Summer has arrived, and nowhere heralds the fact better and with more time tested class and splendor than Newport. I’ve just had the pleasure of staying in this seaside village at the Ivy Lodge. This shingled residence from days past puts you in the middle of historic Newport with all the updates you would want to make your stay pleasurable. Breakfast in the original formal dining room was an offering of fresh fruit and their famous homemade granola along with freshly baked pecan waffles! The proprietor checked in with us for assurance that we were comfortable, and the chef inquired as to any culinary restrictions. First class! Our room was small but romantic and with the windows thrown open to enjoy the sea breezes, we were in heaven. The wide wrap around porches made for delicious reading nooks atop comfortable brown wicker seating!
The purpose of my visit was to Judge Horticulture for the Newport Flower show. This year, entitled Fete des Fleurs:Paintings and Parterres, visitors were transported to France, home to artists and gardeners of renowned artistry. Held at one of the most popular Newport mansions, Rosecliff, which recalls the Grand Trianon of Versailles, this flower show is a must for all serious garden lovers.
Before the judging and the opening of the show, we strolled through the town. The shopkeepers had a competition for the best window display heralding the Flower show. My daughter worked with CK Bradley during her post college years, and we were overjoyed to see Camilla’s shop festooned with a blue ribbon! I am not sure who the judges were for that competition, but I would agree, CK Bradley showed great style and was a clear blue ribbon winner!
The Horticulture judges were aware that Newport had witnessed a foggy, rainy Spring, but the horticultural offerings were superb, the exhibits exhilarating, and the overall tone of the show one of the best in memory. I was not able to tour all of the excellent vendors but as they unpacked their wares and offerings to gardeners, I realized I could go home with something from every booth, if my purse allowed! Just a few sights….
The Judges worked hard to examine the plants and exhibits, with an eye to excellence, and to giving the appropriate and well earned awards. At the end of the day, we freshened up and made our way down Bellevue Avenue to the Marble House
for a private dinner on the back terrace overlooking the water. A fete without compare!
The visit to Newport wouldn’t be complete without a dinner and drinks at Castle Hill Inn. We enjoyed drinks on the lawn overlooking the water until a dark cloud chased us inside. Not to worry, the storm clouds passed and we enjoyed the most sensational sunset while enjoying a superb meal. I will say it again, first class!