A lifelong entrepreneur with a green thumb, Dave Neilson transformed Coastal Vineyards from an idea to a reality in 2004. Joined by his wife Linda, family, and friends, Dave continues to tend to his small but continually expanding winery, situated along southeastern New England's lengthy coastal wine trail. Like a shadow cast by Godzilla, the property's thriving vineyards cover eight acres, producing 12 varietals including chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, and merlot.
No matter the bottle, Dave's goal remains consistent: to lure every ounce of fruity zest from each varietal, specifically by blending flavors to create unique bouquets. To accomplish this, Coastal Vineyards utilizes a combination of stainless steel and oak barrels to ensure it consistently serves up a diverse repertoire of complex flavors, which can be bought or tested in the facility's tasting room when it swings open its doors on the weekends.
At ShelaLara Vineyards & Winery, vintners work with modern equipment to produce more than 20 different wines. Using grapes and fruit imported from California and other sun-soaked regions, the enophiles fill tanks with sweet elixirs including their in-house specialty wine slush. The glacier wines, fruit essences, and vintage wines run a colorful gamut from the off purple of the sky just after sunset to the hue of warm honey. ShelaLara’s winemaking process, including fermentation, bottling, and 21-gun salutes following spills, all takes place in Rhode Island.
Newport Majestic Cruises provides finless mammals with opportunities to take in the seaside sights of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Embark on a two-hour, coast-hugging harbor tour aboard the Majestic, Newport’s beautifully buoyant luxury yacht. Passengers pause inside the climate-controlled cabin before emerging as boat-born butterflies on one of three exterior decks while voice-over veterans nourish brains with sightseeing scoops, maritime mythology, and fresh air. The boat’s refreshments feature a buffet luncheon prepared on board by the cruises' Executive Chef, Percy Cook, providing mariners with enough beverage and snack options to satiate out-to-sea appetites and includes also includes. Guests can also revel in features that include two full service bars and climate controlled interior decks.
In 1999, four college friends founded Newport Storm Brewery with some used equipment and two Middletown garage bays. In the 15 years since then, the enterprise has been on an upward trajectory. First off, it moved into a new, 8,000-square-foot facility. Secondly, they expanded into the liquor business and starting distilling Thomas Tew Rum, a dark amber rum with hints of molasses. However, the founders never abandoned beer, their original passion. Their current craft beers range from Rhode Island Blueberry Beer, infused with juice from local berries five days into the brewing process, to Hurricane Amber Ale with Tettenang hops.
The Preservation Society of Newport County, a nonprofit organization, rolls out 10 magnificent domiciles, illustrating their dedication to preserving and presenting historically significant homes, gardens, and landscapes. Imparting more than 250 years of American history along the way, tours expose eyes to elegant architecture and stunning vistas and stimulate the brain with facts and historical details. Visitors explore many of the 70 French-style rooms comprising The Breakers, a stately cottage that was home to the Vanderbilts, and frolic about hedge sculptures formed from California privet, yew, and English boxwood, filling the Green Animals Topiary Gardens with giant leafy figures shaped like animal crackers. Modeled after both the Grand Trianon at Versailles and Marie Antoinette's wig collection, the opulent Rosecliff was erected in 1902 and continues to astound visitors with a heart-shaped staircase, ornate crystal chandeliers, and two fountains. The Elms' luscious décor and Marble House's sumptuous architecture likewise enchant the eye.
Amidst cocktails and dancing, 35 to 40 students of all skill sets recreate classic works of art within hours at Drink and Dabble under the tutelage of comedian and RISD graduate Charlie Hall. He supplies classes with artistic gear including a blank 16" x 20" stretched canvas, water-based acrylics, and aprons that protect outfits from paint more effectively than showering in paint-thinner. Charlie selects the evening’s canvas from famous artworks including Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” though students can opt to try their own painting instead. He guides his class through every layer step-by-step, circling the room to dispense individual tips. During short breaks, he and his students eat, drink, and make merry along to a soundtrack of party tunes. By class’ end, the acrylics dry into a new version of a priceless canvas that you can take home.