According to Evan Smith, president and CEO at Discover Newport, Newport’s location and geography had everything to do with its evolution as a resort destination that today sports so many regal options for group gatherings.
“In the 1890s, wealthy families from New York City seeking a vacation playground to escape the heat and crowds found Newport to be an ideal island setting with clean saltwater and beautiful vistas to enjoy during the summer months,” he says. “They came and built magnificent summer cottages and created a social culture that is still very vibrant in Newport today.”
Indeed, the place remains as classic as a well-tailored tuxedo or vintage evening gown, but rather than cufflinks or diamonds, it’s punctuated by handsome mansions, gorgeous yachts and historic landmarks, many of which double as off-site venues for visiting groups.
Following are eight great ideas for only-in-Newport events.
Newport mansions are as iconic as they are ideal as backdrops for unforgettable events.
“These National Historic Landmarks provide a stunning setting, either overlooking the ocean or spectacular gardens and grounds with fountains and statuary,” says Ivan Colon, corporate sales manager for the Preservation Society of Newport County.
Among the many unique mansion facilities for hosting events are Gilded Age ballrooms at the Elms and Rosecliff, the Chinese Tea House on the grounds of Marble House, and terrace locations at Rosecliff and Marble House.
“The funds raised through event rentals are dedicated to the ongoing preservation and maintenance of these historic buildings,” Colon says. “Clients find that their attendees enjoy knowing that their recognition event not only provides them with a truly unique setting, but also gives back to the community by supporting historic preservation.”
Preservation Society guides are assigned to facilitate educational tours and provide historic information and answer questions from guests attending each event, according to Colon.
12 METER CHARTERS
There are many vessels in Newport that prove waterborne events that can be just as elegant as those hosted inside a beautiful mansion.
“Our 70-foot 12 Meter yachts combine the beautiful backdrop of Newport with the experience of sailing on an America’s Cup contender,” says Meredith Harrop, director of sails at 12 Meter Charters.
Event possibilities include races, executive meetings, incentive and reward outings for employees, sunset sails and leisurely harbor tours.
Harrop adds that the outfitter customizes the details of every charter and tailors each sail to each group’s needs, from an interactive team-building experience to a leisurely cruise.
“Guests may participate in the sailing as much or as little as they like,” she says.“Some guests may be very actively involved, while others can have a less active role. Unlike other sailing experiences, we offer the opportunity to fully participate in the sailing. Guests may help hoist the sails, trim, grind and even take the helm.”