The splendor of the Gilded Age emanates from Vernon Court, a turn-of-the-century French chateau?style mansion outfitted with marbled columns, a spiral staircase, and sunken gardens. But inside the building is another kind of treasure: the National Museum of American Illustration, which houses some of the country?s most revered illustrated works.
Hanging on the museum?s walls are original paintings and drawings from 145 renowned American illustrators, including Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, all created between 1895 and 1945. Maxfield Parrish was known best for his book illustrations, filled with a particular shade of intense cobalt that became known as Parrish Blue. His whimsical paintings feature fairytale characters, such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, amid fantastic settings, such as lush gardens or neon-lit dance parties. Norman Rockwell?s iconic paintings, meanwhile, told stories of everyday life, some humorous and others heartwarming, appearing in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines.
Since 2007, the Newport Antiques Show has culled some of the most elegant and important Americana antiques for its massive annual shows. Show manager Diana H. Bittel, a distinguished antiques dealer in her own right, carefully selects the dealers to be featured, eventually inviting a lucky 40 to showcase their wares. With paintings, furniture, folk art, jewelry, and other one-of-a-kind pieces, antiques aficionados are sure to find an item that complements their home decor, appeals to their sense of history, or gives them a convenient shortcut to Narnia. The show also gives back by benefiting the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County.
The Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championship is the only professional grass-court tournament in all of North America. The original site of the US Open, the venue sports charming, rustic architecture as well as intimate seating for up-close-and-acquainted views of the players. The 2010 lineup is as praiseworthy as the venue, with the top eight seeds of the tournament ranked within the top 100 on the South African Airways ATP rankings, including No. 3 American Sam Querrey, No. 6 American Mardy Fish and No. 8 American Taylor Dent, as well as Germany’s Benjamin Becker and Columbian Alejandro Falla. Defending champion Rajeev Ram, currently the No. 7 American, is also slated to compete in the 32-draw tournament.
From its unobstructed perch directly on the bay, the Herreshoff Marine Museum showcases a vast sampling of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s historic fleet of power and sailing yachts. Herreshoff helped usher in the early 20th-century's golden age of yachting, building eight consecutive America’s Cup winners before constructing the first torpedo boats for the U.S. Navy, which until that point had relied on splashing the enemy’s vessels whenever the lifeguard wasn’t looking. A family membership grants two adults and up to four children free year-round access to 60 classic yachts, plus steam engines, fittings, photographs, and memorabilia. Members also get to wander the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors the inductees of yachting’s premier competition.
Named as one of New England’s top five public gardens in Yankee magazine, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum spans 33 acres of lawns, gardens, trees, and historic stone structures. Through October 3, Blithewold is celebrating the seasonal color scheme with Autumn Splendor, a festival that includes access to colorful grounds (daily) and the more than a century-old mansion (Wednesday–Sunday), plus free children’s story time for children to read encyclopedia entries to each other (Friday at 11 a.m.).
A living-history farm dating to 1799, Coggeshall Farm Museum brings Bristol’s agrarian past into the present by providing a faithful depiction of farm life during the period between the Revolutionary War and the Industrial Revolution. Staffed by trained actors in period dress, the museum provides rare insight into the lives of traditional coastal tenant farmers as workers demonstrate everyday chores of yesteryear such as tilling the land or applying wax to the land's moustache. Hands-on activities and workshops encourage patrons to get a feel for farm work and include lessons in Historic Foodways and Hearth Cooking. The farm's historic structures are meticulously maintained via period-accurate restorations, allowing them to keep proud watch over the expansive grounds where heirloom plants and native animals thrive amid 48 acres of woodland, fields, and salt marsh.Farm activities are open to the public on Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.