When asked what inspired her to open Genie's Hookah Lounge, Farahnaz Shobeiri recalls the parties her grandfather used to host in Iran. “Whenever he had parties, he had hookah. People came to talk about family and politics and also to just enjoy themselves.” Now directing her own festive space, Shobeiri hopes to not only foster a similarly laid-back, convivial atmosphere but also to share her Persian heritage with others.
On Friday and Saturday, belly dancers sway to the sounds of Middle Eastern music, and tarot-card readers divine fortunes amid thick persian rugs and plush couches heaped with pillows and tinier, plusher couches. Friends can pass around handmade Egyptian hookahs filled with coconut-shell coals and dozens of different flavors, including tobacco-free herbal molasses. The lounge also boasts a high-end air-filtration system, which means that the smell of smoke or wandering cologne salesmen never overpowers the aromas of spiced meats and fresh bread from the kitchen.
Though Genie's Hookah Lounge doesn’t serve alcohol, people are welcome to bring their own wine and beer, and servers pour pure pomegranate juice and herbal teas directly into mouths via a funnel. Shobeiri hopes that the atmosphere encourages people to relax and linger over their meals. “We do everything from the heart here,” she says. "Everyone comes here to be happy.”
Save The Bay has held to its mission since its founding in 1970: to protect, restore, and improve the Narragansett Bay region and its coastal waters through environmental action and stewardship. Save The Bay also defends the right of the public to use the Bay, encouraging visitors to act as responsible stewards of the Bay's bounty for future generations.
Today, Save The Bay's staff and volunteers continue their work from their Bay Center that serves as the heart of operations. Its stormwater-management system contains a vegetated roof, a coastal-buffer zone, swales, and basins that can absorb and filter rainwater. Made from recycled steel and metal, the center's interior hosts an array of educational programs for adults and kids. Save The Bay also maintains an Exploration Center and Aquarium, camps, and marine-life tours aboard its 45-foot US Coast Guard?certified vessel Alletta Morris, the 27-foot vessel Swift, or the 46-foot Elizabeth Morris.
Since 2007, the team behind Historic Tours of Newport has carefully consulted literature and publications documenting Newport’s heritage in its effort to chart engaging and enlightening van tours that propel passengers through more than 365 years of history. Expert guides dispense factoids about Newport’s social, religious, and architectural past on 60- to 90-minute Ten Mile Ocean Drive tours, which whisk visitors past a plentitude of sites including Bellevue Avenue’s 17th-century buildings and mansions, Chateau-sur-Mer’s dainty gardens, and the tree stump where town loon Humphreys McCaw declared himself king. Guests eager to peek inside one of myriad mansions detailed on the tour can opt for a Majestic Mansion tour, which permits escorted entry into one of six elegant manors during Ten Mile Ocean Drive excursions. Patrons purchasing private tours can additionally elect the two-hour Newport Now tour, which explores the city’s contemporary shopping malls, farmers' markets, and secret Redcoat-revivalist meeting places or custom design a tour around whatever sites and they yearn to behold.
The 23-room Architect’s Inn was constructed in 1873 as the private residence of Newport architect George Champlin Mason. Today, bed and breakfast is well known for its interactive murder-mystery events, during which guests dress up in costume and participate in two-day whodunits. The five guest rooms feature private fireplaces and period furnishings, including four-poster canopy beds, embroidered linens, and floral wallpaper. A few rooms, such as the Redwood room and the Perry suite, even have Victorian claw-foot tubs. Modern touches include cable TV and DVD players, in addition to WiFi access. Less than half a mile west of Architect's Inn is a collection of historical mansions commissioned at the turn of the 20th century for affluent American families, including the Vanderbilts. Explore the 80 acres of gardens and parks on guided tours that illuminate the pioneering architecture, interior design, and social history of 11 landmark properties.
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.
The Big Toast, a Great Gatsby-themed benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Ocean State, blends the decadence of the roaring 20s with the philanthropic spirit of the modern age. Partygoers are invited to dress in flapper dresses and fedoras (or business casual). They can also sample their fill of fine wines, craft beers, and quality liquors, celebrating just like the Prohibition-Era speakeasy dwellers did.
The evening's entertainment takes place at the Linden Place Museum. Throughout its storied history, the well-maintained mansion has entertained four presidents, generations of socialites, and famous performers such as Ethel Barrymore Colt. Appropriately enough, it even served as a set for the 1974 film adaptation of the The Great Gatsby.