141 Spring Street
Newport, RI 02840
A lot of famous people have worshiped at Trinity from George Washington to the Vanderbilt family. Many sailors have used Trinity’s steeple to navigate by, and its presence in downtown Newport is powerful. In many ways, Trinity is an excellent example of the old Episcopal church full of well-bred and well-born WASPS and the new church, full of diversity and openness, trapped in a very puritan building.
Trinity will surprise first-time attendees because of its interior. Very similar to the Congregational or puritan church of old, Trinity’s pulpit is dead center in the central aisle rising way above the congregation, in fact, blocking the alter from many in the quaint “stall” like pews which each family occupies and newcomers struggle with opening and closing. Fortunately, ushers are extremely helpful at communion time. The congregation takes the slogan the Episcopal Church welcomes you, sincerely and once you are on their email list, you will want to figure Newport into as many sail plans as you can. I was there once, and before I knew it, I was receiving their email, receiving all sorts of welcomes from the assistant rector and being delighted to learn that Pokémon Go was welcome on the grounds. Trinity is indeed an inclusive parish, of historical significance and well worth a Sunday morning stop.
Sail into the harbor, hail Old Port Marine, pull a mooring and you are all set, the church is an easy walk from where the launch drops you off. Of particular note is the church’s Mass on the Grass which is held outside on the first Sunday of July August and September. An excellent idea that will not deter you from visiting the church – there are always tours after every service and well worth the time.
Since the gilded age, Newport has been a vacation mecca, but long before the mansions of the Astors and the Vanderbilts, Newport was an important port. Founded in 1639 it was and remains one of the most significant natural harbors on the East Coast. There is no shortage of things to see here. Just the stroll to Trinity is packed with narrow streets and pre-colonial buildings. Not surprisingly there is a large number of restaurants to choose from for brunch, lunch or dinner. All the restaurants along the harbor are satisfactory if not exceptional, but be warned Newport gets very crowded in July and August, and that is true of the restaurants as well. If you have time and want to get away from the crowded colonial part of town walk up to 176 Bellevue to Annies’. This small restaurant has good food in a diner type of setting. Annie’s is on the same block as the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which boast a tennis museum. After brunch, if you are feeling very energetic and you don’t need to cast-off, you can walk down Bellevue to the famous mansions of Newport.