Christmas in Newport 2015: Our Top Event Picks

There’s no doubt December is a busy month in Newport! With all there is to do, we thought we provide a list of some of our favorite Christmas events. If you’re a guest at Cliffside Inn, feel free to ask for help planning your day around these fun events.

December 11th – Friday

Christmas in Song by the Newport Navy Choristers, 7:30 p.m., St. Lucy’s Church, 909 W. Main Rd., Middletown. Concert to benefit The Artillery Company of Newport. Admission $10 adults, children/seniors $5. http://www.newportnavychoristers.org/

St. George’s School Service of Lessons & Carols, 372 Purgatory Rd., Middletown, 7:30 p.m. The birth of Jesus is told by lesson and song. Congregational singing and carols by the school choir. Free. 847-7565. http://www.stgeorges.edu/

Annual Tree Lighting and Grand Opening of the Newport Skating Center, 5.m. America’s Cup Ave. Celebrate with good cheer, hot cocoa and cookies, carolers, and skating performances with the Island Skating Academy

Christmas Tree at Cliffside Inn

Our Christmas Tree at Cliffside Inn

December 12th – Saturday

UnDecked Halls: Behind the Scenes at Doris Duke’s Mansion in Winter, Rough Point, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., 680 Bellevue Ave. Experience the quiet house, see the decorated staff wing, and hear about Miss Duke’s tropical holiday. Learn how Rough Point’s winter caretaking traditions have remained the same for the past half century. Tour the first floor and enjoy refreshments in the staff dining room, not normally open to the public. Tours offered every ½ hour. Adults $10, children under 12 $8. 847-8344. http://www.newportrestoration.org

Artisan Craft Fair & Boutique Sale at Potter League for Animals, 10 a.m – 5 p.m. 87 Oliphant Ln. Middletown. 846-0592 X116. http://www.potterleague.org

Open House at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, 10-5 p.m. 194 Bellevue Ave. Donate a canned good for the local food bank and enjoy free admission to the museum. A great activity for the whole family. http://www.tennisfame.com

Discover Colonial Newport in Winter Walking Tour, 11 a.m., sponsored by The Newport Historical Society. Hear stories of religious diversity and entrepreneurship, and learn how Newporters made their way in winter during Newport’s colonial era. Departs from the Museum at the Brick Market, 127 Thames St. $15 adults, $10 for NHS Members and active duty military with ID, $5 children ages 5-12. Reservations required. Weather permitting. 841-8770.

Emmanuel Church Handbell Choir performs at Seaman’s Church Institute, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 18 Market Sq. Free. 847-4260.

December 18th – Friday

Holiday Lantern Tour, 4:30 p.m. Departing from the Brick Market Museum & Shop, 127 Thames St. See December 4th for details.

Annual Deblois Gallery Holiday Party, 5-7 p.m. 134 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown. 847-9977. http://www.debloisegallery.com/

Holiday Dance party at the Edward King House, 7 p.m., 35 King St. No partner or dance experience necessary. $25 in advance. 846-7426. http://www.edwardkinghouse.org/

December 19th – Saturday

UnDecked Halls: Behind the Scenes at Doris Duke’s Mansion in Winter, Rough Point, 10a.m. – 3 p.m., 680 Bellevue Ave. Experience the quiet house, see the decorated staff wing, and hear about Miss Duke’s tropical holiday. Learn how Rough Point’s winter caretaking traditions have remained the same for the past half century. Tour the first floor and enjoy refreshments in the staff dining room, not normally open to the public. Tours offered every ½ hour. Adults $10, children under 12 $8. 847-8344. http://www.newportrestoration.org/

Discover Colonial Newport in Winter Walking Tour, 11 a.m., sponsored by The Newport Historical Society.

Hoppy Holidays at Newport Storm Brewery, 12-6 p.m., 293 JT Connell Rd. Annual Christmas open house celebration with guided tours, entertainment and snacks. $10 admission. rmello@newportstorm.com

Holiday Lantern Tour, 4:30 p.m. Departing from the Brick Market Museum and Shop, 127 Thames St.

Holiday Evening Duet at The Elms and Marble House, 6-9 p.m. Enjoy two houses for the price of one during this evening open house event, with live music and refreshments. $35 in advance, $45 at the door, children 6-17 $10 in advance, $15 at the door 847-1000 or visit http://www.nnewportmansions.org

Return to Camelot at St. Mary’s Church, 7 p.m., Spring St. A special Christmas themed Return to Camelot program featuring Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy. Free of charge but donations welcome to St. Mary’s music program.

23rd Annual “Messiah and Carol Sing: The Christmas Story”, by Swanhurst Chorus, 7 p.m., Emmanuel Church, Spring & Dearborn Sts. Handel’s Messiah as well as beloved carols. Bring your own score and scores will be available for rent. A festive “Wassail Bowl” reception will follow. Admission $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, and $25 maximum per family. 401-682-1630 or http://www.Swanhurst.org/

December 26th – Saturday

45th Annual Christmas in Newport Candlelight Tour of Historic Private Homes, 4-7 p.m. Maps available at the Newport Visitor Information Center in mid-December. $3 per house, payable at the door of each house, different houses open each day of tour. 401-741-5920. No advance reservations are necessary. We are always looking for friendly people to assist with our house tours. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer docent for the Candlelight House Tours, please contact Nancy or Alice at historichousetour.volunteer@yahoo.com

Holiday Evenings at The Breakers, Dec 5, 12, 26. Live holiday music and refreshments. 6-8 p.m. Adults $35 in advance, $45 at the door, Children 6-17 yrs. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. 847-1000 for reservations. http://www.newportmansions.org

December 27th – Sunday

45th Annual Christmas in Newport Candlelight Tour of Historic Private Homes, 4-7 p.m. Maps available at the Newport Visitor Information Center in mid-December. $3 per house, payable at the door of each house, different houses open each day of tour. 401-741-5920. No advance reservations are necessary. We are always looking for friendlypeople to assist with our house tours. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer docent for the Candlelight House Tours, please contact Nancy or Alice at historichousetour.volunteer@yahoo.com

Road to Independence History Walking Tour: 11 a.m. departs from the Museum at the Brick Market at 127 Thames St., The Newport Historical Society. Riots and rebellions, enemies and allies. Learn about Newport’s role in the American Revolution. $15 adults, $10 NHS members and active duty military with ID. $5 children ages 5-12. Reservations required, 841-8770. Tickets can be purchased at tour departure point. Weather permitting.

December 28th – Monday

45th Annual Christmas in Newport Candlelight Tour of Historic Private Homes, 4-7 p.m. Maps available at the Newport Visitor Information Center in mid-December. $3 per house, payable at the door of each house, different houses open each day of tour. 401-741-5920. No advance reservations are necessary. We are always looking for friendlypeople to assist with our house tours. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer docent for the Candlelight House Tours, please contact Nancy or Alice at historichousetour.volunteer@yahoo.com

Rogues & Scoundrels History Walking Tour, 11 a.m., departs from the Museum at the Brick Market at 127 Thames St., Newport Historical Society. See where scoundrels lived, pirates profited and criminals were punished. Find out why this colony was known as “Rogue’s Island.” Reservations required, 841-8770. $15 per person, $10 for NHS members and active duty military with ID, $5 children ages 5-12. Tickets can be purchased at the tour departure point. Weather permitting.

Herreshoff Marine Museum & America’s Cup Hall of Fame

Newport_SunsetIf you’re a sailing enthusiast or just enjoy maritime history, you’ll want to check out the Herreshoff Marine Museum during your stay at the Cliffside Inn.

The museum was founded in 1971 by Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff and Rebecca Chase Herreshoff to preserve the unique boat and sailing accomplishments of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.

Located on Narragansett Bay, in Bristol, Rhode Island, this maritime treasure features an impressive collection of sailing yachts, including Rhode Island’s oldest private yacht, SPRITE.

Extending from the Herreshoff Museum is the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors the individuals who’ve made outstanding contributions to this most famouse competition.

Visiting the Museum and the Hall of Fame

The museum is open from late April until mid – December.  Visitors are welcome to take a tour between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, $8 for military, $5 for students (10 years and up), and no charge for children under the age of 10. If you’re visiting in groups with 10 or more people, you can receive a 20 percent discount.

The Herreshoff Museum hosts some fabulous events and lecture series throughout the year…keep in touch with what’s happening by checking out the museum’s website.

The museum is only a 25 minute drive from Cliffside Inn in Newport. If you’re planning to visit by boat, dockage and moorage is available at the Museum’s waterfront in Bristol. It’s recommended to call ahead of time to make a reservation as spots tend to fill up quickly.

 

Visiting Rose Island Lighthouse

Rose Island LighthouseOur last post revealed some of the best spots to watch sunsets in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the top places listed was the famous Rose Island Lighthouse located right in Narragansett Bay, along the span of the Newport Bridge.

The historic working lighthouse, built in 1869, sits on an 18-acre island off of the Newport coast, and is easily accessible via the Newport-Jamestown Ferry.  Guests may also visit Rose Island by their own boat if they choose.

Guests can enjoy the grounds around the lighthouse itself, walk the beaches below, and tour the historic lighthouse. From July to Labor Day, the lighthouse museum is open to the public between the hours of 10:00am-4:00pm. Visitors are welcome to bring their own refreshments and enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic tables.

Rose Island and the Lighthouse History

Rose Island has had an important history on Narragansett Bay due to its strategic location at the entrance to the Newport Harbor.  At the time of the American Revolution, both colonial and British troops occupied the island, at different times, to defend Newport.  During the First and Second World Wars, Rose Island was occupied by the US Navy and was used to store torpedoes, manufactured at the Newport torpedo factory on nearby Goat Island, safely away from the mainland.

The wood-framed Rose Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1869 atop the remains of the 18th century Fort Hamilton’s south gun battery, and was activated in January, 1870. Because of its proximity to Newport, Rose Island was more accessible than many other lighthouse stations of its time. Lighthouse keepers on duty there, still had to deal with extreme weather, creative provisioning, and isolation at times.

When the Newport Bridge opened in 1969, the Rose Island Lighthouse became obsolete and in 1971 Rose Island was deactivated. For a period of time during the 1970’s the lighthouse and Rose Island were under the stewardship of the University of Rhode Island and used for marine research.  Ultimately, however, the school was unable to maintain the facilities, and the badly vandalized lighthouse was returned to the federal government. In 1984, when the lighthouse was declared surplus property, the city of Newport took it over.

After several failed attempts by private investors to develop Rose Island as an island resort during the 1980’s, a local group was formed to protect and preserve the lighthouse and the history of Rose Island.  The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, with support from both public and private funding, completely restored the lighthouse and in 1992 the lighthouse was opened to the public. In 1993 the landmark lighthouse was finally relit, becoming one of the only few operating lighthouses maintained solely by dedicated and passionate volunteers.

Lighthouse Tours

Throughout the summer season, guests are welcome to take a guided tour throughout the lighthouse grounds. The lighthouse museum allows guests to step into each fully restored room that looks and feels as if the keepers still live there.

Admission for the lighthouse tour is $5 for adults and $4 for children ages of 6-12 and seniors 65 and older. Admission is free for Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation members or children under the age of five.

If you’re looking to visit the lighthouse between September and June feel free to contact the lighthouse’s office to set up the appropriate arrangements.

The lighthouse does offer educational programs, overnight or weekend stays, and group tours for those interested.

Traveling to the Lighthouse

The best way to travel to the Rose Island Lighthouse is by the Newport-Jamestown Ferry. For a list of the ferry schedules see the Newport-Jamestown Ferry schedule to the Rose Island Lighthouse. *Tip: If you travel by ferry, you’ll receive a $1 discount upon arrival!

If you own your own boat you’re welcome to tie up at the dock. If you have a small sailing craft, canoes, or kayaks you can land on the beaches near the lighthouse.

Pack Your Bags

It would be a pleasure for us to have you stay at our Inn when visiting the historic and romantic Rose Island Lighthouse. The Cliffside Inn is located only a mile from the Newport-Jamestown Ferry stop.

Make sure to book your stay before the summer ends! We look forward to having you stay with us on your journey to the Rose Island Lighthouse.

Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of Barbara Eckstein

Purgatory Chasm — Another of Newport’s Hidden Treasures

newport rhode island purgatory chasmAre you looking for something new to do while visiting Newport…something that is off the beaten path? Summer is the perfect time of year to take a hike around Purgatory Chasm in neighboring Middletown.

The chasm was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers, and has been slowly eroded by seawater ever since. Today the chasm is about 10’ wide at the top, 120’ long, and over 50’ deep.

Upon arriving at the park’s entrance, you’ll take a short, 100 yard walk to the chasm area. And once you’re there, you can enjoy the beautiful view from the cliff overlooking Second Beach, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and Sachuest Bay or walk to the small pedestrian bridge, allowing you a view straight down into the center of the chasm.

Purgatory Chasm Folklore

One of the legends about Purgatory Chasm describes a beautiful but giddy young woman, heiress to a large estate, who had for some time received special attention from a young man, in all respects her equal, and whose affection, notwithstanding her actions to the contrary, she warmly reciprocated in her heart. But her passion for mischief was so strong, that she could never resist the temptation to torment her admirer.

One day, as they stood together on the brink of Purgatory Chasm, and he was pleading, with impassioned eloquence, for some pledge or token of love from her, she said, “I will be your wife if you will show the earnestness of your devotion to me, and your readiness to obey all my wishes, by leaping across this abyss.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the young man sprang to the other side of the rock, and then, politely lifting his hat, he complimented her beauty, told her candidly what he thought of her character, bade her final adieu, and she saw his face no more. After this, as the tale goes, she went mourning for the rest of her life.

How to Get There From the Cliffside Inn

Purgatory Chasm is only a five minute drive from the inn. For those looking for a nice walk, you can opt to begin your hike right from the inn and arrive at the chasm in about 35 minutes on the two mile walk.

Whether you’re driving or walking just follow these simple directions:

  1. Head West on Seaview Ave. toward Cliff Ave.
  2. Turn right onto Cliff Ave.
  3. Turn right onto Memorial Blvd
  4. Slight right onto Purgatory Rd
  5. Turn right onto Tuckerman Ave.

For more detailed directions on how to get to Purgatory Chasm from the inn, check out the directions provided by Google Maps or ask the innkeeper.

Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of Paul Irish

Melt Your Winter Blues at the Newport Winter Festival 2014

It’s that time of year again for the annual Newport Winter Festival here in Newport, Rhode Island! Beginning February 14th, this 10-day winter festival is sure to heat up your winter spirits.

Make this winter one to remember by enjoying any of the 150 events happening in the romantic city of Newport.

As always, a portion of the festival’s proceeds will go to local charities and nonprofit organizations as well as local business and community programs.

Highlighted events will include the Children’s Fair, Chili and Chicken Wing Cook-offs and a concert by the cast of BeatleMania.

With events starting as early as 9:30am, you’re sure to find something to do. Here’s a list of some of the featured events happening during the 10-day festival:

February 14 — Start off with a Pillow Fight on the back lawn of The Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel and Spa, and then top the night off with a cold one at the Polar Pineapples ice infused bar.

February 15 — Head on over to the Newport Harbor Hotel to heat things up a bit with the 19th Annual Samuel Adams Chili Cook-off starting at 11:30am.

February 16 & 17 — Enjoy a refreshing cocktail and imagine it’s summer at any of the following events: Absolut Bloody Mary Competition, Newport Vineyeard WINE-ter-Fest or the Tropical Drink Contest. For the athletic types, you can check out the Beach Polo Series happening on Easton’s Beach at 2:00pm.

February 21 — Laugh away the winter cold at the Hyatt Regency, Goat Island with two nighttime comedy performances. Starting at 6:30pm, check out comedian and famous juggler, Bryson Lang’s comedy and juggling act. And then you can end the night with the Funny Girls Comedy Show featuring comedians Kerri Louise and Stacy Kendro.

February 22 — Eat to your heart’s content at the 4th Annual Chicken Wing Cook-off happening at the Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel beginning at 11:30am. Relive the revolution with the cast of Beatlemania at 9:00pm at the Hyatt Regency. Gather around and sing 29 renditions of the songs that will forever warm our hearts.

February 23 — If you’re daring enough, bid adieu to the festival by taking the Polar Bear Plunge into the frosty Atlantic Ocean with The Newport Polar Club at 12:00pm.

With over 150 events this year, the 26th Annual Newport Winter Festival is sure to be full of food, fun and music for all. Come stay with us here at The Cliffside Inn and enjoy one of Newport’s most loved winter festivals.