March 14 (the day of Newport's St. Patrick's Day parade) Pendragon will perform two shows of Celtic inspired, New England traditional, roots music mixed with a contempoary edge. This Rhode Island based ensemble has been performing for enthusiastic audiences for more than 30 years. There are plans for 10 more spring concerts.
With renovations the historic building has been the location of a variety of events -- even a wedding! It is the objective of the owners to also utilize it as a tool for fund-raising events for non-profit causes in Newport County. The facility can hold up to 472 people including the balcony and a little more with use of the lobby. With films, live music and events created in a truly unique public meeting space, the Jane Pickens appeals to a broad range of people in the local community and to our important tourist base. Below are some of the coming attractions.
During the February school vacation week: The Lego Movie (February 16) terrific for all ages and an encore showing of the play Treasure Island (February 20) as it was being performed in London by National Theatre Live (suitable for ages 10 and up).
February 25: From the Strarford Festival, King Lear "a powerful and unforgetable production of Shakespeare's greatest tragedy".
March 25: The National Theatre Live presents Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a "tumultuous play on an epic scale... from the uncompromising, prize winning non-fiction book by Katherine Boo who spent three years recording the lives of Annawadi residents. "India...surging with global ambition...full of people with plans of their own."
March 26: A View from the Bridge, "The great Arthur Miller confronts the American dream in this dark and passionate tale. The visionary Ivo van Hove directs this stunning production of Miller's tragic mastrepiece." Broadcast from London's West End by National Theatre Live.
April 9: From the Stratford Festival, a rare opportunity to see Shakespeare's play King John. "When the rule of the hedonistic and mercurial king is questioned rebellion, assasination and excommunication ensue ".
Oscar nominated movies Still Alice, The Imitation Game and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are showing in February and March.
This is by no means a complete listing of the many outstanding productions that will be featured. Consult the Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center for complete information on coming attractions, dates, showtimes and tickets. (janepickens.com) 49 Touro Street, Newport (401)846-5252)
All the information contained here comes directly from the website of the Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center (janepickens.com).
Jane Pickens was born in 1919 although she didn't like to tell people her exact age. She was a truly remarkable woman who was ahead of her times in many ways. She was an accomplished pianist, singer, actress, star of stage, radio and TV as well as a politician, philanthropist, mother and wife. She lived a charmed life.
Born in Macon, Georgia to a musical family she first performed with her sisters (The Pickens Sisters). Their big break came in radio. They sang together for 5 years. Jane then went on as a soloist. "She was the toast of the ciub-and- radio circuit of the 30s and 40s." She appeared with the Ziegfield Follies, Fanny Brice and Gypsy Rose Lee and others. She also appeared on Broadway in several shows.
Jane married three times and lived a glamorous social life on Park Avenue and in Newport. She had one child. She studied in Paris and received her Master's from Julliard. Throughout her life she practiced her music rigorously. As a important social hostess of the period she divided her time between Park Avenue and Newport. In 1963 she purchased and refurbished Bellevue House on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.
Jane supported and was directly involved in numerous charities. From President Lyndon Johnson she received a Distinguished Volunteer Service Award in 1968. In 1974 she ran for Congress. Also in 1974 the Jane Pickens Theater was renamed in her honor. She and her sister Patti gave a concert at the dedication. In retirement Jane settled at Bellevue House but remained active as a hostess, fundraiser and supporter of multiple causes.
Jane Pickens lived her life independently and passionately, passing away in 1992.
All information in this article is directly attributable to the website of The Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center (janepickens.com).
Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day...
Weddings in Newport are a long standing tradition and there is nothing that can compare to Newport for a wedding celebration. There are breathtaking vistas everywhere. The venue choices that include famous romantic mansions and historic sites with striking interior settings and surroundings can fulfill any bride's dreams. With an extensive selection of vendors for all that the celebration will require, there is a fit for any budget.
Newport has an abundance of places of worship, parks and gardens, both private and public. The Rotunda Ballroom at Easton's Beach has views that surround it and even features a carousel for a beachfront wedding, a truly unique experience! Whether your tastes are traditional or unconventional, Newport is able to satify.
This year the 13th Annual Newport Bridal Show and Wedding Expo presented by Newport Wedding Magazine will be held on February 21. Two venues, Rosecliff and Oceancliff will have full schedules of fashion shows, demonstrations and exhibits. Transportation between the two will be provided. No matter where you are in your planning there will be plenty to discover that will make it clear why a Newport wedding is unlike any other.
Whether you chose a Spring wedding in the daffodils, a Summer wedding in the sun, an Autumn wedding in the changing foliage or a Winter wedding in the holiday sparkle, Ivy Lodge is a perfect place to stay while you are here. We welcome all of your family and friends year round. Our accomodations can provide a home away from home as you prepare for the big day. We have a great deal of experience having the entire wedding party stay with us. Family members of the bride or groom enjoy sharing the excitement together here in the more intimate setting the Inn offers.
Ivy Lodge is centrally located, just a short stroll from most Newport attractions. For your guests and friends a stay at Ivy Lodge can be a wonderful part of the unforgettable time that is your wedding celebration.
Folks come to Newport for many reasons and many come especially for The Winter Festival in February. This year it runs from February 13-22 and features over 150 events throughout Newport County. It is accurately described as "10 days of nonstop music, food and fun" (www.newportwinterfestival.co) and a "winter extravaganza"!
Beatlemania (February 13) sells out every year. Authentic tribute bands will play the songs of the Eagles and Jimmy Buffet. The very popular Chili Cook-Off on February 14 is in its twentieth year while a newer competitor (fourth year), the Chicken Wing Cook-Off will be held on February 21. Hot drinks, Tropical Drinks and Martinis have contests. Local vineyards will hold some specialized wine tasting events. There is always plenty of hot chocolate and non-alcoholic options are also available.
No winter festival is complete without an ice sculping demonstration. With chisels, chainsaws and sanders, sculptors transform blocks of ice into works of art. Come watch as these talented artists make magic happen with the ice. Starts at 11:00 a.m on Feb.16
Of course lots of events and activities for children are scheduled. Sunday and Monday 11:30am-4pm: Children’s Fair at the Newport Hyatt Co-Sponsored by the Newport Daily News 1 Goat Island, Newport. Bring your kids for this fun filled, 2-day fair with music, face
painting, balloon creations, arts & crafts, reptiles and much more! Don’t miss the great music and continuous live entertainment. There is also a Princess Party and Live Jazz for Kids.
One of the favorites is Festival Day at Easton's Beach with a block hunt, a sand sculpting contest and for all ages, a Polar Bear Plunge (February 22).It is a full day of outdoor fun that culminates with the players and ponies of the Newport International Polo Series putting on a polo match on the sand. Don't miss this unique spectacle on a beautiful beach!
Only a sampling of events are named here; there is something interesting or entertaining for everyone. Come stay at the Ivy Lodge to be close to everything there is to enjoy!
Get out this weekend and experience the natural beauty and bounty of the area. Seasonal explorations of seven miles of trails at Norman Bird Sanctuary will bring you through the diverse habitats of the regional wildlife. Up on the ridge trails are some breathtaking scenic vistas of the local geography.You may even get a glimpse of that elusive winter guest, the Snowy Owl. Ivy Lodge is a member of Norman Bird Sanctuary and its over 300 acres. Our guests receive free admission.
On Saturday, December 20 the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge will host a free, family friendly Snowy Owl Walk and Talk, from noon to 2:00p.m. Participants should bring equipment for viewing and dress appropriately.
Every year around this time the National Bird Count occurs where people all over the country set out to determine the current avian population of their geographical areas. In Newport County the count region includes many prime habitats like Norman Bird Sanctuary and the Wildlife Refuge at Sachuest Point.
Last season birdwatchers observed four young Snowy Owls that came for extended stays. This year's National Count recorded six different breeds of owl. Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Eastern Screech Owls and a Northern Sawwhet Owl are some of them. On count, Sunday, December 14, there was some disappointment over the lack of Snowy Owl observations. However, in recent days there have been five confirmed sightings of three seperate Snowy Owls in the Refuge, including a large all white male.
Newport this Week identifies the Snowy Owl as a diurnal raptor and resident of the Artic. They stand two feet tall, can weigh between four and six pounds and have a wingspan over five feet. For many they are the subject of legends as a magical creature and the sighting of a Snowy Owl is a prized one among enthusiasts.
This is a guided tour along the trails of the Refuge. There will also be an informative talk on the behaviors, habitats and physiology of these special raptors.
Newport begins celebrating the holiday season at the end of November. Lights twinkle everywhere and all sectors of the community collaborate to provide a wide range of activities. Every day there is something special or lovely to experience.
The Newport Historical Society has several, fascinating, seasonal tours that run throughout December and beyond. There is a Holiday Open House, historic site tours, Holiday Histories Tour, Colonial Winter tour and more. Contact the Museum of Newport History at Brick Market, 401-841-8770 for reservations and schedules.
The Preservation Society of Newport County begins its own Christmas at the Newport Mansions offering a full schedule of tours through the elaborately decorated rooms at The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House. There are mucical performances, gingerbread mansion creations, Santa's visits and a variety of other special treats! (newportmansions.org)
One of the most notable events is the staging of The Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff over two weekends. The production of this beloved classic flows through the mansion and engages the audience intimately in the story and the performance.
Saturday evenings in December you can enjoy an interactive murder, mystery "Silent Night, Deadly Night" at the Newport Art Museum. (newportartmuseum.org)
There are always lots of holiday craft fairs and local holiday performances and productions. This time of year in Newport has something for everyone!
Rough Point is a magnificent oceanfront estate. It was the Newport home of Doris Duke- heiress, philanthropist, art collector. It was bequeathed to the Newport Restoration Foundation, complete with all of its contents in1993. In 1968 Miss Duke founded the Newport Restoration Foundation for the express purpose of preserving, interpreting and maintaining landscape and objects reflecting Aquidneck Island's eighteenth and nineteenth century architectural culture.
During this season Rough Point becomes An Authentic Newport Mansion in Winter, UnDecked Halls at Rough Point. The owners of the massive, multiple summer cottages came to Newport primarily during the warmer months of the year, not for the winter holiday season . They celebrated elsewhere and as a result Bellevue Avenue would be rather dark and quiet.The UnDecked tour will take you through the first floor of the grand house. It focuses on the winter holidays and caretaking traditions that took place at Rough Point even as Miss Duke was celebrating at her Honolulu estate.
The house was kept running and at the ready all year which required significant work. In the tour you will hear about the lives and chores of the servants responsible for all of that upkeep. After viewing formal parts of the house, guests will be invited into the staff dinning room (not normally open to the public). The room will be festively decorated for the season (circa 1970s) as it was when the winter caretakers were in residence. Refreshments and recipes will be available
UnDecked Halls tours will be held Saturdays, December 6, 13 20 and 27 from 10a.m. to 3p.m., offered every half hour.