Friday, December 27, 2013

Dispatch from Michele Cahill: Newport, An Apres Christmas Stroll

The chairs on the front porch of the hotel invite us to sit and remember the warmth of summer.

After a lovely Christmas feast with my family in Newport, we proceeded to the Viking Hotel on Bellevue Avenue for the night.  The evening air was chilly, but the hotel and it's staff was warm and welcoming.  The following morning, we took a walk through the city; not the sailing mecca as we know it, but a quieter more gentle place still decorated for Christmas, yet settled in for the winter.

Come with us on a leisurely, albeit a little wet, stroll through Newport.

The Viking Hotel opened to the public in 1926 and is an Historic Hotel of America.

A very professional and always smiling Cody greeted us at the front door.

A framed menu from 1944 invites us to enjoy a lobster dinner for $3.25!

The original (and very shiny) mailslot from 1926.

The gallery in the hotel is fascinating and inspiring.

The beautiful pineapple lamp says "welcome".

Charm is the only word that can describe shop windows such as this.

The colorful door says "Come in and explore".

We were soon graced with snow!

The cold, misty morning allowed us the sidewalks all to ourselves.

The cupola flanked by chimneys provides light and warmth and stands sentinel over the neighborhood.

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum calls to us as we peer in from the sidewalk.

A closer look reveals wonderful architectural detail.

The snow quickly turned to sleet making our path a bit slippery!

The Newport Art Museum is one of only 5% of American museums to be fully accredited by the American Association of Museums.

A window adorned with cedar beckons us to the beach.

Spring teases us behind the glass.

While Christmas ornaments remind us of the prior days celebration.

The stonewall is beautiful but labor intensive.

It appears that this is only half of a house.  Odd but beautiful at the same time.

The church door invites us into a fairy tale of sorts. President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier were married here in 1953. St. Mary's Parish is the oldest Parish in the Diocese of Providence.

The Newport Armory houses a museum which features an extensive collection of military uniforms from fifty different nations.

The wreath adorning the Francis Malbone House bedecks a blue ribbon declaring it a 1st place winner in the Christmas in Newport Holiday Decor Contest.

The wreaths gracing these windows look majestic against the mature brick building.

The street sign reminds us of where we are.

As we walked by the skating rink, we wished we had packed our ice skates!

A view of the bridge from the Newport Yachting Center.

The flag and the masts reflect on the winter day.

 A lone gull sits atop the chimney.

A street that had been bustling with shoppers less than forty-eight hours earlier.

The pineapple is a sign of hospitality.  I personally love the use of pine cones in this fabulous holiday display.

Boxwood is another popular plant used for decoration.

We literally stumbled upon this display of long forgotten street signs that were in a window at sidewalk level.

This architectural column is a splendid example of diverse Newport construction.

The gate to the Governor Arnold Burying Ground established in 1677.  Governor Arnold's many descendants include General Benedict Arnold, best known for his treason in the Revolutionary War.

 A grave marker marks Governor Arnold's place of rest.

The detail on an ancient Arnold gravestone.

The Atlantic House Hotel was built in 1844.  It housed the U.S. Naval Academy from 1861 - 1865 when it was moved to Newport to protect it from attack by the confederate forces at it's location in Annapolis, Maryland.

The design elements of the building are spectacular.

 The sign stands proud that announces the temporary home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Not only did this shop owner decorate the window, but also placed a Christmas tree for our enjoyment.

Now we know where broken dolls go...

We loved this window designer's use of marshmallows!
This colorful arrangement looks cheerful against the white porch railing.

The mantle of a gas light glows above the sidewalk.

Our walk concluded across the avenue from the hotel back at this wonderfully decked out address!


Bitsy said...

What a delightful post! Thank you for sharing your after Christmas walk with us. The quiet of a town after the busy holiday, especially in wet weather, brings with it a very peaceful feeling that is quite different from the quiet and peace of the country. This post and the accompanying photos captures that feeling so well.

Keith Baker said...

Thank you for the post. I had several stints of varying lengths in Newport during my Navy career and enjoyed them all. The Navy population there is primarily officers because of OCS, Surface Warfare Officers School, various other officers schools and of course the Naval War College. The officers' club there was among the best in the Navy (Sunday brunch was phenomenal), the yacht club and tennis were superb. I always enjoyed the town, strolling around Thames and being part of the community on my longer tours. The Black Pearl on Bannister's Wharf had the best clam chowder in the world. I'd love to get back there someday so thanks for the photo tour in the interim!

Parnassus said...

I was going to skim through this post, but found myself drawn into one picture after another. I especially like the close-up of the Redwood library; I had only seen photos taken from a distance.

Thanks for your tour, which captures so many facets of Newport.

Happy New Year, Jim

James said...

Too wonderful, thank you for this belated gift.

Flo said...

Beautiful, I especially liked all the door decorations. Shows that the old style d├ęcor never goes out of style.

scotmiss said...

Glorious! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Quaint New England villages such as this one, beautifully pictured here, to me ,there is a sense of deliberateness. It is pulled together by architecture and design. Now , in Florida where the population is projected to exceed New York state, the towns along the seaboard do not exuded a sense of longevity. Have they been rebuilt do to hurricane or slapped together to meet housing demands of a booming population ? Now there may be a counter revolution ( who eats at home any more) with WDW approaches to mega developments it takes a Villages to house the active retired golf playing shopaholic third wives or so it seems

JDS said...

Every time we go to Newport we discover something we had not seen, or tasted, before. Thank you for sharing your walking tour.

Anonymous said...

I want you to know how much I enjoyed your most recent post. I have never had the pleasure of visiting Newport in the winter, but I stay at the Viking ever summer.
Once again this demonstrates that the Daily Prep is not just devoted to photos of Muffie sharing every aspect of her life. She always provides a wonderful array of information for the reader's enjoyment.
Guess who.

Anonymous said...

Guess who? I am guessing Ole Ferd.

WRJ said...

I've heard of a half-Cape, but never a half-Georgian!

M.D. Johns/New Communications said...

Again, you captured the feel of the day perfectly in images and words. Thank you, Muffy, and Happy New Year!

I would love to know the backstory on the half-Georgian. I did a cursory Google search but found nothing. The grander mansions of Newport are not half as interesting as this truncated building.

Puns intended.

Cranky Yankee said...

For those readers looking for more information on Newport's buildings, I'll recommend:

'The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island: 1640-1915' by Antoinette Downing and Vincent Scully (1952)


'Newport Through Its Architecture' by James Yarnall (2005)

Anonymous said...

I knew someone years ago whose father owned, along with his fishing buddy, a dwelling on Plumb Island, a 1950’s version of a man-cave. There they would surf cast for stripers, exchange tall tales and indulge in the occasional cocktail, safe from intrusion by the opposite sex.

After an especially heated argument with his fishing pal, my friend’s father severed their relationship. To seal the deal, he sawed the building in half, moving his portion by barge to his property in Ipswich. I never got to see the remaining half, but I suspect it was a bit drafty.

Wonderful walk through Newport, Michele, with an enlightening nod to history. And the 1944 menu prices! No wonder my father considered $5000 a fortune in 1945, the amount he won in a poker game while returning from WWII on a troop ship.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12/28 @ 11:30, Na, no way, Ole Ferd would never comment under the cover of anonymity.

Nice post, by the way…

bmccloy said...

AHhh... but you missed the historic point. Come stroll now why we go on the holiday parade of houses!

Greenfield said...


Ferd or not-Ferd, the gentleman compares the sublime to the ridiculous . . . a heritage apple to Froot Loops! ;)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for showing us the Holiday side of Newport many of us never get to see. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!


M.D. Johns/New Communications said...

I meant to compliment Michele, your guest writer, for adding another dimension to the Daily Prep.

Mona Vernon said...

wonderful reminder of the lovely Viking Hotel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for sharing a lovely tour. I will
revisit this many times.

Laurie Ann said...

Thank you Michele for such a wonderful post! A friend and I had the pleasure of visiting Newport, and its beautiful flower show, a couple of years ago. We toured the magnificent mansions, the Tennis Museum, shopped on Thames Street and had chowder at the Black Pearl. All this was great, but the best part was walking around Newport on a very sleepy Sunday morning. We had the town to ourselves and I took many pictures of the lovely homes in the historic district.

The cherry on our sundae was an amazing breakfast. I'm not sure where we were, but it appeared to be a public dock offering supplies, showers and a small restaurant with outdoor dining. Sitting in the sun, looking out at boats of all sizes bobbing on the water was pure bliss. Oh, and the crab cakes Benedict were amazing!!!

In regards to Benedict Arnold, we refer to him as the Hero of Saratoga in our neck of the woods.

Happy New Year!

Nick said...

Thank you -- beautiful photos of a beautiful town.

Re Benedict Arnold's 'treason' -- c'mon now: he was one of those who was NOT committing treason at the time - depending on your vantage point(and on where you learnt your history!)

sarah said...

Wonderful post! My sister lives just down the road a way's from The Hotel Viking, and Newport at Christmas is a joy. Quite, and colonial, just the way I imagine my ancestors found it. I grew up spending time at our families home on Bevertail just over the bridge in Jamestown, but trips to Newport were always special to me. Thank you for your lovely pictures.

Chatham Ivy said...

Thank you for the tremendously beautiful PR for our town of Newport. We here at Chatham Ivy have a home across the street from The Viking Hotel on Old Beach Road. We have special memories there of summers spent sailing our Dad's Pearson and winter visits during Halloween and Christmas.You showcased the historic town so beautifully. Newport is one of the inspirations for our clothing and accessory line launching this year. Look for our "Entering Newport" shirts celebrating our love of Newport. You can discover us at Thanks Muffy and hope to see you at the NYYC having a G&T!