Irish Eyes are Waiting

Last year, many of us soothed our disappointment over St. Paddy’s related cancellations with what we now know was an erroneous thought: Well, there is always next year.

So, it’s deja vu all over again. And while the City of Pawtucket went ahead with their parade in 2020 and Newport officials engaged in a much-publicized back-and-forth over whether to hold their famous event, eventually deciding to cancel it, this year it’s certain there will be no marching through the streets in March in either city (the Newport City Council is eyeing a September date).

But all is not lost. With some barroom restrictions likely to remain in place come St. Patrick’s Day, we can be certain Rhode Island denizens will be searching for whiskies and pints wherever socially distanced seating is available. 

And according to the President of the Museum of Newport Irish History, Michael Slein, though the traditional revelry will have to wait a while longer, people can still take the opportunity to learn about the reasons for the annual celebration in the first place. Rhode Island has the fifth largest population of Irish ancestry in the country, after all. 

“I tell people [to visit places] that are characteristic of Irish culture and history,” he said. “One of them is [the Cliff Walk’s] Forty Steps, where all of the mansion workers went on their one night off of work from the mansions to dance and to court and sing songs.”

Another Newport site recommended by Slein is the Barney Street Cemetery (officially known as St. Joseph’s Cemetery), situated behind the Touro St. Synagogue. “That was the first Irish Catholic parish in all of Rhode Island,” he said. “It’s a beautiful little park and an enjoyable spot to walk to when you’re in town.”

But for those determined to eke out as much of the stout, meat and potato tradition as possible, he reminded everyone that the state’s plethora of Irish pubs could use all the help they can get.

“There are so many good restaurants that need to be supported,” he said. 




Get Out!: Free, fun and socially distanced things to do

The weather is changing, and we’re sick of being quarantined, of being inside, and we want something to do. Right? Well, here are a few socially distanced and unique activities to add to your spring bucket list.

Are you even a Rhode Islander if you haven’t paid a visit to Mercy Brown’s grave? A famous “vampire” who has been featured on notable podcasts such as “Lore,” Mercy died young of tuberculosis after her mother’s and sister’s death of the same disease. When Mercy’s brother turned ill, townspeople and the town physician exhumed the family members’ bodies to test the theory that the dead were feeding on the living boy. Skeletons were in the graves of Mercy’s mother and sister, but Mercy’s 9-week-old corpse was undecayed. So, the logical conclusion was that she was a vampire. They burned her heart and liver, mixed the ashes with water and had her brother drink it to cure him of his own tuberculosis, but yep — he still died. This is a weird local piece of lore, and I highly suggest paying her grave a visit. She’s located in a quaint cemetery in Exeter at 467 Ten Rod Road that belongs to the small church on its grounds. Be respectful during your visit – there are many family plots here. (Also, I’m looking to start a band called ‘Rhode Island Vampire Panic,’ – I play no instruments, can’t sing, and cannot read music. Hit me up.)

And, speaking of famous Rhode Island residents, if you haven’t been to Lovecraft’s grave, it’s in Swan Point Cemetery off of Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. Fun fact? The headstone that currently marks his grave was not there when he died — fans raised funds in the 1970s to purchase it. And whether your pilgrimage is for history or fandom, please remember that Lovecraft was increasingly problematic and though we tend to claim his as our own, he’s got a deep-seated history of racism and misogyny. 

Let’s step away from cemeteries and into the movies. Moonrise Kingdom, one of Wes Anderson’s best films, was shot throughout the state. Although many of the film locations are private (eg, Suzy’s house, the church where she and Sam are married) a few are public. First are two beaches that were used for the film, both located at Fort Wetherill State Park (3 Fort Wetherill Road) in Jamestown. One of the beaches appears in the scene where they run away from their parents and pitch their tent for the night, the other is where “Moonrise Kingdom” is written into the sand in the film. The other public space you can visit is the Point Judith Lighthouse, which is used for multiple shots throughout the film. I recommend getting takeout from one of the clam shacks nearby and eating it in your car in the lighthouse’s parking lot. Maybe ponder some of the themes of the film? I mean, what is love, really? Seems the perfect convo for clam cakes and lighthouses. 

One of my favorite random Rhode Island facts is that in the year 2000, Hasbro decided to celebrate Mr. Potato Head being from Rhode Island by installing 37 life-sized (maybe a bit bigger) and themed Potato Heads around the state. No one knows what happened to all of them, but 21 years later, you can still find a few around the state. The easiest one to get to is in the parking lot of Hasbro’s headquarters (he’s currently wearing a mask, so no risk of Mr. Potato head COVID-infections). I’ve seen the Fourth of July potato appear in Bristol.  I’ve also seen one in Warren at the Dunkin Donuts located at 670 Metacom Avenue. There are a few others rumored to be out there, such as a Betty the Elephant (who I just learned about!), Ms. Potato Head in Chepachet and a glamorous mosaic-esque potato at the Westerly airport. There are said to be fewer than 10 hanging around after 21 years, and they’re not always out – so take this one as a big challenge. How many can you find? What condition are they in? And remember: Don’t trespass just to high-five the spud.

One of my absolute favorite stops is The Newport Tower, which is in a grass field near the art museum in downtown Newport. No one knows with certainty the history of the tower. In fact, I’d argue this is one of the most controversial buildings in all of Rhode Island. Carbon dating shows the structure was built between 1635 and 1698, and there is speculation throughout Rhode Island about what this tower is about (it was built by pirates, it was built by the templars, it was built by aliens … okay, I haven’t heard that last one but let’s start a rumor). It’s fascinating and a truly beautiful structure to behold. Think of it as Rhode Island’s Stonehenge. Next to the tower is the Newport Tower Museum, where you can find a gentlemen who has a theory on what the tower is, and it’s fascinating. 

And last, but not least, head to Providence to find public art that you may not have noticed or known about. I recently was walking through downtown and stopped to really look at the Gun Totem in front of the Federal Courthouse. This 3,500-pound statue was made from more than 1,000 reclaimed guns by artist Boris Bally, and I’ll bet you’ve seen it, but never really looked at it. 

Please note that a few of the things on this list welcome the public, but are still on private property, so be smart here, and don’t be a jerk and trespass. 




Moving Images: Newport Art Museum selection highlights the plight of domestic abuse survivors

The Newport Art Museum has added a collection of works by world-renowned documentary photographer and activist Donna Ferrato, and will be displaying a curated selection in the Howard Gardiner Cushing Gallery that documents the plight of domestic abuse survivors. 

Donna Ferrato: Selections from Living with the Enemy will run from Feb. 6 to June 6. The exhibition includes defiant, vulnerable portraits of various subjects who wear on their faces the psychological trauma (and physical scars) of the violence they have experienced. Other photographs illuminate the perilous world navigated by battered women, such as the image of a man being led out of a kitchen in handcuffs while a crying woman and child look on, to a close-up of Becca Jean Hughes — standing behind the bars of a jail cell — who spent decades in a Missouri maximum security prison for shooting her husband while he strangled her. 

The judge in Hughes’s case disallowed the introduction of her abuser’s violent history as evidence. 

The exhibition is being arranged by Newport Art Museum senior curator Dr. Francine Weiss and curatorial assistant Megan Horn. The museum was given a broader collection of Ferrato’s work in 2020. Weiss said the exhibition’s timing is no accident. With the rise in every form of abuse since the onset of the pandemic, it’s important to use art to tell these stories, she said. Opening 2021 with selections from a newly expanded permanent collection was one way to accomplish this.

“I’ve [always] liked the idea of doing an exhibition of collection works to show visitors what we have in the museum’s permanent collection that’s not always on display,” said Weiss. “But the idea to show these photographs at this time had to do with current events and the rise in domestic partner violence during COVID.”

Working as a photojournalist on assignment in New York, a chance encounter in 1982 led to Ferrato’s foray into using photography to document domestic abuse. She witnessed a physical assault in New Jersey of a young woman by her husband. The incident resulted in the first photo in what would become a decade-long project culminating in her 1991 published collection Living with the Enemy. Ferrato spent the bulk of the 1980s traveling the country, even staying in women’s shelters and accompanying calls with law enforcement, documenting in hyper-realistic detail what she saw. 

Ferrato is a tireless advocate for domestic abuse survivors. She founded the nonprofit Domestic Abuse Survivors Inc. and served as the organization’s president. With awards and accolades too numerous to mention, Ferrato’s work has been featured in more than 500 solo exhibitions. She launched the I am Unbeatable campaign in 2014, a multimedia archive meant to raise public awareness.

“For her, photography and activism go hand-in-hand. The photographs are linked to the reason she made them. She has the intention of promoting awareness of domestic partner violence and violence against women and children,” said Weiss. “Ferrato caught pivotal moments. She has a real gift for creating striking compositions.”

Ferrato’s earlier works display the freewheeling liberation brought on by the sexual revolution, exploring erotic subject matter deemed taboo in mainstream society. However, a darker side emerged. In her second book, Love and Lust, Ferrato wrote about her aesthetic transition: “I was now driven to reveal the unspeakable things that were happening behind closed doors.”

“It was intended to make people aware and even to bring about changes in the legal system. Living with the Enemy was groundbreaking in this regard,” said Weiss. “It didn’t pull any punches…. It was at a time when abused women who killed their abusers to protect themselves could not use ‘self-defense’ as a defense.”

Weiss hopes the viewership of their latest exhibition transcends the museum’s usual crowd. They are now in the process of planning a panel discussion, shooting for a date sometime in March, in partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

“She has already reached beyond standard museumgoers with her own work,” she said. “The intention was to show that abuse exists and its impact. Documenting the physical injuries, the presence of children in violent homes, even the deaths confronted people with a harsh and undeniable reality.”




Open/Closed

SAY HELLO

Notes Coffee Company: 508 Armistice Blvd, Pawtucket. They held their grand opening on July 17, this java shop is dedicated to melding music with a cafe scene.

Industrious Spirits Company: 1 Sims Ave, #103 PVD. iscospirits.com. Providence’s first distillery since the days of Prohibition. They specialize in gin and vodka, with bourbon currently aging. 

Wayfinder Hotel: 151 Admiral Kalbfus Rd, Newport. Formerly the Mainstay Hotel, this North End Newport hotel went under a $16 million renovation, with brand new walls, floors and ceilings. It has the largest hotel room of any establishment in Newport, and they are currently in the process of installing a fitness center (which is quite a workout). More than 1,000 pieces of local Rhode Island art have found their way there.

Open Air Saturdays: Every Saturday in August, Westminster Street in PVD will be closed to cars, so patrons can enjoy social distance shopping. Local businesses are hoping it will draw customers back to the downtown area. Who likes driving down Westminster Street anyway?

Crepe Corner: 1577 Westminster St, PVD. This breakfast/ Belgian eatery opened a new storefront in PVD on Westminster St.

Durk’s BBQ: Closing their Thayer Street location, this southern fried inspired eatery will be reopening sometime this month on Aborn Street.

WAVE GOODBYE

Loie Fuller: This art-deco styled restaurant was a jewel in PVD’s Armory District for over a decade. It closed July 29, with no plans to reopen.

Duck and Bunny: Under renovations since 2019, owners have announced it will not be reopening before 2021. Their satellite bakery in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village, the Cafe and Sweetery, recently closed.

Greenville Inn: Owner-operators Diane and Jim Belknap ran this Greenville eatery for more than 23 years. While they thought of reopening for takeout, they enjoyed the time off at home and have officially retired. 

Knead Donuts: The Custom Street, downtown PVD location closed. Knead still has two other locations in Providence, and a new location in East Greenwich.

Luxe Burger Bar: When the weekday lunch crowd dried up, the fat lady sang for this Providence burger place.

Red Fin Crudo: This Washington Street eatery announced just last month they would be closing permanently due to the pandemic. Fin.

Public Art Gallery: Sadly even the biggest community boosters among us are facing a pinch. Public has been closed for five months, and due to a revenue shortfall, it will be vacating its current space when the lease ends this month. They’re planning to reopen in a new location in 2021. Anyone interested in donating to them to help with costs go can to: publicshopandgallery.com

Brickley’s in Wakefield has announced it’s temporarily closing. The decision comes as numerous beach businesses in Rhode Island face rude and unsavory customers who are upset by new COVID regulations.

Mulligan’s Island has been for sale for a while, and it may have a buyer. Developers from Massachusetts are seeking a mixed use planned district for the area, envisioning putting in a CostCo and other smaller scale commercial retail and restaurants. 

Pier 1 is the latest national retail big box chain to close. It had only two locations, one in Westerly and one in Warwick, but its closure shows it’s not just local business feeling the fallout from a pandemic.




Reading Across Rhode Island: A conversation with Kate Lentz of the Rhode Island Center for the Book

Photo credit: Rhode Island Center for the Book

Around the world, shared-reading programs bring communities together to experience a single work of literature. Canada’s public broadcaster sponsors a nationwide Canada Reads campaign. In Dublin, Ireland, One City, One Book welcomes readers into a narrative tied to the city. As Ocean State residents begin a new year by collectively opening Rising: Dispatches from a New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush, Motif’s Sean Carlson interviewed Kate Lentz, executive director of the Rhode Island Center for the Book, about the nonprofit organization and its 2020 Reading Across Rhode Island selection.

Sean Carlson (Motif): Now in its 18th year, how did this Rhode Island-wide reading initiative begin?

Kate Lentz: We created Reading Across Rhode Island in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, when fear, loathing and misunderstanding were palpable in our communities. Librarians, readers and educators committed to civic engagement as a way to create greater understanding across differences came together to select an inspiring book and to engage in a statewide dialogue. Through the power of stories, we designed the program with the intention of sparking discussion, creating spaces for sharing multiple perspectives and promoting new understandings of ourselves, our neighbors and the critical challenges that we face as a community. It was a positive step forward in the aftermath of such a tragedy, and it continues to be a powerful model to promote the common good. 

SC: What’s your process for managing partnerships and raising awareness about the 2020 program? 

KL: Rhode Island Center for the Book distributes thousands of books to libraries, schools and senior centers across the state. Our January kick-off event at the Save the Bay Center in Providence aimed to showcase resources and available programs for teachers, librarians and book-discussion leaders, to help infuse their conversations with scholarship and context. These enrichment materials include a resource guide, developed by our committee, and a curriculum guide, created by RI high school teachers. A collective of artists and educators called Living Literature will bring the subject matter to life through performance, amplifying the themes of Rising by organizing a theater adaptation and facilitating talk-back discussions for intergenerational audiences. These efforts are designed to promote discussion at libraries, bookstores, community centers, senior centers and businesses across the state and to inspire our community partners to develop their own programs and enrichments related to the book’s themes. 

SC: Although a local connection isn’t required, have you taken proximity into consideration?

KL: Our 2017 selection, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, reinforced for us the importance of proximity in achieving social change. Stevenson showed how we cannot isolate ourselves, that to create change in the world we each need to get closer to other people on the margins of society. We’ve tried to stay proximate since then, viewing each of our selections as a catalyst to talk about racism, environmental justice, democracy, immigration, identity and more. There’s something so powerful about how books propel critically important conversations and raise consciousness. Literature can take us places it’s often difficult to go.

SC: What kind of meaningful and measurable impact have you seen following previous picks?

KL: I believe the 2017 program featuring Just Mercy helped move the needle on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Rhode Island [ed. note: criminal-justice reform legislation signed into law by Gov. Raimondo in October 2017]. The following year, I received one of my favorite emails from a Providence teacher, describing her students’ enthusiasm for our pick, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: “I cannot believe how interested and involved the students are. They’re begging to take the books home and some are actually hiding them and sneaking them out of the school!” Last year, the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management started agency book groups and brought Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to speak to an inspired crowd about her memoir What the Eyes Don’t See detailing the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It was meaningful that the event was sponsored by the two administrative branches of our state government most closely aligned with the themes the book explores. And the Childhood Lead Action Project in Providence further connected with our local communities, helping to educate audiences about childhood lead poisoning and environmental injustice here in Rhode Island. 

SC: Elizabeth Rush’s Rising examines the significance of rising sea levels with scientific research woven into deeply personal stories. What do you hope to see with this year’s selection?

KL: We’re really lucky to have a local author who has gifted us such lyrical prose, while including our state’s landscape in the narrative. Rising is a fascinating book, and it can move the needle on Rhode Islanders’ awareness of the climate crisis. Rather than be overwhelmed by the ominous prospects we face, we’ll be partnering with groups and focusing on presentations from folks pursuing positive action to give people a sense of the movement afoot that’s working to address this issue.

SC: And what kind of response have you heard thus far? 

KL: Before we even kicked off the 2020 program, we already had requests for books from more than 40 schools, libraries and senior centers. I don’t think we’ll be able to meet the demand. There is so much happening across our state, and it has been overwhelming in the best way possible to connect with all of the people and organizations who want to be involved.

As part of the 2020 Reading Across Rhode Island program, Elizabeth Rush will participate in events on Thu, Mar 12 at 6pm at Barrington Public Library and on Thu, Apr 2 at 1:30pm at the University of Rhode Island (South Kingstown) and at 6:30pm at Salve Regina University (Newport). Living Literature performances of Rising will take place across the state, and other events are planned. For more information, go to ribook.org/rari




Free and Oh So Fun: An endless Rhody summer

After surviving the truly menacing phenomenon that is the bomb cyclone and enduring chilly 40-degree weather in May (?!), we deserve some summer fun. And there’s hardly a better way to celebrate the best season than with free events. Sunscreen? $8. Del’s? $4. An out of this-world-summer? Priceless. Art lovers can attend the RISD Museum for free on Sundays and every third Thursday; the zoo is free on first Saturdays; and the library is, of course, easy on the wallet. And almost everyone knows about WaterFire. But if you’re looking for more summer-specific (and free) happenings, check out our roundup.

Movies

Sure, seeing a film in a theater is cool. But have you ever seen a movie outside while being caressed by summer air? According to their Facebook page, PVD’s Movies on the Block will be returning this year, but they have found a new home, with a kick-off screening date TBD. With films like The Big Lebowski and Dr. Strangelove, Movies on the Block has an array of movie tastes covered. If you’re not feeling like a film in the city, you could always check out Mount Hope Farm’s “Flicks in the Field” in picturesque Bristol. Screenings will be June 15, July 20 and August 17.

Music

Beer meets free tunes. Starting on July 12, the Burnside Music Series and Trinity Beer Garden returns. Grab some friends and catch the local stylings of DJ Justin Case every Thursday at 4:30pm for some live outdoor music. Bands like Boo City, Death Vessel and What Cheer? Brigade will all make an appearance. If you’re feeling fancy, the Rooftop at the Providence G will play music throughout the week, from reggae to rock. Westerly Town Beach’s signature free concert series is Tunes on the Dunes. Go for the lineup that features local blues and “Monday Night Jamz” from bands such as The Blues Beatles.

Beach

RI has some of the best beaches in the country — dare I say the world. Beach loyalists have their favorites — Narragansett? Second Beach? Misquamicut, anyone? — but whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. You can swim, you can kayak, you can even surf. Beaches are magical.

Hiking

RI might not offer high peaks to scale, but we definitely have gorgeous scenery to explore by foot. The Mohegan Bluffs in Block Island offer particularly dramatic and stunning views. Sachuest Point in Middletown is striking for its views of the ocean and general solitude. The Cliff Walk nearby is touristy, but it’s popular for a reason! The views are truly unparalleled. The lush Narragansett Trail will take hikers across state lines — from Connecticut to our very own Hopkinton.

Awful Awful Mondays might not be free, but exploring beautiful RI is. With options like beach days to free music, hiking to art museums, Little Rhody packs a big punch.




Dancin’ on the Dock of the Bay: The Tipsy Seagull offers a bar experience like no other

 

The Tipsy Seagull is a seasonal floating outdoor bar located at the mouth of Narragansett Bay at Borden Light Marina, easily accessible from RI via RT195W. Whether you come by car or boat, you can enjoy the feel of the Florida Keys, dancing under palm trees and soaking up some rays. It’s not just for the daytime, though!Dan_Valcourt_

Musical entertainment can be enjoyed seven days a week from June through September. Vikki Regine, who is the keyboardist/vocalist for local rock band The New Nasty, enjoys performing here. “Love the Tipsy! Part of the charm is that it’s small, so we all kind of get to know each other by the end of the night.” She adds, “A lot of people just dock their boats next to it for the night and have their own party.”

This place is hopping, so be prepared to feel like a sardine among the other fishes, but if you’re lucky you might snag one of the dozen or so swings up for grabs at the bar on the upper deck. If you’re dancing below, or watching the water action from above at the railings, seating is a non-issue.

The Tipsy Seagull is open for lunch or dinner with a limited pub-style menu. If you wish for a more sophisticated pub menu, just a short distance up the road is their sister establishment, The Tipsy Toboggan Fireside Pub, which offers a quieter indoor or outdoor experience and an amazing goat cheese pizza.

There is a free public parking lot nearby and on-street parking is available. Attire is casual, but there is a strictly enforced dress code. For more information and events listings, go to thetipsyseagull.com

 

 




Salve Regina French Film Festival Returns

The 14th annual French Film Festival at Salve Regina University screens six films Sunday, Mar 17, to Friday, Mar 29, all open to the public.

L'Atelier ("The Workshop"), dir. Laurent Cantet
L’Atelier (“The Workshop”), dir. Laurent Cantet

Films include: Un beau soleil intérieur (“Let the Sunshine In”), 2017, by Claire Denis, starring Juliette Binoche as a woman in middle age who has relationships with difficult men; the classic Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (“The Crime of Mister Lange”), 1936, by Jean Renoir, showing the circumstances leading up to the electoral victory of the Popular Front; L’Atelier (“The Workshop”), 2017, by Laurent Cantet, about a novelist teaching a summer class that includes a right-wing student who may be a terrorist; Félicité, 2017, by Alain Gomis, filmed in the Congo about a nightclub singer in Kinshasa frantically trying to raise money to save her 14-year-old son injured in a motorcycle accident; Le grand méchant renard et autres contes (“The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales”), 2017, by Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner, an animated collection appropriate for children.

All screenings are on campus at the Bazarsky Lecture Hall in the O’Hare Academic Building, Salve Regina University, 100 Ochre Point Ave, Newport. salve.edu/french-film-festival Tickets are available at the door, but buying a festival pass online is encouraged. For questions, call 401-341-2197 or email frenchfilmfestival@salve.edu




Newport: Sunny Days and Sometimes Foggy Nights

If you’ve spent a day in Newport, you know Newport’s coastline trumps all 400 miles of beaches throughout Rhode Island. The Vanderbilts, Astors, Belmonts and Van Beuren’s also knew. Come celebrate summer with us.

Independence Day is quickly approaching, and we all question where we’ll watch the fireworks. This year, the City of Newport’s fireworks will commence at 9:15pm. They are shot over the Harbor from Fort Adams. A few solid viewing locations open to the public are Fort Adams (90 Fort Adams Dr), King Park (125 Wellington Ave), Newport Harbor facing West (if you’re sailing or walking limited paths), the causeway connecting Goat Island, Perrotti Park (near the ferry landing), Storer Park (near the Goat Island causeway), Grace Vanderbilt Rooftop (fee after 7pm, 41 Mary St), Top of Newport (Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Ave), Rose Island Lighthouse (ticket price includes transportation to and from island, BBQ feast, clam chowder, soft drinks and music), The Lawn at Castle Hill (enjoy the adirondack chairs at 590 Ocean Dr).

newportFILM is a year-round, non-profit documentary film series in Newport that features established and emerging filmmakers and their current documentary films, curated from film festivals around the world. Now that we’re into the summer season, the films are being taken outdoors! Experience award-winning documentaries, live music, interviews with filmmakers and subjects, fabulous food and loads of community spirit among Aquidneck Island’s beautiful outdoor spaces. Thriving nature preserves, sprawling ocean-front lawns, elegant mansion gardens, public parks and working farms are just a sampling of venues used for these outdoor cinemas. These epic film events take place every Thursday night, all summer long, and are free of charge. Bring your own picnic or buy from one of the few food vendors participating in the series. newportfilm.com 

The Black Ships Festival takes place July 13 – 15, and this summer, the event is expanding to Bristol. blackshipsfestival.com

The Association Tennis Professionals (or ATP) will be on World Tour in Newport to compete in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on July 15 – 22. These rare grass courts have hosted the best of the best of tennis since 1880. This is the only opportunity to see professional men’s tennis in the Northeast prior to the US Open. halloffameopen.com

Visit the URI Athletic Fields this summer for camping, a carnival, food vendors, music and hot air balloons at the South County Balloon Festival, taking place July 20 – 22. You’ll find Roomful of Blues, tethered balloon rides, rock climbing, food and craft vendors. southcountyballoonfest.com

The Newport Jazz Festival is a three-day event sprawling across Fort Adams on August 3 – 5. World class musicians perform across four stages while ticket-holders absorb the smooth sounds across the surrounding lawns. It’s truly amazing how sound travels here, and how one performance doesn’t bleed into another unless you waltz to an adjacent stage. There is no shortage of food vendors, beer tents, Del’s Lemonade or merchandise. Check out newportjazz.org to plan which day(s) you would like to attend. Each artist in the event’s line-up is linked with a video of their sound. Allow yourself time to arrive because there will be car traffic. A launch will be available to transport ticketholders; however, be prepared to wait your turn. Cycling may be the quickest form of transportation.

Hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport County, authentic 19th century coaches drawn by matched and highly trained teams of horses visit Newport every three years for a Weekend of Coaching on August 16 – 19. The public can enjoy free viewing of the colorful and historic coaches every day, as they strut through the streets of Newport and the grounds of the Newport Mansions, celebrating and preserving a century-old sporting tradition. newportmansions.org/events/a-weekend-of-coaching

The Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival takes place September 20 – 23, and events include the Wine & Rosecliff Gala, tastings with hundreds of wines, celebrity chef appearances and cooking demonstrations, bordeaux dinner, jazz brunch, and an after dark party. Need I say more? If you’re a wino or a foodie, be there. newportmansions.org/events/wine-and-food-festival

The Preservation Society of Newport County is dedicated to historic preservation. They invite you to explore their 11 Newport mansion properties, representing more than 250 years of social, architectural and landscape history in one of America’s most historically intact cities. While you’re at the Breakers Mansion, grab a soft drink, sandwich or snack in the new, breathtaking, garden-feel welcome center. newportmansions.org/plan-a-visit And

Don’t be fooled by their similar logo — it’s not Warner Brothers that everyone is sporting in this city by the sea, it’s Water Brothers. This authentic, local surf shop has been around since 1971 and nods to some serious local surfers and their growing community. One of the best point breaks was saved by these guys. For lessons and gear, visit originalwaterbrothers.com Another surf shop is Island Surf & Sport islandsurfandsport.com Unfortunately, Rhody Surf is no longer with us. They’ve “Gone Surfing” as of this spring.

According to Discover Newport, the first U.S. Open Championship was held in Newport in 1895, and golf has thrived in the area ever since. Enjoy Scottish links-style courses with panoramic vistas of the Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean throughout Newport and Bristol County. Check out Green Valley Country Club, Jamestown Golf Course (jamestowngolf.com), Montaup Country Club (montaupcc.com), Newport National Golf Club (newportnational.com), Wanumetonomy Golf & Country Club (wanumetonomy.com) and Windmill Hill Golf Course.

Go tandem skydiving at 211 Airport Access Road in Middletown over New England’s most scenic dropzone. It’s the thrill of your life! You’ll want to see the world this way. Tell Nick Sergi I sent you. skydivenewport.com

What would this sea-faring state be without sailing? Please visit sailnewport.org/calendar for all and any sailing events in and around Newport this season.

Generations of families and friends return to Newport Polo year after year as a summer ritual and testament to the global fraternity of this sport and its place in the community. Teams from every continent have visited the grounds as international challengers. nptpolo.com

Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina is going into their second season, and whether you’re from out of town or local, this New York-based company has brought a new, updated vibe to the classic Newport scene. This location has everything. With sprawling ocean and harbor views come fiery sunsets, and the cabanas are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. You can sip on a casual cocktail at Pineapples bar or poolside while listening to various musicians during the day and cozy up to a fire pit at the Regent deck when the sun goes down. However, for a truly fine dining culinary experience, Scarpetta is unsurpassed. From house-made pastas to clean cooking with experimental layers of flavor, this restaurant is taking Newport by storm. If you’re a wino, you’ll want to read their wine list like a romance novel. Save room for dessert, the chefs did not fall short when creating their dolci. Experience your meal indoors in their restaurant designed like a mega yacht, or enjoy the al fresco dining overlooking the harbor and historic Point Neighborhood. Make a reservation. With dinner at Scarpetta, valet is free. gurneysresorts.com/newport




Keeping it Free and Fun

When the days are longer — and we’ve all become desperate for the summer that seemed like it would never come — the temptation to pack your days with as much fun as possible can be costly. Sure, the zoo is free for PVD residents on first Saturdays, the RISD Museum is free on Sundays and third Thursdays, and your local library has options, but what about when you’re in the mood for more seasonal entertainment that won’t break the bank?

Beaches are the big obvious for RI summers. It might seem like fuzzy math, but we have 400 miles of coastline. Yet so many of us get locked into our beach-of-tradition (Narragansett! Misquamicut! Fight!) that it’s inevitable the average Rhode Islander is missing out on other beaches that could become a new favorite. Have you seen Block Island’s Mohegan Bluffs? Checked out the conservation area at Tiverton’s Fogland Beach? Bird watched and lit an evening fire at Goosewing Beach in Little Compton? Make it your goal to visit at least one new beach and be sure to do your research online for any free parking tips. (Like if you arrive to Goosewing Beach early enough, try to snag a spot in the P.T. Marvell Preserve. And while ozone alert days are definitely not a situation to be celebrated, remember RIPTA runs free.)

lebowskiwebMovies on the Block goes on a bit of a construction-imposed hiatus this year, but has found a temporary new home on Fountain Street. We love this series and their bold “eff it” programming (who else would publicly project The Shining or Lost Highway on the side of a downtown street?) and encourage you all to join them for their two limited screenings this year: The Big Lebowski on June 21 and Pulp Fiction on July 19. Bring your beach chairs to the parking lot next to The Strand at 78 Fountain Street. For straight-up family friendly movies, visit Rocky Point Park’s Movies in the Park series (facebook.com/movienightri).

Abandoning dimly lit bars for live music outdoors is one of the purest joys of summer. The Burnside Music Series at Kennedy Plaza begins Noon Tunes (live music during your lunch hour, every Wednesday) on June 6 with Czésare Santana’s Latin Folk fusion. The park’s official Music Series & Beer Garden is held Thursdays at 5:30 in July and August. On the coast, North Kingstown Town Beach offers a free music series on Tuesdays, beginning June 19. Rooftop at Providence G also offers music throughout the week, including rock on Thursdays and acoustic reggae on Sundays, giving you all the good summer vibes you need to ease into the work week. Also in Providence, you can generally count on music in Waterplace Park, especially on evenings where there’s another little-known event: WaterFire. Every time we think it’s too obvious to mention, we hear someone say, “Fire… Water? RiverFire?” And then we’re reminded to not take the spectacle for granted. For more than 20 years, bonfires burning bright have been one of the greatest free summer activities we have. Is your summer really complete without people watching on Memorial Boulevard, taking pictures with a human gargoyle and trying to find the right Insta-filter for your river shot?

When you’ve had your fill of sweaty humans and need to retreat into nature, RI is filled with opportunities to hike, stroll or take what’s perhaps best referred to as a “woods walk.” On the less woodsy and more opulent, sweeping views/cover-of-a-romance-novel side of the coin, Cliff Walk in Newport is a must. The walking trail is largely accessible and offers simultaneous vistas of both ocean and mansions. There’s a reason it’s recommended in any Rhode Island guide book. For trails more off the beaten path, visit and follow the Hiking in RI Facebook page (fb/hikinginrhodeisland), which is updated constantly and loaded with tips and trails. If you want to add a touch of darkness to the summer sun, check out the trails at DuVal Farm in South Kingstown, which includes a small cemetery. Plentiful blueberries and a scenic overlook that offers a peek of the ocean on a clear day keep the hike from going too goth.