“The Great Gatsby Tour 2013” Newport & Lincoln, Rhode Island! August 2nd - 4th, 2013

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The weekend of August 2nd – 4th, 2013 proved to be “action packed”, as Newport, Rhode Island prepared itself for its busiest weekend of the summer. There are so many Newport RI attractions, that it would take you months to see them all. “The City by the Sea” is a true tourist’s paradise. The Yankee Region Rolls-Royce, Modern Car Society and Martha’s Vineyard Sports & Touring Clubs, met for an exciting “sampling” of Newport and nearby Lincoln RI for a weekend of fun!

This sold out tour began with members arriving at our meet hotel, The Ramada in Middletown, RI. The Ramada proved to be a perfect location for our gathering, as it is centrally located with a sizeable parking lot. After everyone settled in, we gathered for a Welcome Reception in our private function room, where we enjoyed a five course dinner. It was the perfect time to renew old friendships and make new ones.

Early Saturday morning, a detail clinic in the hotel parking lot offered the first glimpse of our most impressive collection of motorcars. Five Pre-War and Thirty-six Post-War Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles certainly drew attention, as owner’s spiffed-up their rides prior to our morning drive.

Newport’s legendary Ten Mile Drive, (or just “The Drive”) to locals, encompasses most of the southern coastline of the island. This area use to be farmland, but today is one of the most popular Newport attractions. Although we could have spent the entire day cruising and enjoying the stunning views, we had an appointment at Rosecliff mansion on famed Bellevue Avenue. Rosecliff was built for a Nevada silver heiress and designed by architect Stanford White. The Gatsby Mansion in the 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, was actually filmed at Rosecliff Mansion. As you can imagine the parking lot at Rosecliff was packed with our impressive motorcars. With the weather cooperating, many chose to have an impromptu tailgate and enjoy lunch after their mansion tour.
Next stop was to historic Glen Farm in nearby Portsmouth, RI. Glen Farm is the home of Newport’s International Polo Series, where Team USA, would match-off with Team Italy. The grand entrance to the polo grounds is known as Linden Lane. The “Lane” is lined by 130 year old linden trees that form a living canopy, with field stone walls which separate the lane from surrounding fields. For our afternoon of fun, we had sixty feet of prime frontage mid-field. With pop-up tents and “the magic grill”, with Team Gaetano and Grill-master Manny Cunard, tour participants enjoyed a grand tailgate feast. Passed hor’d oeuvres of grilled shrimp and chicken were served. Dessert followed with specialty fruit tarts, chocolate mousse and chocolate covered strawberries.
The match itself was exhilarating, with live action just steps away. Tour participants made an experience during half-time, where they eagerly participated in “divot stomping”. It was also the perfect setting for a group picture. . . . . “Everyone say cheese”! Oh, and if you are wondering who won . . . Team USA pulled off a most impressive win!
After a brief stop back at the hotel to freshen up, we were off to feast ocean-side at The Atlantic Beach Club, (referred to by locals as The ABC Club), for lobsters in the rough. There is something so quintensenally “summer” about eating messy with a requisite bib. When the meal arrives to a bright red perfection, everyone knows that the true experience is a hands on proposition. We were all pleasantly surprised as an unexpected fireworks display offered the perfect backdrop for our meal.
After check out from The Ramada on Sunday, we traveled north caravan style to Lincoln, RI for a visit to Hearthside House. Hearthside House is a stately historic museum which is located along Great Road, one of the country’s earliest colonial highways. Hearthside House c. 1810, was built by Stephen Hopkins Smith and is considered one of the finest examples of Federal-style architecture in RI. The property is surrounded by 118 acres of pastoral farmland. Here we enjoyed an afternoon of Roaring 20’s fashions, live jazz music, tours of the house and an English style picnic. Tour participants dressed in their best Gatsby attire, where Nancy Dias of Little Compton, RI won “Best Gatsby Hat” and was awarded with a bottle of Moet Chandon champagne by Kathy Hartley, Museum Curator.
Hearthside House was the residence of former RROC member Andrew Mowbray (1927-1996). Mr. Mowbray was an avid antique car collector and enthusiast, especially of Roll-Royce and Bentley motorcars. Mr. Mowbray and his 1922 Roll-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost, Salamanca (S111BG), which once belonged to beer tycoon August Busch, appeared in the movie “The Great Gatsby”, when it was filmed in Newport forty years ago.
In addition to our museum house tour, a special exhibit including memorabilia from the filming of the movie, as well as images of the Rolls- Royce used in the film was on display. Radio talk show host Paul Zangari, who worked behind the scenes on the set of the movie The Great Gatsby, as an expert mechanic was available to share stories about the filming.
Our weekend of fun seemed to just fly by. We were truly pleased that so many chose to attend and hope that everyone enjoyed their time in RI.
Special thanks to Yankee Region Chairman, Christopher Whitley and all attending Executive Committee members; Gus Niewenhous, Bill Reynolds, Mark Harrison, Bill Strachman, Michelle Dickson, Michael Gaetano, Gatsby Tour Co-Chairman, as well as; Matt Sysak, Past RROC-National Club President, John Palmer, RROC-National Board Member, RROC National & MCS Technical Advisor and Jim Fascinelli, RROC-MSC Chairman.

Michael F. Gaetano, Gatsby Tour Co-Chairman
Nancy Corrigan Wilbert, Gatsby Tour Co-Chairman
Images: Zachery Holme Photography

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