In 2003, Wendy Taylor Humphrey’s house caught fire, killing her two dogs, six cats, and pet goat. Devastated, she searched for a way to overcome her loss by helping other animals. She trained as a wildlife rehabilitator and founded West Place Animal Sanctuary four years later to help provide shelter and recuperation for abandoned and injured farm animals and wildlife. Today, the sanctuary serves as a home for a variety of animals ranging from domestic ducklings and rabbits to wild turkeys and sheep. Sanctuary volunteers and part-time staff members receive abandoned and injured animals, nurse them back to health, feed them, and provide them with space to roam.
Every Friday, the Firehouse Theater hosts a merry evening of witty improvisational comedy, performed by Newport’s The Bit Players. Watch the zany troupe as they drolly play off the suggestions of the audience and make off-the-cuff remarks in a series of short-form skits. Firehouse Theater is BYOB, so show-goers are obliged to bring beer, wine or a cask of aromatherapy bathtub gin. For teetotalers, free hot teas, cocoa, and cookies accompany every performance, helping audience members feel welcome, cozy, and primed for incessant giggling in the 49-seat theater.
The Coastal Wine Trail Market gathers together the appellation's nine coastal producers, whose vines speckle hillsides along the southern coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Each winery—Truro Vineyards, Travessia Winery, Coastal Vineyards, Running Brook Winery, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, Sakonnet Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyards, Newport Vineyards, and Langworthy Farm Winery—sends representatives bearing bottles and fully housebroken grapes to the Westport Fairgrounds building. Under exposed beams, they greet guests alongside local chocolate, cheese, bread, and other culinary artisans, including Hearth Artisan Bread, Shy Brother's Farm, City Girl Cupcake, and Hana's Honey. Visitors may learn about and perhaps purchase each producer's favored libations—mostly whites and sparkling wines but a few reds—which are characterized by their growing proximity to the coastline and the dual-climatic influences of Gulf Stream waters and the screams of passing waterskiers.
After putting their heads together back in 2005, sisters Lynn Grissom and Susan Bucci came to open the first Little Gym in Rhode Island. The concept was simple: positively impact kids by helping build confidence and self-esteem through noncompetitive, fun classes. The result was a curriculum-based program that got kids aged 4 months to 12 years active during karate classes, jazz dancing, and karate chopping stacks of boring homework in half. At the Smithfield location, instructors focus on "movement, music, learning, and laughter," during courses held six days a week.
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.
While many brothers grow up as rivals, Paul and John Nunes instead became partners. With a love of wines and wide-open spaces, the two siblings decided to establish a winery rather than surrender 60 acres of family farmland to real estate developers. Today, their labor of love, Newport Vineyards, extracts an impressive roster of reds and whites from the trellises that crisscross the farm, spilling emerald floods of vines. The vineyard team nurtures the grape-heavy plants and keeps them from being recruited by gangs of raisins. The fruit eventually becomes wines such as the In The Buff chardonnay, which is fermented in stainless steel tanks to draw out a bouquet of aromas. The Gemini, one of John Nunes's favorite bottles, is a smooth blend of merlot and cabernet.
Most of the wines spend stints in French-oak barrels, which John points out as he leads tour groups across the grounds. At the rough-hewn wooden tables in the tasting room, glasses click together as the vineyard's staff shares anecdotes about each bottle's origins, aromas, and ideal food pairing. Newport Vineyards also carries a variety of holiday gifts, such as wine, wine accessories, and custom labels.
EVOLUTION Pilates and Nutrition sculpts bodies and minds through comprehensive, individualized approaches to pilates, yoga, nutrition counseling, and personal training. Pilates mat classes strengthen your abdomen, back, and hips while improving posture and developing flexibility without bulking up or stressing joints. Easy to follow and fun to flow through, these classes are physician-recommended for exercisers of every age, fitness level, and daytime dramedy preference. Mat movers meet throughout the week for hour-long blocks, typically in the morning and afternoon hours. To view a complete schedule, click here.