2017-08-03 / Opinion


The World Comes to City by the Sea

So much goes on during the summer months that it’s easy to overlook that Newport is a destination to more than New Englanders, East Coasters, or even Americans. We are an international destination, maybe more than we realize.

We are the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, but it is more than just a name. The recent list of inductees included a former player from Belgium and a former player from the Netherlands, who spent time here with their families and friends. Earlier this year, the National Tennis Club held the annual U.S. Professional Championship here, which featured players from Australia and Europe.

What else do we have? There is the Newport International Polo Series, which has played or had matches scheduled with teams from Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica, and Peru to name a few. Players and perhaps even their families came from those countries, though the horses are local from the stables at the Glen, in Portsmouth.

Newport has always been known as a sailing mecca for sailors from around the world. This summer is no different. Later this month, Aug. 21-26, the New York Yacht Club and the Newport Shipyard will be hosting the elegant and billowing J Class World Championship. Then, in 2018, Newport will again be in the sailing spotlight when Sail Newport hosts the only North American stopover for the Volvo Around the World.

At the Newport Shipyard’s Belle’s CafĂ©, it’s like an international melting pot, listening to the chatter of the super yacht’s crews and craftsmen, those who repair and service them. We’re not called the Sailing Capital of the World without reason.

And then we have IYRS (International Yacht Restoration School), IYAC (International Yacht and Athletic Club, where the Irish and Scotch whiskey options are plentiful), and probably a few that we missed.

In addition to the sporting side of things, there is our spot on the international music stage. People from around the world, either live or through online or radio streaming, annually enjoy the increasingly popular and successful Newport Folk Festival. We expect that the same will be true for this week’s Jazz Festival. Justifiably, both festivals have long been internationally recognized.

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the more classical arts such as the Newport Music Festival, where numerous international classical musicians have made their American debuts. The lineup for this year’s Newport Music Festival featured cellists, flutists, violinists and pianists from Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Sweden, Russia and Germany. Our local Island Moving Company of modern dance professionals has even participated in an international exchange under the sponsorship of the U.S. Consulate, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Finally, the Preservation Society of Newport County and its famed Gilded Age mansions attract thousands of international visitors, and their audio tours in French, Spanish, and German are a testament to how popular Newport is as an international destination.

So, as you go about your day, lift your head a little higher and know that you live, or work, or are visiting in a place that is revered around the world. We’re not just a city by the sea, but a world by the sea.

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