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Newport City - By - The - Sea:  Reminders of the Great Gatsby
by

Professor Arnie Greenberg

Mansion along Bellevue Ave.                                 

It’s a remarkable place: the ultimate refreshment, filled with shops, beaches, culture, restaurants for all tastes, stately homes of the rich and not necessarily famous. It is a place to rest, to play or to learn. It’s the perfect Eden and its pristine beauty and combination of sea, land and sky must have blown the first settlers away.

I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in a mansion equipped with tennis court and swimming pool and while I spent many hours lolling around the property, I did discover the joys of Rhode Island living.

There was a worth while cliff walk around the outside of the Bellevue area. This is one of the “Fifty Places of a Lifetime”, according to National Geographic Traveler. Here a 3.5-mile walk took us past stately mansions on huge tracts of land with lawns flowing to the sea. They show themselves well and inviting in the early morning sun. During my stay it was a joy to walk along Bellevue Avenue with its tee-lined brick walkways and Colonial gaslights. There was a three-day car show with colorful old cars at The Breakers; Newport’s most palatial summer residence conjuring up memories of the past. Who expected a Louis XIII-style home in old Newport?  But the homes the Astor’s (Beechwood) with it’s 1920’s air or Chateau-sur-Mer, built for a China trade merchant were enough to make you shake your head.  Rosecliff, overlooking the Cliff Walk was modeled after the Grand Trianon of Versailles, France. There’s also The Elms, modeled after an 18th Century Chateau near Paris. Here they offer tours daily from 10-5Pm and seasonal lunches or a garden tour. Just the magnificent gated entrance is worth the stop.

But, while seeing these buildings from Bellevue Ave or the see one must leave time for other delights.

I walked around Newport’s International Hall of Fame & Museum opened in 1954. Open daily from 9:30, the museum, souvenir shop and grounds is a popular place to examine tennis memorabilia of past champions. The six-acre site offers well-groomed grass courts for rent and Victorian style shingled architecture and of course, The Hall of Fame. Pete Sampras and Aranxia Sanchez were added to the list of stars honored, such as Rod Laver, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Steffi Graf, Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors. Walking around the site, one feels tennis ghosts accompanying him.

For information call 491 849 3990 Admission is $9 for adults Reduced rates for seniors, children and families. It is located at 194 Bellevue Ave.

Hall of Fame

Newport is also a city where people have worshipped without fear or prejudice for years. George Washington gave assurance in 1790 that the new nation would protect religious freedom for all faiths. It is here that the Touro Synagogue has stood since its establishment in 1763. It is the oldest synagogue in the United States and the only one to survive from the colonial era. It is a simple brick building on the outside but inside there is a sense of history and solitude, a wonderful place to worship with an ancient deerskin Torah and five delicate chandeliers.

Here too you can arrange a tour. The synagogue faces east at 85 Touro Ave not far from the original Jewish cemetery. They offer a variety of special events and programs, including historical lectures. They can be reached at 401 847 4794 or by email at info@tourosynagogue.org

SYNAGOGUE Picture

The Trinity Church in Newport is three-tiered with a center aisle, and one can see pew 81 where Washington himself once worshipped.  Handel himself tested the organ before it was sent from England. Other visitors include Queen Elizabeth II of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1976. The building with its pointed spire shines bright white in the sun is surrounded by foliage and has Tiffany stained glass windows. It’s a gem.

Newport is an upscale town with art shops, antique dealers, shopping centers and restaurants too numerous to count. Fort Adams State Park is a perfect place to picnic, or other leisure activities.  The harbor welcomes sailors from around the world each summer. There is a great wealth of information in the city’s museums and libraries and there is a Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center offering a whole range of performances. Call 401 762 4545 for information.

We selected three restaurants that we enjoyed. Two were on Thames St. I particularly enjoyed the food at Scales and Shells but would have preferred to go upstairs where it was quieter. I too was surprised the second level restaurant was called Up Scale. (And I thought I overdid puns).

The other restaurant worth mentioning is an old favorite of many. Mamma Louisa is a family run Italian restaurant where fine food, hospitality and service is their motto.

Our third find was on the harbor. It was noisy and croudeed but we ate well and mixed with the “in” crowd. Look for the Black Pearl although you just have to follow the crowds. You can eat outdoors or indoors. You’re choice.

On the same side of Thames Street we happened on a vernisage for award winning “master photographer” Cheryl Richards. Cheryl has a true photographer’s eye. We walked around studying her work and she introduced herself. I told the charming young lady how talented she was, not that she needed to hear that from me. But her work with various types of cameras and her sense of space was truly the work of a craftsman. I now boast a Cheryl Richards framed in my living room. When in Newport call her at 401 847 5727 or go to www.cherylrichards.com.

Tattoo  Misty chair

We enjoyed the waterfront shops even with the crowds. The Tourist Office is a modern open building with good parking in the rear. There I picked up two publications worth mentioning, One is a magazine Official Travel Guide and the other is a Rhode Island Visitors guide.

Go to www.Gonewport.com and you’ll find all the information about Newport ad the State of Rhode Island. While you’re there, take the boat cruise to Providence. It’s the state capital and has some interesting sites. We returned at dusk in time to have cocktails at the edge of our private pool. What a way to live!

 

 

 

Write to me at Ultours@gmail.com.

Photos Courtesy  of Touro Synagogue Foundation

 #   #   #

You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at

Email:  Ultours1@gmail.com

Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to:  www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at ultours1@gmail.com.

(More about the writer.)

 
 

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