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Home » ARTS AND CULTURE » RHODE ISLAND » Newport International Polo Series, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
The Players and Horses in Action
Newport International Polo Series, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

By Juliet Kaplan | August 07, 2010

Have you ever been interested in Polo, the sport beloved of British royalty or simply want a fun day out for the family? Then try the Newport International Polo series in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

During an oppressive heat wave in July, I wondered if going to an outdoor event with my 7-month-old baby and husband was a horrible idea. It had been over 90 degrees for what felt like months, and we dared not venture to anything other than activities that allowed jumping in cool water for most of the summer.

As we turned into Glen Farm, which hosts the Newport International Polo Series, I heard a giant sigh of relief coming from the car seat behind me, and my husband and I simultaneously closed our eyes as we breathed in the cool, fresh air of the 100-acre farm. It must have been a good 10 degrees cooler here than it was just a few miles north. The perfectly manicured, bright green fields greeted us, a light breeze tousled our hair, and the smoky aroma of the tailgaters’ grills filled our senses. Why haven’t we been coming here every Saturday?

The polo match starts at 5pm during the summer months, but arriving about 2 hours early to get a good tailgating spot is the way to go. The tickets are only $10, and you can bring your own food and drinks and get settled for a fun evening of polo in a gorgeous setting. And if you run out of food or drink, they sell an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as grilled fare at their concession stands.

Because Glen Farm is elevated, there is a wonderful sea breeze on most evenings, so even the hottest of days are pleasant there. Twirling children play on the field before the game and during half-time, women and girls wear flowy dresses, and something about the whole event makes you feel like it’s 1920. The charming English commentator on the loudspeaker keeps mentioning things like “chukkers” and “hooks”, which although we have no idea what it means, sounds incredibly exciting.

At half-time the famous “divot stomping” takes place where all the well-heeled women, men, and children wander about the field mingling and stomping down the torn up turf. Players join the fun as well! At the end of the match, players stick around and mingle with the crowd, and kids get a chance to pet the horses.

If you follow polo, the reasons for going are obvious, but really you needn’t know anything about the sport to enjoy going to a match. It is one of the rare things that my husband and I enjoy just as much as our 7-month old. All in all, it is the ideal choice for a fabulous Saturday evening on Aquidneck Island in the summer.

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