Newport, Rhode Island. A little slide of New England heaven. Want to know where to get the best lobster roll and sun on the best beach? Need help choosing which mansions to tour? Curious how to access Cliff Walk? Check out this visitor’s guide to Newport, RI.Read More
One of my all-time favorite things to do is attend a polo match hosted by the International Polo Series in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It's a perfect way to spend a summertime Saturday evening for anyone and everyone. Want to get dressed up and sit field side with champagne service? Opt for a seat at in the Alex and Ani Pavilion or a spot in the Positive Energy Polo Lounge. Want to throw down a picnic blanket and bring along food and drink for your family? Take advantage of General Admission. Looking to tailgate? Reserve a spot for $50-$100 and start setting up when the gates open at 1:00 PM. Really, there are so many ways to enjoy the Newport International Series, so do yourself a favor and just go.
We attended the USA vs Palm Beach match when we were in town this past weekend, and it was, as always, a perfect event. Our small group reserved a table in the Alex and Ani Pavilion, and are so happy that we did. There's nothing like sitting a mere few feet from a field of horses pounding by. The buckets of champagne delivered to our table didn't hurt, either.
The International Newport Polo Series is in its 25th season, and has upcoming matches against France, Jamaica, England, Morocco, and more. The series is home to the Westchester Polo Club, and with 31 countries visiting to date, America's first polo club has done well in its mission of connecting the local community to the the thrill and awe of this international game.
Here's what you can expect at a match: The game lasts for about an hour and a half, and is comprised of six seven-minute chukkers. There's a fifteen-minute half, during which you'll be invited to go out onto the field to stomp divots. You'll laugh at the accounts made by the snarky British commentator throughout, and you'll enjoy being a spectator of such a worldly sport.
Have I sold you on it yet? Yes? good, I'm glad. Below are links to helpful information to help you plan:
Below are some photos from the USA vs Palm Beach match:
When in Newport, make it a point to visit the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS). The school is open to the public (there's a donation box near the entrance if you're so inclined) and offers an impressive walk-through, whether you're interested in boats or not.
The building itself is beautiful, open-aired and filled with sunlight. The wooden boats that line the floor and hang from the ceiling are pristine, no matter what restoration stage they're in. You immediately appreciate the oft lost skill of working with one's hands, of building and restoring something with strength and elbow grease.
In my opinion, the best-kept secret of IYRS is the restoration of Coronet, a 131-foot schooner yacht that first launched in 1885. According to the IYRS site, she featured a "marble staircase, stained glass doors, mahogany paneled staterooms, and a piano in the main salon." The yacht served as an absolute representation of the Gilded Age until it was purchased in 1905 by the non-denominational religious organization The Kingdom to be used for missionary work. For a fuller read on the Coronet's colorful history, click here.
IYRS has been restoring the Coronet since 1995. It's been one of my favorite projects to follow since I was a girl, when we spent weekends and summers in Newport, to now, when I return to the island once a year. The progress has been slow, careful, and astounding. It's a superb thing to see. And, being the romantic that I am, I'm always given pause by the articles from the ship that line the walkway. Take a look at the piano, the chairs, the anchors, the shackles, the everything that made this schooner beautiful in her heyday.
The International Yacht Restoration School provides a unique and awe-inspiring glance into an entirely different world. Below are pictures from our last visit to the school, but they hardly do it justice. Go yourself and see the students work on their boats, the history buried in the bones of the Coronet, and the peaceful walkway along the water behind it all. The IYRS Newport campus is located at 449 Thames Street.