Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge – a Hidden Gem for Newport Visitors!

Sachuest PointRhode Island is home to five natural wildlife refuges including the “our own” at Sachuest Point just 5 miles from the Cliffside Inn.

With nearly three miles of trails, the Sachuest Point offers visitors the chance to experience several environments where one can view a variety of animals and plants in their natural habitat.

A walk through the nature preserve is the perfect activity for any nature lover or photographer.

From Military Defense to Wildlife Protection

During the 1600s, right up to the early 1900s Sachuest Point was used primarily for farming and sheep grazing.

During the Second World War, the United States Navy used the point as a rifle range and a communications center.

After the war, Sachuest Point was acquired by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and in the 1970s, the wildlife property was transferred back to the Federal Government and it became the Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge; a national wildlife park.

In 1984 the refuge was fully established to its current 242 acres of wildlife protection.

Bring Your Cameras and Binoculars

Ruddy TurnstoneWith more than 200 bird species to see, the refuge is the perfect place for any avid bird watcher. On the coastline alone, visitors are likely to see loons, elders, and gannets. The refuge is also home to other migrating birds, such as the peregrine falcon and even the snowy owl.

Before exploring the many sites throughout the refuge, be sure to stop in at the newly-renovated visitor center (open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm), and see the exhibits.

Popular Sites To See

  • Salt Marsh & The Sharp-tailed Sparrow: Sachuest Point includes 40 acres of marshlands and rocky shorelines along the perimeter of the refuge. Salt marsh is a natural habitat between the land and sea. It is defined mainly by salt marsh grasses and other plants that have adapted to root in the mud. The sharp-tailed sparrow makes its home in these marshlands, and visitors are likely to see this songbird during the spring and summer months.
  • New England Cottontail & Shrubland: The New England Cottontail is the only native cottontail species in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, their population has been declining due to a lack of safe natural habitats, and it is on the verge of becoming an endangered species. The refuge has been planting and creating natural habitats of native shrubs and brush piles in order to help preserve the endangered cottontail on its land.
  • Cobble Beach & Harlequin Duck: Cobble Beach is a great area to check out migrating birds and their nesting areas. The refuge offers great views of shorebirds in their natural habitats. Spectators will have the opportunity to see these shorebirds hunt for worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. Harlequin ducks can also be seen along the refuge’s coastline. Known for its vibrant clownlike plumage, this diving duck is rare to see along the Atlantic, but an impressive amount of Harlequins gather around off the shores of Sachuest Point.

Stay at the Cliffside Inn

Our inn offers a relaxing place to stay while visiting Newport and Sachuest Point. The refuge is a short ten minute ride from Cliffside along a breathtaking coastline.

Photo Credits: CC Images Courtesy of Dan Gray and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Celebrate Cliff Walk’s Re-Opening with Author Ed Morris

Super storm Sandy left a portion one of Newport’s biggest tourist attractions, the CDog Friendly Newport Lodgingliff Walk, impassable.

Considered to be one of the top visitor destinations in Newport, this 3.5 mile long National Trail is scheduled to officially re-open on June 13, 2014 after nearly 16 months and several million dollars of repairs.

Tour Cliff Walk with Ed Morris

In honor of the Cliff Walk’s re-opening, Cliffside Inn will be celebrating the long awaited event on June 13 with the noted author of “A Guide To Newport’s Cliff Walk,” Ed Morris, at the Inn located just above the walk; at Cliff and Seaview Avenue.

Participants will be invited to take a guided tour of the Cliff Walk led by Morris himself. Walkers will have the opportunity to learn the history and significance of this National Recreation Trail and the history of Newport’s Gilded Era from one of our local noted experts.

Winding along some of Newport’s famous gilded mansions — such as Rosecliff, The Breakers, and Marble House — this beautiful and historic walk offers some of the most breathtaking views in Rhode Island.

Once we have completed the walk, we will be hosting a reception at the Inn for participants along with a book signing with Ed Morris. Those who participate in the guided walk and book signing will also get a first hand look into future improvements proposed for Cliff Walk.

New and Future Improvements

Trail markers throughout Cliff Walk are a part of the many future improvements that have been discussed. The new trail markers would include a QR code that visitors can scan with their smartphones to read more about the historic attractions that they are viewing.

The city council has also approved the trail’s first permanent restroom facility, which will be placed near the Forty Steps staircase.

Join Us On June 13

Join us on June 13 to be a part of this long-awaitedc re-opening of one of Newport’s biggest attractions. Enjoy this opportunity to travel the walk with one of Cliff Walk’s most well known experts and learn the history of the Cliff Walk and Newport’s Gilded Era.

 

Christmas at the Newport Mansions

‘Tis the season for sparkling lights, the smell of fresh pine and stunning holiday decorations at the Newport Mansions.

Decked from floor to ceiling in holiday cheer, The Breakers, The Elms and The Marble House open their doors for Christmas tours November 23, 2013 through January 5, 2014.

Make sure you don’t miss The Breakers this year — the mansion is showcasing the work of five pastry chefs who have create models of the Newport Mansions out of gingerbread. The Breakers is also featuring over 28 Christmas trees twinkling throughout the mansion’s corridors as well as its iconic 15-foot red poinsettia tree.

Photo Credit: Terry Johnston (Creative Commons)Evenings at the Mansions

Make sure you stop by one of the Holiday Evening Events at the mansions. You can enjoy live holiday music and indulge in a holiday beverage as you take in the beautifully lit rooms reminiscent of Newport’s Gilded Age.  Scheduled performances include:

November 30 at The Breakers, Voices of Christmas Victorian Carolers

December 7 at The Breakers, Solstice Singers, Voices of Peace

December 14 at The Breakers, NE Tenors

December 21 at The Elms, Voices of Christmas Victorian Carolers

December 21 at Marble House, Barrington Presbyterian Church Music Program

December 28 at The Breakers, New Providence Big Band

And for a romantic celebration, enjoy a special Holiday Dinner Dance in The Breakers Great Hall on December 21st.

The Nutcracker Suite 

You can also enjoy the classic holiday tale, The Nutcracker, at Newport’s most adoring mansion, Rosecliff. Catch one of the 14 performances occurring November 29 through December 6.

Holiday Shopping in Newport

Last minute holiday shopping is always easy in Newport. You can shop at all of the specialty shops and galleries along the Newport waterfront while you enjoy all of the Christmas in Newport festivities, and maybe a cup of chowder and a warm fire when you stop for lunch.

Join Us This Holiday Season

Take a break and enjoy the warmth and spirit of this holiday season at the Cliffside Inn while taking part in Newport’s Christmas Celebration at the Newport Mansions.

 

Cliffside Inn — The Original Home of St. George’s School

Swann Villa 1901

Swann Villa in 1901*

Newport features a rich array of history at every turn, including right here at the Cliffside Inn – the original home to St. George’s School, one of New England’s most renowned private preparatory schools.

Founded in 1896 by the Rev. John Byron Diman, Mr. Diman’s School for Boys, which would become known as St. George’s School, opened its doors to a dozen young men in the fall of 1897 in the residence then known as Swann Villa. Swann Villa, today the Cliffside Inn, was built in 1876 as the summer home of Maryland’s then governor, Thomas Swann.

In his memoires, Mr. Diman reflects on some of the good points of the location that we now call the Cliffside Inn:

“The eastern piazza was exceptionally pleasant, and in front of it there was a wide lawn sweeping down to the cliffs. The boys used to coast over this lawn in winter, and it is one of the things for which have had most reason to be thankful that none of them was precipitated into the sea.”

Swann Villa - St Georges students [1898]

Students of St. George’s School assembling in front of Swann Villa in 1898*

The early “Swann Villa period” from 1897 – 1901, established strong roots for St. George’s School leading to the construction of a new, permanent campus on  “The Hilltop” overlooking Second Beach and Sachuest Point, just across the bay from Swann Villa. Today, guests at the Cliffside Inn look across Easton’s Bay to The Hilltop and the beautiful classic Gothic chapel at the center of the St. George’s campus.

From Schoolhouse to Luxury Accommodations

Today, St. George’s School attracts young students from around the world and hosts many events throughout the year for returning alumni. Parents of students attending St. George’s and alumni visiting The Hilltop for reunions and other school events are frequent guests of the Cliffside Inn because of our historic connections with, and proximity to, the school.

St. George's Suite at Cliffside Inn

St. George’s Suite at Cliffside Inn

The Cliffside Inn offers 16 lovely rooms and suites for visitors, including the St. George’s Suite, which is tastefully decorated in the regal red and black school colors. The suite features a separate sitting room with a library and gas fireplace with a view across Easton’s Bay to St. George’s Chapel.

While you’re staying in Newport, we recommend that you take some time to visit the beautiful Hilltop campus of St. Georges, and as well as some of the other nearby attractions for our guests who are “in the know” — Sachuest Point Nature Preserve, Purgatory Chasm, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, Hanging RockSweet Berry Farms and Greenvale Vineyards.

The Cliffside Inn is proud to share its roots with the founding of St. George’s School. Whether you are a history buff, the proud parent of a St. George’s student, or a returning student coming to visit The Hilltop, we offer deluxe accommodations steeped in the history and beauty of this City by the Sea.

* A special thank you to Valerie Simpson, archivist at St. George’s School, for providing the images of Swann Villa and St. George’s students from 1898.

The Newport Folk Festival; A Newport Summer Tradition

Newport Folk FestivalOne of the great Newport summer traditions takes place this weekend; July 26 – 28 - the 53rd Newport Folk Festival.  The Folk Festival was founded way back in 1959 and is held at the mouth of the Newport Harbor at Fort Adams State Park.  The Folk Festival will feature four stages, local food specialties, and crafts.

The Cliffside Inn offers a comfortable stay and is the perfect place to unwind after a day of music on the Newport waterfront.

The 2013 Lineup

Friday’s lineup includes an extraordinary list of new and classic folk musicians including: Fiest, The Old Crow Medicine Show, The Mountain Goats, John McCauley, Amanda Palmer, Blake Mills, The Milk Carton Kids, and several other great performers.

On Sat. July 27, folk-pop darlings The Avett Brothers will headline the festival along with Jason Isbell, Iris DementFather John Misty, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Sarah Jarosz, and many others.

On the final day of the festival, July 28, Beck will headline along with The Lumineers, Andrew Bird, The Felice Brothers, and Spirit Family Reunion, just to name a few.

Evening Events

There will also be various events happening around Newport each night after the festival. Dawes and Friends will play a benefit concert for the Newport Festival Foundation on both July 26 and 27.

Also playing right downtown, at The Newport Blues Café, the festival’s good friends, Deer Tick, will be doing their own three night run Friday-Sunday for the Newport Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

It’s time to book your stay at The Cliffside Inn to experience this historic weekend full of music and art. And don’t forget to pick up your tickets for the festival’s late night evening performances. We hope to see you this weekend!