Do Newport Right This Summer

Newporters’ and Aquidneck Islanders’ lives were invaded by sea and by air in May. First there was the arrival of the high-tech yachts in the around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race and attendant festivities and activities from May 5 – 12. Then locals were treated to the thunderous roar and occasional glimpses of the Blue Angels and other planes in the Quonset Air Show May 30 and 31 as they flew low over Aquidneck in their practices and performances.

But the fun is just beginning. There are many other events and activities planned for the locals and tourists alike, and if they aren’t free, the ticket prices aren’t going to challenge a Broadway show in the art of emptying your wallet.

The jewels in the crown of upcoming events will be the Newport Folk Festival (July 24 – 26) at Ft. Adams, and the Newport Jazz Festival (July 31 – August 2), and you should think about buying your tickets now. The Folk Festival is drawing attention because it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan “going electric” to the boos and jeers of some of the purists in the crowd. Yeah, that was a real career-killer, wasn’t it?

Rhode Island has committed to locally grown and raised foods (all of RI’s school districts feature at least some homegrowns on their lunch menus) and seen the success of Little Rhody’s Farm Fresh growers and Rhody Fresh milk. Two of the most popular spots in Newport are the Aquidneck Growers’ Markets on Memorial Blvd (Wed, 2 – 6pm) and at Newport Vineyard and Winery on East Main Rd in Middletown (Sat, 9am – 1pm). The market on Memorial Blvd is especially convenient for those who already have full weekends planned. Aquidneck Growers avail themselves of dozens of local food sources, and you can buy anything from seafood to salsas. But just about any produce stand or market in The Biggest Little is guaranteed to give you a healthy return on your buck.

For pedal pushers, Bike Newport’s Elliott Kaminitz’s Father’s Day Ride on June 21 at 8am has something for everyone, even walkers. The Ride is dedicated to the memory of Kaminitz, who was killed while riding his bike alongside from Easton’s {First} Beach in 2012, an inspired “ghost bike” marks the site on Memorial Blvd. It is a family event, with 25-mile, 10-mile and 6-mile rides as well as a Harbor Walk for those who are more comfortable hoofing it. More info at

Like New Yorkers who only go to the Statue of Liberty when they have out-of-town guests, Newporters also take Mansion Row on Bellevue Ave for granted until visitors arrive. The Preservation Society of Newport County conducts tours of these eye-popping summer cottages in celebration of the Gilded Age. So dress up like F. Scott and Zelda and learn why he said, ‘The rich are different from you and me.” Full schedules at

For those who prefer staying indoors, the Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center is a cherished cinema that shows excellent handpicked movies for those who don’t enjoy talking, texting or throwing popcorn during the show. From June 5 – 11, the feature is Love and Mercy: Portrait of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, a look at the enigmatic and troubled musical semi-genius. And as part of its events menu, on June 24 the Pickens will stage a Grease Sing-Along. So channel your best Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta (hold the Scientology) and sing and dance your heart away as Sandy and Danny.  For showtimes, 401.846.5252.

Arts are big in the City by the Sea, with the Newport Art Museum (76 Bellevue Ave) as the point of the spear. Take in the free Gallery Night on June 11 from 5 – 8pm. And if you if take a leisurely stroll around the city and don’t encounter an intriguing gallery, you are in the wrong town.

Finally, local or visitor, if you don’t take the famous and historic Cliff Walk that begins high above Easton’s Beach and runs for over 4 miles of picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean with a backdoor glimpse of the famed mansions, you have lost the whole plot. Just do it.