The latest issue of Yankee Magazine dedicated its cover story to the magic that Newport exudes during the holiday season, declaring, “At the Gilded Age’s favorite summer resort, they do the holidays to the nines.” In addition to the daily events associated with “Christmas in Newport” (now in its 49th year), below are just some of the events that make our destination so special this time of year:
Nov. 22 – Feb. 29 Festive Igloo Pop-Ups at Gurney’s Newport Resort: Features heated multi-sensory igloos overlooking Narragansett Bay, each with its own theme including Santa’s Workshop, Winter Wonderland, Cozy Log Cabin, Roaring 20s, Harry Potter, Tropical Summer, Northern Lights, Astrology and Après Ski, complete with activities and cocktail pairings. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Rhode Island.
Nov. 22 – Dec. 28 Holiday Lantern Tours: Hear the history of early American holiday traditions on an evening walk and learn how Newporters did, or did not, observe the holidays. Tours depart from the Museum of Newport History and Shop. Recurring Fridays and Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Nov. 23 – Jan. 1 Christmas at the Newport Mansions: The glitter of gold and the sparkle of silver will dazzle you as you tour three magnificent mansions decked out in yuletide finery. Music, tours and spectacular decorations highlight celebrations at The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House – each of which will have Gingerbread Mansion replicas on display. Special events include “Holiday Evenings at the Newport Mansions” and “Santa Sundays.”
Nov. 24 – Jan. 1 Goat Hikes at Simmons Farm: Spend an afternoon on a two-hour hike led by Farmer Karla and her crew of adventurous, fun-loving goats. Each participant will get their own goat to walk on a leash. There will be stops along the way to let the goats nibble. Conclude the afternoon with a warm cup of hot chocolate made with the delicious milk from the farm!
Nov. 26 – March 1 Gurney’s Newport Resort Skating Rink: Opens for the season with outdoor skating on the North Lawn overlooking the Newport Harbor Lighthouse, The Point and the Newport Bridge. Open seven days a week. Times vary.
Nov. 27 – Dec. 6 Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff: Follow Island Moving Co.'s dazzling performers through the spectacular setting of Newport's most romantic mansion and feel a part of the classic holiday tale. Select dates/times through Dec. 6.
Nov. 29 The 22nd Annual Newport Illuminated Boat Parade: Kick off the holiday season in spirit with this dazzling display along Newport Harbor’s waterfront. Optimal viewing from the Newport Yacht Club (open to the public for the event), Perrotti Park, Bowen’s Wharf, Bannister’s Wharf and points around Newport Harbor. Starts at 6 p.m.
Nov. 29 Bowen’s Wharf Block Party & Kick-Off of Holidays by the Sea: Take in a “Caribbean Christmas” with holiday tunes on the steel drums. Watch the parade of lights of the Illuminated Boat Parade, shop at the locally owned stores and boutiques, and enjoy the wharf’s array of restaurants. Activities begin at 4 p.m.
Nov. 29 – Jan. 1 Christmas at Blithewold: Enjoy elaborate holiday decorations around every corner of this historic early 19th century estate in Bristol. Related events include:
Nov. 29 – Dec. 20 Holiday Market at Gurney’s: Features a curated selection of travel, lifestyle and fashion finds. Open every weekend (Fri. – Sun.).
Nov. 30 Fifth Annual Courtyard on Thames Tree Lighting: This unique collection of locally owned shops and restaurants invite you to experience an ol' fashioned neighborhood holiday event with hot mulled cider, music and a visit from Santa. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Nov. 30 Lighting of the Lighthouse: The historic Newport Harbor Light at Gurney’s will be lit for the season complete with carolers, spiked cider and live music at the resort’s Fire Pit & Lounge. 5 p.m.
Nov. 30 Bristol’s Grand Illumination: Choruses from Bristol Public Schools, as well as dancers, will perform and Santa will join the celebration by lighting the town’s Christmas tree and the iconic Bristol Snowflake. Activities begin at 5 p.m.
Nov. 30 – Dec. 21 Dickens Holiday Dinner Train: Immerse yourself in the classic tale of humbuggery, ghosts and redemption with this interactive retelling of “A Christmas Carol” by the Marley Bridges Theatre Company. Experience a dining journey along the Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad in a custom-designed theater car featuring special tables for two all facing center stage. Recurring Saturdays.
Dec. 1 Annual Holiday Open House at the historic Colony House on Washington Square: Hear hymns and holiday carols, performed by costumed interpreters from the Second Massachusetts Regiment, that were once sung in colonial Newport. Christmas in Newport’s official opening and tree lighting ceremony in Washington Square immediately follows the event. 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 1 Christmas in Newport’s official opening and tree lighting ceremony: A traditional small coastal city tree lighting complete with a proclamation from the Mayor, tree lighting, Newport Artillery cannon salute, and carols sung by local schoolchildren. 5 p.m.
Dec. 5: Holiday Sip & Shop: A fun evening of cocktails and shopping featuring local boutiques and designers at OceanCliff. Shop jewelry, clothing, home decor and more for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres provided.
Dec. 6 Making Spirits Bright: Cocktail + Truffle Making Class: A delicious, festive evening with Executive Chef Andy Teixeira and cocktail expert Brenna Leveille, both from Brix at Newport Vineyards, who will take guests on a truffle-making and cocktail-creating journey. 6 p.m.
Dec. 6 Hotel Viking’s Annual Tree Lighting: Complete with cinnamon cider, glühwein, cookies, carolers and gifts for all. Make sure to be on your best behavior as Santa will be there, checking his list twice! 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 IYRS Holiday Celebration: A festive Restoration Hall will be the place to see students' boat restoration projects decked out in holiday finery plus live acoustic music and complimentary hors d'oeuvres in one of Newport's most unique waterfront locations. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 – 8 Third Annual Newport Holiday Stroll: Enjoy a weekend stroll through Newport with unique New England events, live entertainment throughout the city including busking and caroling, and hand-crafted and local-artisan made gifts at hundreds of shops open all season long.
Dec. 7 Jamestown Annual Holiday Stroll: See Santa arrive at the waterfront, enjoy craft shopping and more. (Santa arrives 1 p.m.).
Dec. 7 19th Annual Lucy’s Hearth Designer Wreath Sale Christmas wreaths and tabletop decorations created by designers, artists, gardeners and florists from the community will be on sale as well as gourmet baked goods. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Dec. 7 – 28 A Rough Point Holiday: Experience the holiday traditions and winter caretaking practices at Doris Duke’s Rough Point with various rooms of the mansion museum both spruced up for the Christmas holiday and cloaked in their winter coverings. 30-minute guided tours offered throughout the day. Recurring Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dec. 7 Bowen’s Wharf 49th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting: A traditional magic evening of charm and good cheer beginning with Frosty the Snowman’s arrival at 4:30 p.m., Christmas carol sing-a-longs starting at 5 p.m., the Mayor lighting the tree at 6 p.m. and Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by boat (weather permitting).
Dec. 8 Special Screening of ELF at the Jane Pickens Theater: Fans young and old are invited to experience a film that truly entertains across generations. Come dressed in Elf/festive attire. Admission is FREE with donations of nonperishable food items to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center food pantry. 1 p.m.
Dec. 11 Christmas at the Inns: Tour some of Newport’s best known inns and bed and breakfasts decorated for the holidays. 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 OceanCliff’s 10th Annual Holiday Gala: A festive evening of food, cocktails and holiday cheer at the 1892 oceanfront estate. Cocktail hour upon arrival followed by a three-course dinner and live entertainment. 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 Linden Place’s Holiday Family Free Event: Enjoy a fireside musical performance by holiday handbell ringers in the ballroom with cookies and hot cocoa followed by Santa’s arrival from the North Pole inside the historic mansion. Children can write letters to Santa and pose for a holiday photo with the man himself. Finish off the day with a tour of the decorated house complete with artifacts and old-fashioned toys from long ago. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Dec. 14 Holiday Farmer’s Market at Mount Hope Farm: Featuring local artisans alongside your favorite market vendors taking place in both the barn and greenhouse with festive features throughout the day. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Dec. 15 Holiday Drag Brunch with the Trailer Park Girls: It's time to find out who made the nice list and who's on the naughty list. The fabulous cast of performers will take you through a Trailer Park Girls Christmas Story. Seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Dec. 15 St. Petersburg Men's Ensemble in Concert: This talented quartet will present a dazzling concert of Russian choral music, folk songs and popular music spanning centuries at Newport’s Emmanuel Church. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dec. 15 Christmas Open House at Glen Manor House: Holiday décor, refreshments and entertainment will spread yuletide cheer at this John Russel Pope-designed French chateau style home-turned-event-venue. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Santa arrives at 2:45 p.m.)
Dec. 8 Special Screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at the Jane Pickens Theater: Sure to deliver the holiday spirit, come see this classic tale of Clark and Ellen Griswold and family (don’t forget cousin Eddie). 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 48th Annual Christmas in Newport Candlelight Tour of Historical Private Homes: Experience the rare opportunity to tour private homes of note in Newport. (Please no children 10 or under and no high heels.)
Please note: This is just a sampling of holiday events in the destination. Event dates and details are subject to change. For more, please visit DiscoverNewport.org.