Thursday
Aug042016

Victorian Ladies Inn, The Mooring Restaurant, Castle Hill Inn Restaurant, Newport Rhode Island

Folks ask me how I find such great places to stay and dine. It takes a lot of work to discover the special places. Most peolpe don't have time to browse the internet. Since I have already done the work, I'll share my finds with you.

Victorian Ladies Inn - I wanted to be close to the Mansions and Cliff Walk so I chose this bed & breakfast. Charlie & I  wanted an egg breakfast without needing to go to a restaurant. This was the perfect place for us. As the name states, this is a Victorian main house with additional cottages to the rear. We stayed in the Alfred Room, which was on the street. The room was quiet. We were not disturbed by the noise of the street, which was great. The room was charming. It had a little refridgerator-bonus! The room was clean and had a private bathroom. Breakfast was a bountiful buffet and made to order entree. We could sit in the garden or on the porch or inside. We did not interact with the other guests which I guess is fine if you like your privacy. I like to meet people so I was slightly disappointed but that was ok. Daily ice tea and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were placed in the parlor at 4:00. Believe me, I was there at 4:00, as were other guests! I really liked this place. Very convenient to the Mansions, but, a bit distant to town. I don't mind walking. You can leave your car in the on site parking lot which is convenient since parking is at a premium in town.

Second floor hall

The Alfred Room

A very comfortable sofa in the Alfred Room. You don't often have one of these in a B&B!

The Mooring Restaurant

Fun, Fun, Fun! If you want a great, happy seafood restaurant on a marina with a perfect view of the sunset, you will like this place. This is Charlie's kind of spot. The food was excellent. The wait staff was attentive. The sunset gorgeous and the marina was interesting to watch as the boats sailed in. We will be back!

The beautiful view at The Mooring Restaurant in Newport, RI.

Wonderful chocolate cake dessert at the Mooring Restaurant, Newport , RI

Castle Hill Inn Restaurant

We were told wonderful things about this restaurant. It really was very special. The chef goes out of his way to make each diner have a perfect evening. One thing, though. Our dinner lasted three hours. So, do not plan to go anywhere afterwards. The dinner is your evening entertainment. The meal is pre-fixe and there are seating times. We were seated at 7:15 and did not leave until 10:15. But, we had a wonderfully relaxing time, enjoyed the spectacular sunset and the cool breezes off the water. The food was beautifully presented and delicious. There were a number of small in between dishes that tided us over as we awaited each course. The staff was well trained and friendly. The room was small enough that you could have a private conversation without shouting. A memorable evening.

Beautiful beet salad

Charlie's lobster tail entre

Our view from the dinig room of Castle Hill Inn Restaurant

 

Wednesday
Aug032016

Newport Mansions

In July, I like to use my birthday as an opportunity to visit bucket list sites. This year, I chose the Newport, Rhode Island Mansions. My goal was to take a broad sweep of the Mansions on this visit and decide if I would like to return. I purchased advance tickets, which would permit us to visit five of the available nine Mansions open to the public. Each Mansion had an audio tour. I did not take the audio tours. I wished to experience the mansions "as is" as a first time visitor. Next time, yes, there will be a next time, I will read up on all these fabulous residences and be prepared for the audio tours.

I was extremely fortunate on this trip. The Mansions had just revoked the long standing "no photograpghy" policy. Folks were permitted to use I- phone and non flash cameras. My only regret is that I did not take more photos. There are books filled with images to purchase at the end of the tours, but, I would have enjoyed my own photographic memories much more.

The first Mansion we toured was the Breakers. This is by far the largest Mansion and certainly quite oppulent. Cornelius Vanderbilt II is responsible for this 70 room monster facing the sea.The original home was destoyed by fire. In 1893, Cornelius commissined this four story Italianate style palace. I breezed through too quickly. Take your time. It is jaw droppingly gorgeous. I found it curious that the Mr. and Mrs. bedrooms faced the street and not the sea.

Our second stop,The Elms, was completed in 1901. Edward J. Berwind had Philadelphia affiliations and was head of a thriving coal company. The commissioned architect of this lovely home also designed the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Though this Mansion is not on the water, it holds a preeminent place on Bellvue Avenue. While we were there, The Vienna Piano Trio were perfoming in the ballroom. It was a delight to experience the drifting melodies throughout the house as we toured. At least, I could hear them, because I wasn't using the audio tour!

Our third stop was Marble House. I was eager to see a Mansion clad in marble. I was not disappointed. Opulent is a good start for a descriptive adjective for this summer residence. The owner, William K. Vanderbilt only got to spend two summers here before he divorced his wife and moved to Paris. It took four years for this house to be completed. Marble was imported from Europe. It was and still is indeed a masterpiece. Again, take your time through this incredible creation.

We were determined to visit Hunter House, which was not on our advance ticket. We made the mistake of attempting to drive over to the other side of Newport mid-day to see this early American treasure. We lost valuable time stuck in traffic only to discover that the tickets were $30. a piece for the tour. I decided that we should tour Hunter House when we returned. Yes, we shall return! Apparently, housed here is one of our country's finest collections of period furnishings made in Rhode Island. Names such as Townsend and Goddard and Gilbert Stuart enticed us,but we opted to wait and be prepared the next time we visit.

Our final tour of the day was Rosecliff Mansion. It is indeed lovely on a less grand scale. The rooms are not as fully furnished as the other Mansions. This summer residence was commissioned in 1898 by Theresa Fair Oelrichs, silver mining heiress and organizer of extravagant fetes. Charlie explained the end story which was  a sad one and cast a melancholy pall even on a brightly lit afternoon in the rose garden. Maybe I didn't want to know the ending. The ever present ocean and horizon bearing sky stretched on, including us briefly in the story as we wandered on the lawn and through the garden. It was a full day. And about to become more exciting when we went to birthday dinner at Castle Hill Inn. See my next Blog entry.

 

 

Monday
Jul182016

Hamilton “Sideshow”

On July 4th weekend, we did the opposite of what most folks do. Everyone thinks of visiting Philadelphia to celebrate our country’s birthday. No, we travelled to New York City, to spend time with our new baby grand daughter and give her parents a much needed date afternoon. After we wore ourselves out playing with a four month old, we had dinner at Porteno, an Argentinian restaurant by the High Line. The food was delicious. The room is small and frequented by locals. Good wine selection. Conversation was easy. Great wait staff and bar tender. We plan to return soon.

Delicious dessert at Porteno-how did they know I was a musician?

The next day, our son suggested we visit the Passaic Falls in Paterson, New Jersey. The falls sits squarely in the center of town and is one of the larger falls in the US. Alexander Hamilton visited the falls in 1778 and saw incredible potential. He later designated Paterson as the first industrial city in America. He commissioned canals and raceways to channel the water of the Passaic River to flow to various parts of town, thus enabling the rise of a number of mills. The site is an historic national landmark. I suggest a visit when the water is high. The falls can be an impressive sight. When we were there, they were less dynamic, but still intriguing. You can bring children to this destination. We brought our grand daughter. Many other children were there as well. No admission charge.

The Passaic Falls

 

Monday
Jun202016

What Can You Buy at the June Festival of Antiques in Mullica Hill ? 

Business was brisk for Noonmark Antiques at the June Festival of Antiques in Mullica Hill on June 11, 2016. This rain or shine 1 day outdoor venue had a 7:00 am set up that was busy from the start. The doors opened a bit before 10:00 and the crowds flowed through. Noonmark Antiques wrote up slips constantly until about noon, when the crowds began to slow due to heat. Word has it that next year, the show will be held on June 10, from 9-3. Mark your calendars.

Here is a list of items sold by Noonmark Antiques at this fun and casual show:

-Norton Crock, 1 gallon

- Norton Stoneware Jar

-Wallpaper Box

-Large Herb Basket

-Bill Rank Rooster Theorem

-Harvard Lap Pantry Box

-Ivin’s Cookie Tin

-Sterling and Turquoise Southwest Cuff Bracelet

- Small antique basket

- Various Vintage Kitchen Items

And, here's what's left..........

and picked a dandy fire starter from my neighbor at the show!

 

Contact info@noonmarkantiques.com for prices

 

 

Monday
May232016

The Personal Collection of Lewis Scranton, presented by Skinner,Inc. May 21, 2016

Charlie and I first met Lew Scranton about six years ago when we participated in the Guilford Antiques Show for two consecutive years. Lew’s booth was always filled with interesting objects. He was sincere – someone I felt I could trust. When I heard that Lew was planning to sell his personal collection via Skinner, Inc. at an ‘old fashioned’ on site auction with no phone bidding and no buyer’s premium, I felt I needed to be at this event. So we booked a peaceful room at an  AirBnB in Madison, CT and traveled to Killingworth, CT to see Lew’s New England home during the preview. Lew lovingly restored his home to a beautiful Americana showplace, just right for displaying his treasures.

The preview was bustling with anticipation. It was a thrill to see the objects in their natural surroundings. Many dealers and collectors were there. The atmosphere was festive and the weather perfect. A large tent for the auction filled the side yard. I was careful to reserve a seat for the following day.

The next morning dawned golden and filled with bird song. We arrived early to have a last go round to see the items to be sold, now placed under the tent. Below is a sample:

The lovely surface of this child's settle hoisted the winning bid to $18,000.  

One of my favorites, this stunning redware plate sold for $8,000.  

Stephen Fletcher, Department Director and auctioneer, quipped his way through the opening lots and kept the atmosphere light and festive. 

Lew Scranton has not retired. He will continue to buy and sell. Nicknamed, the Lanky Yankee, you will still see him at his favorite shows.

For more images and selected prices, see our Noonmark Antiques face book page.

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