I could barely put my shirt on much less strike a pose last week! Back pain was plaguing me and even climbing the 26 steps to my apartment was a challenge. But a three-day long fairytale wedding in Newport, Rhode Island had been on my calendar for over a year. There was no way I was going to miss it! After three acupuncture sessions in as many days, my back was good enough to make the Friday morning 2:00 pm train from Penn Station to Kingston, RI.
When most people hear, “Newport, Rhode Island” they think grand mansions, the Vanderbilts, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and The Great Gatsby. For me Newport means that, but also something more. Twenty years ago, a grateful and very generous client gave me a weekend in Newport at a charming B&B overlooking the rocky Cliff Walk. This gift coincided with my spouse at the time and I in much need of a quiet weekend away from our two little ones.
I remember the freshest seafood! Restaurants like Black Pearl, Sale and Upscale, and The Mooring surpassed any previous standards I had for seafood. That weekend Newport became for me… a foodie town through and through.
I even laugh as I remember us running back to the B&B so we didn’t miss 5 o’clock Tea. The perfect English scones, the sinful Devonshire clotted cream, the obligatory crust-less cucumber sandwiches and the steaming Earl Grey with just the right amount of milk made the Newport weekend become one of our favorite memories.
Ah, but I digress. Fast forward to Wedding Weekend May 2017. This time in Newport I was with a group of friends for a very dear associate’s wedding. The mood felt quite “Big Chill” with eight of us 40 and 50 somethings descending upon the town. We rented a cozy little house that was situated ideally for long walks. We wandered through picture perfect neighborhoods, strolled by rows of historical homes and admired manicured gardens.
One morning, we meandered long enough to happen upon a pair of vintage clothing stores. I love vintage shopping! All that was old is new again! I’m sure it was watching all those French movies when I was growing up--Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider, Jeanne Monroe and Simone Signoret—I was obsessed!
Both shops, side by side, were owned by the same person. Vintage to Vogue was filled with couture recovered from the Newport rich and famous. We quickly engaged Joanne, the saleswoman, who was obviously charmed by this crazy bunch of gay, fashion savvy New Yorkers. Although Joanne swore she was born and raised in Rhode Island, her Flushing accent was reminiscent of Fran Drescher in The Nanny.
The store next door, filled with Gucci and Burberry finds, was closed. We turned up the charm and nearly begged Joanne for an exception. “Please, can you open the shop early?” She phoned the owner and simply said, “The Gays are here!"
The rest is history! Hats, evening bags, earrings, and cufflinks were purchased as we howled and laughed with Joanne through the racks and shelves.
With our treasures wrapped and ready, Joanne saw us out of the shop. Her nasal voice screeched, “Goodbye!” just long enough for all of us to become hysterical school boys again.
So, if you are in Newport, go visit Vintage to Vogue, strike a pose for Joanne and tell her that Mo & Crew sent you. I bet she would love to have a cup of cawfee with you.