Ever since I first saw Mike Connor and Elizabeth Embry stride into the elegant south parlor of a Newport Mansion in the film High Society, I knew there was something special about Rhode Island. High Society – AKA the greatest film ever made – introduced me to the sultry pleasures of the Newport Jazz Festival, sailing on Narragansett Bay as clams bake on the grill and leisurely tours of Bellevue Avenue’s magnificent mansions in Uncle Willy’s convertible SL 190.
There’s nothing I don’t like about ‘High Society’ so I’m fairly sure there’s nothing to dislike about Newport. I could care less that much of the movie was filmed on a Culver City studio sound stage in LA. I just know Newport is for me. Heck, even our formal living room is called the South Parlor by all who visit. What other sign do I need?
So naturally, our search for a weekend home must begin in Newport County, RI. With USD$100,000 to spend we may not be bidding for the Astor family cottage ‘Beechwood’ but I bet we can uncover a cozy New England gem close by. Here goes.
PORTSMOUTH, Newport County, RI
This two bedroom cottage on Ormerod Ave in historic Portsmouth couldn’t have more potential. Minutes from Sandy Point – Portsmouth’s child friendly beach – and a perfect base to explore the local restaurants and antique stores. Interestingly the nearby Portsmouth harbor is the home of US Sailing and the town the Newport Polo Series. There’s so much to see and do, what’s not to love?
A white picket fence and some freshly sown lawn would quickly enhance the exterior of this cottage and those lovely pencil pines won’t encumber the sunshine. I can already see our beach towels drying on the stair rail in summer.
OK, so the interior needs some renovation and that doesn’t concern me one bit. How much work is required is hard to tell. To me it looks clean and original, the best kind of place to renovate.
I’ll take it.
TIVERTON, Newport County, RI
As my pal Kelly Green will attest, Tiverton has been on our real estate radar for some years. The house prices are bouncing back since foreclosures began in the US and it looks to us it’s getting harder to find a bargain ($50,000 homes are a thing of the past which of course is so good for Tiverton’s inhabitants and investors). And why wouldn’t Tiverton go forward when it is so well placed for weekend commuters from Providence RI or Boston MA. Sure Tiverton’s Fogland beach can get breezy but I’ve always thought we could be keen windsurfers.
This Hooper Street cottage looks like it’s in such good nick, I want to call the Realtor right now and buy it sight unseen. Clean floors, white walls and endless potential. It’s a splash over budget but it could be worth the stretch.
I’ll take it.
I don’t mind that these cottages aren’t in Newport proper. I’m more Elizabeth Embry than Tracy Lord anyway. So it’s fine by me.