The holiday season is here

By Helena Touhey

From the editor ~ Nov/Dec 2023

A portrait of sufganiyot, a traditional donut dessert made and enjoyed during Hannukah.

Dear readers,

As I write this, the temperature outside is 34 degrees. Yesterday morning, it was 42. Winter, as we love to say, is coming — and with it, the holiday season, just in time to brighten the darkest days of the year and remind us of the warmth that comes from gathering together.

The stories within these pages, all assigned in late summer, collectively represent the richness of the cultures here in Newport County. Our cover story (beautifully illustrated by my colleague, Emilee Angell), explores a most delicious holiday tradition: dessert. From Chinese New Year cookies to Christmas rolls, Channukah donuts to churros, we span Italy, Denmark, France, Israel, China and Latin America.

Then there is a story on the current “Celestial City” exhibition at Rosecliff, which explores the ways Chinese culture has intersected — and influenced — Newport society, notably during the Gilded Age, from the wealthy on Bellevue Avenue, to the working class along Thames Street. There are stories of treasures unearthed by curators at the Preservation Society; of American and Chinese suffragists coming together; of a Chinese immigrant community that settled in Newport, opening restaurants and laundries; of contemporary artists and academics shedding light on history while reflecting intercultural collaboration.

Our profile subject reflects another element of local culture: the maritime community. Clare Harrington, Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, is first woman to hold that title, and to reach such ranks within the longstanding institution. She speaks of generational changes that will put more women in leadership positions, as well as design changes within the world of sailing, some of which will be on display next summer during the America’s Cup in Barcelona.

Bob Curley takes us through Tiverton and Little Compton in his latest exploring column, places rich in landscape and steeped in old New England culture, that of pastoral farming and a quiet, semi-remote life. As autumn makes way for winter, these communities offer seasonal adventures — and quite a few shops for finding special gifts.

On that note: this issue also features our annual gift guide, highlighting suggestions for all sorts of people in your life, and spotlighting shops from Bristol to Portsmouth, Tiverton to Newport. This year, we offer four themes: gifts to wear, gifts to serve, gifts for the home, and gifts to soothe.

This holiday season, I encourage you to seek out a tradition different than your own, even if it’s as simple as sampling a new dessert (a task I am, personally, always up for), because the world is a better place when we all come together in celebration — and support — of our differences.

I, along with the entire Newport Life team, wish you a warm and cozy rest of the year.

Until January,


Managing Editor

This cover features original artwork by Newport Life staff member Emilee Angell.

p.s. Wondering where to find the magazine? Check out this list of retail locations:

p.p.s. Interested in subscribing? You can do that here: