Newport Elegance That All Can Enjoy
By Peter F. Demers | July 24, 2012
When most people think of Newport, Rhode Island, they think of the magnificent mansions that dot the seacoast that were the summer homes of some of America’s one percent more than a century ago.
While touring those mansions is a favorite activity of people visiting, the opportunity to stay in a beautiful inn that is a reminder of that well appointed elegance is still available at the The Cliffside Inn.
The Cliffside Inn is an authentically restored Second Empire Victorian Manor House built by Maryland Governor Thomas Swann c. 1876, the house was then known as “Swann Villa”. The Swann family summered at Swann Villa until 1897. After serving as the temporary location of a private prep school for boys, it was turned back into a summer home for a wealthy Philadelphia merchant named Andrew Turner in 1907.
The Turner’s only child was Beatrice Turner, who would become an artist and a Newport legend as a woman. She was 18 years old in 1907 and summered at Cliffside until her death in 1948.
The new owners of the Cliffside Inn, Bill and Nancy Bagwill, purchased the historic Newport inn at the end of 2010 and invested significant time and resources on a complete and detailed restoration of the inn and the creation of lovely new landscaped grounds. The Cliffside Inn was fully reopened in August 2011.
Recognizing the unique and historical environment of Newport, Bill and Nancy dedicated themselves to developing an inn that combined the old world charm found in the stately mansions with modern amenities.
The thirteen suites in the main house all have vintage King or Queen-sized beds, imported linens, fine art, Oriental rugs, gas fireplaces, period fixtures, spa bathrooms with Aveda® amenities, LCD TVs, DVD players, and iPod® sound systems. The three additional suites in the Seaview cottage, located across the Inn grounds feature a large whirlpool bath, fireplace and comfy sitting area.
The Cliffside has developed a well deserved reputation as an inn with not only breathtakingly beautiful rooms, but a place where a guests receive first class treatment.
Breakfast includes fresh juices and fruit, cereal, home-made granola, fresh baked muffins and breads, yogurt, and the renowned French-press Legendary Blend coffee, roasted daily and blended exclusively for the Inn by nearby neighbor Custom House Coffee, Rhode Island’s top artisanal coffee roaster.
As a year round resort, guests are treated to seasonally inspired activities in both the town and the Inn. For example, this spring, the inn has a number of activities planned to make their guests stay memorable.
For Newport’s St Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 2012, which is the largest in Rhode Island, the Cliffside has will fire up its outdoor fire pit on Saturday evening and feature a s’more’s party with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers.
The next weekend, March 24th, the staff will have completed collecting sap from the many maple trees that dot the property and have over forty-five gallons for the Cliffside’s First Annual maple syrup boil over the outside fire pit, followed by a pancake breakfast the following morning using the results of their labor. Each guest will go home with some of the fresh maple syrup.
The same weekend, the Cliffside will work with over twenty0 restaurants that participate in Newport’s restaurant week which runs from March 23 to April 1, 2012.
During this week, Newport restaurants will offer a $30 per person prix-fixe dinner and $16 per person prix-fixe lunch. Guests staying two nights, (Sunday through Thursday) during restaurant week, will receive a voucher good for one dinner and a movie certificate for two at Newport’s famous Jane Pickens Theater an internationally known art house cinema.
In April, the Cliffside Inn will be arranging for tickets for its guests to enjoy six wonderful singer-songwriter performances at the Common Fence Music Hall in Portsmouth, RI. Guests will take along picnic dinner basket for two complements of the Inn. Contact the Inn directly for the schedule.
Also on schedule from April 14 through May 6, 2012 are the Daffodils in Bloom Festival at the famous Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in Bristol, RI, where over 50,000 daffodils will be in bloom.
If you are looking for a real Newport experience, spring is a great time to be at the Cliffside Inn.
All images appear courtesy of the Cliffside Inn.
The Cliffside Inn
2 Seaview Avenue, Newport, RI 02840