Everyday Chic, Holiday, Seasonal, Winter

Newport’s Holiday Doorways

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Our “City by the Sea” was founded in 1639, so the Colonial influence looms large in our history. Known as Newport’s “Golden Age” (as opposed to the “Gilded Age” of the late 1800s) there are arguably more Colonial buildings in Newport than any other town in America.

And one name is always associated with the presence of so many Colonial houses here, Doris Duke, who was single-handedly responsible for restoring and/or moving to Newport approximately eighty houses of this period. They are now part of the Newport Restoration Foundation, founded in 1968 by Mrs. Duke with the express purpose of preserving, interpreting, and maintaining landscape and objects reflecting Aquidneck Island’s 18th- and 19th- century architectural culture. The majority of these historic houses are available to rent as private residences and are maintained by a full-time crew of carpenters and painters.  This is an important point…to be lived in and used as they have for more than three centuries makes them a vibrant part of the community.

It is just this fact which I find particularly appealing about these houses. There is an authenticity to each , a lived-in look. They are not perfect; they don’t appear to be stage sets or Disney-esque over-restored “properties.” Thus you will see seasonal decorations created by the homeowners themselves, not a decorator or stylist; there might be chipping paint under the house eaves, the original stone steps are uneven (and perhaps a bit mossy) or some leaves haven’t been raked.

Please enjoy this selection that represent the handsome variety of good Colonial design to be found today in Newport, Rhode Island, all dressed up for the holidays.











The next time you plan to visit Newport, you may wish to consider Christmastime…

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “Newport’s Holiday Doorways

  1. Good morning Bettie. . . what an absolute delight seeing these lovely homes decorated for Christmastime. . .all different personalities shown with the decorating being very human. My reflection of these homes is who walked up the steps into their home during Colonial times and thereafter and to walk in their steps. Fascinating history.
    Thank you again for your lovely blogs.
    Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year.
    Anna Louise – Coral Gables, Florida

    1. Yes, if only those walls could talk…And Happy New year to you, too, down in Florida.

  2. AND that is what made me FALL IN LOVE with NEWPORT this past AUGUST!
    Do you know my ANCESTOR lived in one of those houses………which I found OUT while visiting and I was staying a BLOCK AWAY in the old WEBSTER DICTIONARY MAN;s house which was a DELIGHT!I was on my way to dinner…….at one of the places YOU recommended for me and I was looking for HIS HOUSE!I had the address and an old photo!I was STOPPED in my tracks by a POT in the GARDEN and couldn’t take my eyes off this POT!Well, I did not find the HOUSE and thought perhaps it had been torn down!On my way home I walked the other side of the street and I look across at the HOUSE with the POT I LOVED and because I was further away I realized THAT WAS THE HOUSE from the photo I had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I LOVED NEWPORT and told my HUSBAND we must RETIRE THERE!!!!

    1. Don’t we just love these travel stories and seeking out something that is right under our nose. Happy New Year to you La Contessa!

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