Newport is known for old stuff, such as the oldest continuing tavern, lending library, synagogue and Fourth of July celebration. But each year, more new comes to Newport, and this year is no exception.
The Doris Duke Monument Foundation between Thames Street and Trinity Church unveils a $3.5 million revitalization of Queen Anne Square, designed by Maya Lin. Entitled “The Meeting Room,” the installation includes three shallow foundations to illustrate the history of the property and provide community gathering spots. The project will bring more green space, seating, trees and lighting to Queen Anne Square. It is intended to honor the memory of Doris Duke, who championed Newport’s historic preservation. Check it out at www.ddmf.org
The old, elegant mansion of Newport have added thing, including the Elms with a new audio tour which includes new information about recent restoration projects in the house and servant life. In addition, Mandarin translations of the audio tours at The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff will be added as Chinese-speaking visitors are the fastest growing segment of foreign visitors to the mansions. The 2013 costume exhibition at Rosecliff features 20th century highlights from the Newport Preservation Society's collection, and highlights designer pieces by Chanel, Givenchy and Halston. The exhibition runs through November 22. Visit www.newportmansions.org for information
For the adventurous, there is a new Fort Adams zip line, where you can strap in and dive off walls of the fort, North America’s largest coastal fortress, on the 430-foot-long zip line. You start at 50 feet up, sail over the fort’s complex and land on the ground. You can go solo or with a friend on a tandem zip line. Visit www.fortadams.org for info.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame exhibit, “Tennis and Hollywood,” showcases the popularity of the sport of tennis with Hollywood’s elite. A social sport that initially catered to an upscale crowd, tennis became a natural pastime for many big screen stars in the early 1900s. Legends including Alice Marble and Frank Parker were known to share their expertise by giving lessons to stars including Dinah Shore, Charlton Heston, Dustin Hoffman, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. The exhibit will be displayed for one year.
Also, the hall will host the first and only viewing of “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which proved to be an event that created heightened awareness for gender equality, in honor of its 40th anniversary. King will be present at the special screening on July 14 to introduce the broadcast footage and then discuss her memories of key moments in the match, what the match meant to her personally, and reflect on its lasting impact. Check both hall events out at www.tennisfame.com
The International Yacht Restoration School and Museum of Yachting 2013 exhibition features a diverse collection of Newport yachting and coastal scenes including artwork in various mediums from the 19th century to today. Exhibition opens June 1. Check out www.iyrs.edu for information.
The Newport Dinner Train introduces The Ice Cream Train, a family-friendly experience aboard Rhode Island’s only moving ice cream parlor. During this scenic ride, families get entertainment aboard air-conditioned rail cars as the they travel along the coast while having soft-serve ice cream or sundaes. The train departs Thursdays through Saturdays from the Newport Train Depot, 19 America's Cup Avenue. For information, visit www.newportdinnertrain.com/docs/schedule.htm
Samuel Whitehorne House, a museum of 18th- and early 19th-century Newport and Rhode Island furniture, will feature a new exhibit this year of high chests including one on loan from the Ott family of Providence. For information, visit www.newportrestoration.org/visit/whitehorne
The inaugural Newport Sharkfest Swim will take place Sept. 28 along the waterfront beginning at the harbormaster’s dock at Perotti Park, proceeding past anchored sailboats on the right side of the swimming channel, and continuing for a total 1500 meters to finish on the beach at King Park. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. For info, visit www.sharkfestswim.com
As to new lodging, check out the Crow’s Nest Newport, with new lodging at Seamen’s Church Institute, a non-profit with a mission to service those connected to the sea, in its National Register historic building. The space is remodeled and includes 10 guest rooms in the heart of the waterfront. For information, visit www.crowsnestnewport.com
There’s also a new transportation option this year as the Block Island Ferry introduces seasonal high-speed ferry service from Newport to Block Island starting the end of June. Travel time between the two ports will take about one hour on a hi-speed aluminum catamaran ferry, to run several times a day. Visit www.blockislandferry.com for information.
For information on all Newport offerings, visit www.discovernewport.org