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Map of Rhode IslandRhode Island is the smallest state in the nation, but it's packed with history and opportunities to go sailing, boating and fishing in Narragansett Bay. Newport's famous mansions, the "summer cottages" of the uberwealthy can now be enjoyed by all as can Newport's beaches. Providence is home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of design among many other superb colleges. Fine Italian and seafood cuisine can be found anywhere in the state.

Each offers a great deal of history, beautiful sites to see, ample recreation, lodging and culinary delights and myriad museums. The United States Navy's War College is here. Newport, well known for the famous Jazz Festival (which has been scaled down from its 1960s size), offers Cliff Walk, where you can stroll between the famous mansions and the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are great for swimming, sailing and surfing, and Newport is home to some of the oldest buildings in the country.

Make sure to read Cliff Walk, A Stroll through Newport, Rhode Island's Gilded Age, a story about a fantastic walk along Newport's storied mansions, as well as stories from NewEnglandTimes.com's Newport Correspondent, Noreen O'Neill below.

GREAT PLACES TO STAY
1 Murray House Bed & Breakfast
Murray Place . Newport . Rhode Island 02840
401.846.3337 | E-Mail: bikinicat@aol.com | Website

1 Murray House is located in the Newport Mansion district on Bellevue Avenue, close to the famous Cliff Walk and a short walk to Bailey's beach! It is an enchanting place to stay after a day of exploring Newport, where history, ornate mansions, gourmet restaurants, quaint shops and long, sandy beaches come together to offer you the ideal getaway. 1 Murray House Bed & Breakfast has been voted "one of the best bed & breakfasts on the eastern seaboard" by Arrington's Bed & Breakfast Journal.

The Country Goose Bed and Breakfast
563 Green End Avenue . Middletown/Newport . Rhode Island 02842
401.849.5384 | Toll Free: 877.25Goose (877.254.6673) | E-Mail: CountryGooseBnB@aol.com | Website

Nestled in a quiet country setting our charming 1898 Ginger Trimmed Country Victorian is minutes from beaches, cliff walk, mansions, Tennis Hall of Fame, golfing, shopping on famous Thames Street, and all seasonal attractions.

22 Bowen's Steak, Seafood
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport . Rhode Island 02840 | 1.401.841.8884 |jbailey@GoNewport.com

Welcome to 22 Bowen's Wine Bar and Grille, located on the waterfront in the heart of historic downtown Newport, Rhode Island. Serving only USDA Prime beef, New England's finest seafood, and complimented by a wine list of over 200 selections, we invite you to visit us and enjoy "a little bit of tenderness" at one of Newport's best.

Make a Reservation

Bareboat Sailing Charter
Newport . Rhode Island | 1.800.661.4013 1.860.388.6463

Sail the way you dream about it! Consistent breeze, gorgeous beaches, incredible islands, great yachts and first class charter service as you enjoy wonderful sailing and unexpected comforts as you cruise the New England waters.

THE MUSINGS OF NOREEN O'NEIL, NEWPORT CORRESPONDENT AND B&B OWNER IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

Astors’ Beechwood; A trip back in time

By Noreen O'Neil

When my bed & breakfast guests arrive at Murray House, one of my favorite places to send them is Mrs. Astor’s Beechwood. When they return, they’re full of the praise for the delightful afternoon they spent being entertained by the actors of the Beechwood Theatre group. They loved being taken back in time, a time never to be experienced again. A time when palatial mansions (summer cottages for those in the know) in Newport were de rigueur for the rich and famous. If you’ve never been to Astor’s Beechwood, put it on your list of things to do. It’s quite and experience, and one you will thoroughly enjoy.

Beechwood was originally built in 1851 for a New York City Merchant, Daniel Parrish. The house was named Beechwood because all over the property you’ll find beautiful Beechwood trees. In 1880 William Backhouse Astor Jr., grandson of German immigrant and entrepreneur John Jacob Astor, purchased Beechwood. The modest home of 22,000 + sq ft. was to be used as the Astor’s summer residence. They would spend eight weeks a year here.

In 1981 the Astors’ Beechwood Mansion was opened to the public as Rhode Island’s only Living History experience. Members of the Beechwood Theatre Company depict life during the Victorian era, specifically the year 1891. The actors portray the friends, family and domestic staff of the Astors.

As you approach the house, you may get a glimpse of a housemaid or a footman greeting visitors or perhaps a handsome couple playing a rousing game of croquet. At Beechwood, you will enjoy a 45-minute interactive tour in which you are swept back to a grander more genteel time. You will feel as if you are actually a guest of the Astors.

Starting mid-May, Beechwood opens for daily tours. Upon your arrival you will be treated as if you are personal friends of the Astors. The premise of the tour/performance might be that the Mrs. Astor has invited you to supper or perhaps her grand ball. Whatever the occasion, be prepared to leave 2003 and head back to the year 1891.

In addition to regular summer tours, Beechwood offers two spectacular evening events, which need to be booked separately: The Astor Ball and Murder at Bal Masque. The Astor Ball is a re-creation of a Victorian Ball. As you stroll up the driveway you will see the house all lit up in its evening splendor. The Astors’ friends and family greet you as if you are a member of high society and you have come for an evening of 1890s song and dance. During the evening you will be invited to tour the home, brush up on Victorian Etiquette and share in gentle conversation. You will be swept into a flurry of music and dancing. The Astor Ball is Tuesday evenings July through September. Reservations are recommended.

Murder at Bal Masque is for the person that has a taste for mystery. It is a tension-filled, interactive murder mystery based on an unsolved mystery of yesteryear. Four master detectives help you play whodunit. Guests tour the home looking for clues, interrogate family members and solve the mystery. This ever-popular event does require reservations. Murder Mysteries are Thursday evenings June through October.

Summer is not the only time of year in which you’ll find something special. Holiday Time at Beechwood is like none else. Early November through Mid December, Beechwood celebrates Christmas. During this wonderful season, the fully decorated home comes alive with holiday magic. You are invited to celebrate Victorian Christmas traditions, brush up on your waltz, play parlor games, and learn the art of flirtation. The family will entertain you with holiday songs so festive you’ll find yourself humming along as you take a turn around the ballroom floor.

For a truly special treat, come to an Astors’ Victorian Christmas Feast. As you walk through the front door, you step back in time to St. Nicholas Day 1891. You are a dear friend coming to join the Astor family for a magnificent celebration. This three-hour event features a four-course dinner, a tour of the festively decorated home, breathtaking singing, and Victorian dancing. Reservations are required. Please call for specific dates of the feast. Their website is at www.astorsbeechwood.com and phone is 401-846-3772.

No matter the time of year, Beechwood always has something fun and exciting to offer. When you need a break from your daily routine or just want to do something different take a trip to Beechwood and take a trip back to the past.

Copyright © 2004-2014, Noreen O'Neil

Tennis Hall of Fame Gala and Five-Day Celebration

By Noreen O'Neil, Newport Correspondent

Feel like hob nobbing with the Tennis Hall of Fame elite? How about the Preservation Society of Newport elite? Well, you can do both if you buy tickets to the gala, black tie event being held at the Breakers mansion, the site of the 50th anniversary celebration of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The event will be held on July 10th, 2004. The International Tennis Hall of Fame 50th anniversary will be celebrated from July 5 through July 11, 2004. Tickets to the gala cost $400, $800 or $1,000 per person, depending on where you are seated. If you would like to purchase a table for 8, that cost would be $8,000.00 or $10,000.00 again, depending where you're located.

Or, maybe you'd rather volunteer. That would definitely be cheaper (smile). There are positions open for drivers, ticket takers, etc. Just call the number below.

The Breakers mansion, which was designed by the well known architect, Richard Morris, for Cornelius Vanderbilt ll in 1895, has over 70 rooms and is an Italian Renaissance-style estate overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Over a thousand people are expected to attend the celebration at this National Historic landmark.

The Tennis Hall of Fame will be host to the reunion of hall of famers from around the world, coming to Newport for this unequalled and very celebrated event. During the day prior to the main event, the semifinals of the Campbells Tennis Hall of Fame Championship will be played.

At the semifinals and the gala evening event will be Rod Laver, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Pancho Segura, Rosie Casals, just to name a few of the 40 greats attending. They will be presented and participate in the ceremony in the afternoon.

Tickets for the tennis matches can be purchased in advance, but don't wait too long or they will be sold out. For more information call 401.849.3990.

PS: The tickets for the Gala Dinner Event at the Breakers are available through the Preservation Society of Newport. Call them at 401.847.1000 and ask for Beverly.

Noreen O'Neil has been a B&B owner for over ten years and is currently the innkeeper at 1 Murray House B&B in Newport. She is the Chairperson of the NewEnglandTimes.Com Advisory Panel for the state of Rhode Island and our Rhode Island correspondent. Visit her Website.

Copyright © 2004-2014, Noreen O'Neil

HOW MANY ROOMS DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A B&B?

By Noreen O'Neil

Is It a Bed & Breakfast?

I started my bed & breakfast from my home about 10 years ago after my children had flown the nest. The bedrooms were empty and I said, "Why not? Newport is a great tourist town and always in need of lodging for the weary."

In the early settlers' days, 1 or 2 rooms in people's homes were let to weary travelers where there were no other accommodations available. This was how it began. To some, a B&B is a quaint Victorian Inn with 5 or more bedrooms. Or it's a chalet in Vermont or Maine featuring its own ski slope. Or it's a converted gothic mansion boasting 10 or more bedrooms. But, from the beginning there was the private home bed & breakfast.

My very first guests, however, were not aware of the early settlers and their rooms for the weary. They expected an "Inn".

That very first day, I anxiously awaited their arrival, peeking out the window for hours before they got there. Everything was ready for them; the beds freshly made and turned down, the muffins all baked, and the quiche just waiting to be baked for breakfast in the morning. The coffee pot anxiously waiting to put forth that glorious aroma of freshly brewed heaven, and the logs were crackling in the fireplace.

My peeking finally paid off; there they were in the driveway.

I waited for them to alit from the car before I started out to greet them. But then I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard the husband say, "This isn't a bed & breakfast, it's someone's house!"

"Yikes," I thought as I hid behind my new Laura Ashley curtains, "he's right! It is someone's house; mine. But wait, hey, it's also my new bed & breakfast. What should I do?"

The wife at this point looked a bit nervous (she made the reservation).

I couldn't stay behind my Laura Ashley's forever. "To heck with it," I thought. Out the door fast, with a big smile and a big welcome before they peeled wheels up the driveway, and I lost my very first guests. "Welcome to Murray House," I said, "your private home bed & breakfast, away from home." // heh heh //

He glanced at his wife for a minute, turned to me and said, "This is for real, right?"

I said, "Right! And boy, will you be glad you stayed!" I held my breath.

And, guess what, he was! Whew!

He and his lovely wife (he's lovely too) have been back every two years since that day.

Private home bed & breakfasts, or "home stays", have become their choice affording the kind of relaxing atmosphere they have come to love. They love the attention they receive when staying in a private home -- their own personal guide, shopping expert, restaurant suggester, beach chair provider, and a hostess who knows when to get lost.

A hostess with the mostess.

Noreen O'Neil has been a B&B owner for over ten years and is currently the innkeeper at 1 Murray House B&B in Newport. She is the Chairperson of the NewEnglandTimes.Com Advisory Panel for the state of Rhode Island and our Rhode Island correspondent. Visit her Website.

Copyright © 2004-2014, Noreen O'Neil

Newport Restaurant Picks

By Noreen O'Neil

Restaurants abound in Newport. For such a small town, there are some really great choices and as a bed & breakfast owner, I'm 'forced' to try as many restaurants as I can so that I may be able to recommend the best to my guests. Let me just tell you about some of the ones you should not miss.

The Mooring Restaurant -- I've been going to The Mooring for years now and besides the wonderful view overlooking Newport's harbor, the food is wonderful. The usual (pricey) fare, of course, includes lobster and wonderful choices of seafood. The room with the fireplace is great in the winter if you get tired of looking at the ocean, the boats, the million dollar yachts and the beautiful sunsets. Personally, I prefer the ocean view in the summer, and (guess what), the fireplace room in the winter. (Makes sense, right?) Please don't miss the corn chowder.

Tuckers -- Now here is a special treat, located in Newport's newly refurbished neighborhood, Broadway. The atmosphere is one of second hand furniture, second hand dishes, old flatware, very few matching chairs and tables, arty artwork; very New Yorky. The result is awesomely great. The menu, also pricey, looks so good; you want it all. Try the scallops, mmmmm. The mashed potatoes are to die for. Tucker might even join you, he loves to chat. The window seat is a great place to sit if you want to watch the people walking by. Of course they'll be watching you too. (That's fair isn't it?) Further back in the restaurant are the more romantic tables. Go for those, especially on the left side.

Amecia -- Here's a new restaurant in Newport, off Thames Street. And, like the name implies, Italian. Good Italian. Really neat alfresco dining if you crave the outdoors. Nicely done on the inside. The staff is especially helpful and nice. And the food, did I mention the food? Okay, let me mention the food. Yummm. Homemade pasta too. This one will become very popular, so get there before the place is "discovered". I haven't come up with a favorite place to sit yet, but the left hand side where I was seated was very pleasant. (Yes, it is pricey, also.)

15 Point Road -- Ah yes, a bit away from the hustle and bustle of Newport's city life, and worth it, especially with their more moderate prices. Plan on it when you're heading home after a few Newport mansion visits, or when you're on your way into the city. The roast duckling is so good it was mentioned in a magazine article by a well known gourmand. Get it crispy. The appetizer, Clams Peri Peri is probably the best I've ever tasted. Try to get a window table (use my name) so you have the great view of inlet. The hostess, Liz, is an angel, and the host, Steve Renshaw is one of the better chefs in Rhode Island. Oh yes, they also own the place.

The Salvation Cafe -- For a bit of the eclectic, a break for your wallet, and a change from the typical Steak and Seafood fare, find the Salvation Cafe on Broadway. They have outdoor dining under a protective barrier that can be reached coming in off West Broadway. Plenty of parking. Really nice tropical theme bar. The Broadway area is growing into an artsy district and this place is one of the reasons. The food is delicious! Try the Chicken or Shrimp Pad Thai. There is a middle room inside overlooking the outside room where I prefer to sit. Nice there.

Sabina Doyle's -- You can get the same sunset view as Christie's without the wait at Sabina Doyle's. It's under the overpass for Newport Harbor. To park, go past the street entrance to Christies and park in the pay parking lot on the left. It's a best bet, as parking is often a bit of a problem on Thames Street. Now, head down to Christies, take a left and go through the shops right onto the dock. Sabina's is right there. Friendly people bar! The owners, Joe and Janice Griffith are most always there to welcome you. Great people! Tell them I sent you. The food never disappoints and the prices are reasonable. Great specials! Can get a little rowdy at night, but wait for the sunset and then make your getaway. Or stay and have fun. Dance to the music.

Copyright © 2004-2014, Noreen O'Neil

WINTER FESTIVALIN NEWPORT

By Noreen O'Neil

This is the 16th year for the Winter Festival in Newport and so far, it's off to a great start. Plain and simple, it's great! The Festival runs from February 13th to the 22nd of February. If you have a chance to come to Newport, try to make for this really terrific event.

The culmination is the ice sculpting being held at First (Easton's Beach) on Saturday the 22nd. This is so cool! In a lot of ways, it's so cool. Freezing temps last year included hurricane-force wind, freezing rain and temperatures and the biggest snow storm in a quarter-century! So be it! This year will be a bit warmer, but still cool!

The week long event includes snow sculpting, Italian doggie dinner (you have to bring a dog), kids dance party (you have to bring a kid), live Jazz, scavenger hunts, the snow ball (ball as in dancing), winemakers dinner, martinis and more drink contest, Karaoke club royal event. So you can see it's quite varied, and there are just too many events to mention. Unless, of course, you want me to keep going? Okay, the ayes have it.

The weekend has the snow ball on Friday night and on Saturday, there is horse-drawn hayrides, ice fishing for children, pizza cookoff, Sunday not to be out done, has a festival at the beach, pony rides. Whew, winter fest regatta.

For more specific information, call 401..847.7666 or log onto www.newportevents.com Noreen O'Neil www.murrayhouse.com

Copyright © 2004-2014, Noreen O'Neil

OUR FRIENDS

Stoweflake Resort & Spa

Located in one of America's most sensational, natural paradises, the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vermont offers the ultimate, year-round vacation experience. With its celebrated world-class spa, luxurious accommodations, award-winning restaurants and friendly, attentive staff, the Stoweflake is unrivaled as New England's premier spa/resort destination.


Since 1865, Mountain View has offered visitors a memorable experience. Following a $20 million restoration in 2002, the Mountain View once again welcomes guests in grand style with all the state of the art amenities that today's travelers expect from a Four-Diamond destination resort.


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QuickStart Guide

Four Simple Steps to Planning the Perfect New England Getaway or Vacation.

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