Archive for December, 2010
The final five our Top 10 of 2010..
New Place, Same Great Taste
Costal Extreme Brewing Company, makers of Newport Storm beers and Thomas Tew Rum, moved from their humbler beginnings in Middletown to a brand spankin’ new facility at 293 JT Connell Road in Newport that’s bigger, brighter and more accommodating than ever. Dessert lovers reveled into the relocation of It’s My Party from Middletown, where baker Amanda Bryan did her baking, to a retail friendly storefront on Newport’s ever-expanding William Street. Patagonia on Thames expanded to a larger home at 450 Thames. Style Newport also made a leap moving from Christie’s Landing to Thames Street. Potter & Co. welcomed new owner Chafee Emory (who’ll be renovating the space in January while maintaining what makes Potter, well, Potter).
Worth its Weight
The Preservation Society of Newport County’s exhibit, Newport Undressed: Crafting the Gilded Age Wardrobe, was a fashionista’s must-see. Featuring the work of English-born designer Charles Frederick Worth, credited with being the father of the couture industry and “the first couturier,” the pieces at Rosecliff were each exquisite it its own way, offering a blueprint of fine fashion crafted by today’s best couturiers.
The first annual StyleWeek Providence brought together designers from across the Ocean State. Seven days of designer shows, installations and après-show soireés hosted at chic venues throughout the capital city toasted the talent of Southern New England, and the event only looks to expand in its upcoming January 2011 StyleWeek.
When I caught wind that the first state chapter of Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide, had opened in Providence, I knew the women of Newport and Bristol Counties would be more than willing to contribute to its cause. I announced our first clothing drive at the June Newport CVB meeting and by our deadline we had collected three clothing racks full of amazing suits in barely worn condition (many with tags) and bags and bags of handbags, accessories, and professional footwear–looking forward to doing it again.
Truthfully, there is just too much to mention to wrap up 2010. We welcomed Mitchell Owens, Editor at Large at ELLE DÉCOR and Rebecca Kelly from The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York who talked about The Facts Behind the Fiction of Fashion in The Great Gatsby, we saw the opening of Couture Parties, Tropical Gangstilettos, Design Newport, Le Petit Gourmet, the grand opening of 41 North’s boutique hotel, the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the inaugural Newport WineFest, the newly launched Doris Duke Days and so much more…here’s to 2011.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
As the year comes to a close, it’s a time to reflect on not only personal highlights, but the people, places and events that have influenced the community that shapes us. The list below is a compilation of posts reflecting what has both shaped the fabric of Newport and its surrounding communities, in no particular order, that we’ve covered:
When the internationally-acclaimed couturier duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka chose the corner of Prospect Hill Street and Bellevue Avenue as the site of just their third eponymously-named boutique, people took notice. The duo told me in an interview in early June that the pop up shop would indeed be seasonal, but also a good litmus test of the market here in Newport for a possible return.
It was just too much fun appearing on The Rhode Show many an early morning this year to chat about some of the best Newport has to offer. From getting the look for less and putting together celeb-inspired looks for our jazz and folk festivals, to getting All Dressed Up and accessorizing up and down, to more recently toasting the holiday season with segments on gift ideas by land and by sea, Christmas in Newport and Last Minute Gift Finds in Newport, The Rhode Show crew is simply the best.
“In the flesh?!” was my reaction when I was told Vogue’s European editor at large, Hamish Bowles, was coming to Newport. Truth is, events featuring style authorities of this magnitude can be, while interesting, less than engaging—there can be the sense they’ve delivered the lecture a million times before and can do it with their eyes closed. Mr. Bowles was anything but. With quirky quips on his costume-loving childhood to insightful commentary on the evolution of style and fashion throughout the modern era, Bowles was as charming as he was dapper.
When Tallulah on Thames opened just in time for spring’s Newport Restaurant Week, fine dining fans were ecstatic over the new addition to Newport’s Lower Thames Street. Winning rave reviews from press and adding a chic upstairs lounge with small plates, the hot spot has won over local gastronomes. Just a stone’ throw away, many Newporters were delighted to see the return of The Pier, a venerable hot spot that had, in more recent history, seen a few reincarnations, few with any staying power. This time around, with new owners, live music and a renovated outdoor bar and patio, the spot seems to have gained significant traction.
Welcome…Come in, Stay a While…
It started in the spring when Newport’s own Angela Moore moved her flagship shop from the northern section of Bellevue Avenue to the Casino Block. (The shop also brought in a fresh crop of lines, including Kara Janx, Milly, Julie Brown, Three Islands, Melly M, Manuel Canovas, Lilla P and more). Classic American clothier J. McLaughlin opened a few doors down by June, followed by Badgley Mischka and the Palm-Beach-Meets-Newport trio of Boo Gemes, Lily Holt, and Sequin, all at 119 Bellevue. Eye-brow guru Sara Schlieff-Ross also opened the doors to ArchBeauty SkinCare Salon & Boutique on Memorial Boulevard, just steps from the corner of William Street and Bellevue which, it seems, is shaping up to be an entirely revitalized shopping corridor in Newport.
Stay tuned for the second half of the list…
There are a lot of musings around town about who’s doing what for New Year’s Eve. A number of restaurants have designed prix-fixe menu specials including the Spiced Pear at The Chanler, which is hosting an early seating (6-8 p.m.) 4-course dinner ($75); and a late seating (8-10 p.m.) with a 7-course dinner ($110). Those with a sweet tooth should know they’ll be serving their extraordinary Flambe – check out this link from The Rhode Show to see their chef prepare the decadent dessert.
The Pier is serving an a la carte menu with two dinner seatings, one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m., both with live music and the latter of which offers a party package for an additional $25 that includes champagne, party favors and commemorative t-shirts. Meanwhile, The Barking Crab is serving up a NYE Lobster Dinner with a glass of wine or pint of Newport Storm. The Bay Voyage in Jamestown is hosting a New Years Eve Party package with dinner and overnight accommodations. The Fifth Element will be in full swing by NYE, starting dinner service at 5 p.m. with DJ Butch spinning later in the evening and the champagne flowing at midnight. Call 619-2552 for Fifth dinner reservations. Other spots like One-Eighty, Pop Kitchen + Cocktails and O’Brien’s Pub said they’re still in the planning stages…
Ok, on to the parties…
Christie’s is doing a “Blast from the Past” Masquerade Ball…your $60 ticket gets you DJ Henney spinning all night, two drink tickets, passed hors d’eouvres, midnight balloon drop, and a prize for the Best Dressed Duo. Call 846-8018 for reservations.
Forty 1° North is doing NYE in The Gallery and out at the fire pits, with hors d’oeuvres, a sushi bar, and decadent desserts with a DJ and dancing (41°N Card holders get a complimentary Signature Cocktail that night and a “Rebound Smoothie” at Christie’s the next day) for $70… Call 846-8018 for reservations.
Newport Blues Café is ringing in the New Year with pop powerhouse Sugar. Tickets: $25 general admission (available online) for the show only. Dinner packages: $75 includes 5-course dinner and champagne toast ($150/couple). Call 841-5510 for reservations.
It’s all coming in, so I’ll keep you posted!
It’s crunch time…who’s shopping? Baking? Wrapping? Searching? Local shops are open late (and some of them, like the fabulous Down Under Jewelry on Lower Thames Street, take some of the pressure off with fabulous wrapping) and ready to help. Pleasant Surprise and its newer affiliates like p.s. II, is perfect for stocking stuffers and gag gifts for that Yankee Swap, and I just stopped by Goodies by the Sea at Long Wharf Mall and they have fabulous candy (and amazing chocolates created by Alex Lanio) and fun finds for the young and young at heart.
As Christmas Eve nears (or as my cousin calls it, “Desperate Dads Day,’ when the scramble is on for getting gifts for the ladies in your life on the fly), remember to soak up the best of the season in Newport. Fill a traveler with hot chocolate and whipped cream (I have heard that a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream goes well with hot cocoa…) and stroll along downtown Newport to take in the white lights sparkling in the treetops along Bowen’s and Bannister’s Wharf, and fresh greens that festoon the lampposts. Induge in the Clarke Cooke House’s famed Snowball in Hell—chocolate roulade topped with vanilla ice cream in a chocolate coated goblet covered with Callebault chocolate and sprinled with coconut (yes, we’re serious)…preferably enjoyed while gazing out the window onto the wharf. Set the car radio or hook up your iPod with Christmas carols and take a relaxing cruise along Ocean Drive taking in illuminated homes throughout the Fifth Ward and the City at large before the mad dash of family arrives. Cheers!
Is Christmas really just four shopping days away? Unbelievably, it is. This morning I popped by The Rhode Show to share some uniquely Newport gift ideas!
For the hostess: Holiday cupcakes from It’s My Party featuring Hot Chocolate, Gingerbread, Candy Cane, and “Snowball” cupcakes
For her: “Love” ring and rings with her initials spelled out in nautical signal flags from Style Newport
For the pooch: wool toggle coat and Santa hat from Wag Nation, and “Critter Glitter” jewelry from Sequin that benefits the Potter League for Animals…select pieces available at Potter League’s “Bloomingtails” boutique
For the outdoor adventurist: a stay at the Rose Island Lighthouse
For the foodies: A gourmet gift basket from Le Petit Gourmet with dessert and fine wine
For a couple or family: A gift that keeps on giving, membership to the Preservation Society of Newport County (the Newport Mansions)
For the kids: Make Your Own Chocolate Kit, Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit, Make Your Own Gummies Kit from Only in Rhode Island
There’s a reason the martini has been one of the most popular cocktails since supposedly being created at New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel in 1911. Whether it’s a sweet and sassy cosmo or sophisticatedly served straight up, there’s an air of serious cool when sipping one of these concoctions. I love these amber crystal martini glasses ($12/each) I found at Rib & Rhein (shown above with coordinating champagne flutes, same price). In fact, the hip William Street boutique proved to be a treasure trove of chic finds…
For him, I was loving the hand-sewn Italian silk ties (a number of diverse styles and patterns, $75)—they had a decidedly Don Draper feel. For her, there were some super soft one size fits all leggings in fun patterns like cheetah, zebra and houndstooth ($35) and of course in solids like black, charcoal and chocolate brown ($25). They’d look great with the Lola & Sophie Overdrape Jersey ($85/available in scoop or v-neck, charcoal or black) which, with its drape and ruching, is super flattering, plus you get some bang for your buck as it can be worn year-round.
Glamour gals will ove the Isabella necklace, a stunning statement piece made in India ($125). Ever so stylish Erin Ribeiro (the “Rib” in Rib & Rhein) suggests sporting this necklace in a casual ensemble, like a white dress shirt, to lunch or work, or at night to dramatize evening attire. Another amazing piece I spotted there was the The Plaza Wrap, a one of a kind wool and cashmere blend wrap from India boasting a floral screen print and hand embroidered beading and sequins. Happy shopping!
DON’T FORGET: This afternoon’s Hometown Holidays Drawing is at 4 p.m. outside Active Sole on Bowen’s Wharf. Some lucky local shopper will walk away with a $1000 American Express gift card (need not be present to win).
As Newporters have a tendency to share a love of the sea, I’m featuring this triple-milled, scalloped-shell bath soap by Crabtree & Evelyn from Harbor Bath & Body at Thames Street Landing in Bristol (3 bars, 3.5oz each, $17.95) for today’s Hometown Holidays. Enriched with an ultra-moisturizing blend of shea butter and golden jojoba oil, the creamy lil’ luxury soap is a great stocking stuffer, or lovely gift when paired with the beautifully packaged jojoba bath and massage oil (6.8fl.oz, $20.95). Both are also available at www.harborbathandbody.com, if you’re out of the area or can’t imagine actually crossing the bridge…
DON’T FORGET: Tomorrow is the big Hometown Holidays Drawing at 4 p.m. outside Active Sole on Bowen’s Wharf (where you should make a point to stop in). Bring your shopping, restaurant or attraction receipts totaling $100 or more from any small, local business to the Newport Visitor’s Center on America’s Cup Avenue, or Paper, Packaging & Panache on Hope Street in Bristol, receive your complementary gift, and qualify for the $1000 American Express gift card giveaway (need not be present to win).
PLUS: Sunday is Bristol’s Snowflake Raffle! Get a free raffle ticket for every $25 you spend at participating Bristol businesses between now and December 19th. All tickets will be entered into the Snowflake Drawing for cash prizes: $5000 for first, $1000 for second and $500 for third. Drawing will take place at 5 p.m. on December 19th on Lower State Street, rain or snow. Ticket holder must be present to win. Festivities begin at 3 p.m.