Written By: Bettie Bearden Pardee for New England Fine Living
I often refer to my books as my “Valentines to Newport.” Here, in the introduction to my recent/newest book, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style, I try to capture that feeling in words…
To crest the Newport Bridge, with its bird’s-eye view of the stunningly vast Narragansett Bay and the church spires and ship masts seen in the distance, always makes me catch my breath. I thrill at what I know awaits me as I come over the bridge… velvety lawns along the craggy coastline of our ledge island, the emerald green meeting the blue horizon of water… the sandy beaches forming magnificent crescent bays… a deep natural harbor narrowing at is mouth as it slips past Hammersmith Farm and out into the open Atlantic… and enviable climate with welcome breezes for resident and sailor alike… majestic trees, their sweeping branches adding grace and shadows to the streetscapes and parkland setting of the storied properties.
It is these properties, the many exceptional old-world homes, gate houses, garden follies, stables and carriage houses, with their sylvan landscapes, that bestow a deep comfort to living in Newport… a sense that the past and present seem equally alive.
Since its founding in 1639, our fabled seaport has displayed an intriguing ability to evolve. And with each iteration, Newport has not only survived but thrived. It has built up a patina, generation upon generation, creating “good bones,” as my mother loved to say. What touches us is not how much Newport has changed but how, in an endearing way, it has appeared not to change.
As if on cue, it is Newport’s sophisticated charm which is again attracting a vibrant new crowd and social energy to our shores, a “vibe” that heralds the next chapter in this town’s history.
Come, see and fall in love with Newport this summer.