Be A Summer VIP

Indulge in life's finer things this summer


No yacht club membership? No problem. You don’t need to be a bankrolled blueblood to afford the spoils of the East Bay. From wining and dining to sailing as the sun sets over the bay, here’s your go-to guide to enjoy “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.” Clink, clink.

A Hole In One
So you didn’t make it to Augusta to see Aussie Adam Scott earn the coveted greenjacket. Not to worry — the CVS Charity Classic, an annual event hosted by Barrington’s own Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade at the prestigious Rhode Island Country Club; is your chance to perfect your golf clap and rub elbows with PGA superstars likeRicky Fowler and Bubba Watson. Held June 23-25, a $50 ticket to the Wine Pavilion promises the VIP experience including a spectacular vantage point between the 16th and 17th fairways, close-up views of tournament play and Narragansett Bay, a VIP tent with comfortable seating, delicious pairings of fine food and award-winning Constellation Wines daily, a private entrance into the pavilion (what VIP doesn’t love private entrance?) and tournament guides to follow your favorite players.

For ladies looking to perfect their swing, Ledgemont Country Club in Seekonk isoffering a new women only Intro to Golf clinic called “Sips & Swings” (open to members and the public). Taking place each Wednesday at 6:30pm from June 5 through July 10 (excluding July 3), Ledgemont will offer the series of clinics conducted by their PGA Head Professional and his teaching staff followed by heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. For more information, call 508-761-6600.

Set Sail On An Adventure
Prepping, painting, provisioning, oh my! Leave the hassle of boat ownership behind when you join Freedom Boat Club, where members have access to the club’s fleet in Warwick, Portsmouth and Newport (and at clubs nationwide). Wind Hawk, part of Freedom’s fleet, is a 27-foot Hunter Sloop that can accommodate up to six passengers. Summer winds can take you on a northern jaunt to historic Battleship Cove, a sail over to picturesque Bristol, an excursion through Newport Harbor or a picnic cruise to Jamestown’s Mackerel Cove. Standard membership costs include a $5,900 one-time joining fee plus $299 per month over 12 months, or a $3,300.00 annual payment instead of monthly. “Buddy memberships” might be your best bet: sign up with a friend, split the $8,820 joining fee and pay $199 per buddy, per month. Another option? Set your watch to SailTime, where one person owns a boat and shares it with a half-dozen other folks one season at a time. In a seasonal base like Rhode Island, each of the half-dozen members pays a single annual fee and gets a certain amount of “sailtimes” per month over a six month season. Sailtimes are managed by an online system to keep it fair and square. Cost varies with the size and age of the boat, which are docked at Cove Haven Marina in Barrington, but can start as low as $2,990. 

Get Red, White And Beautiful
Sure you can slip on flip flops and patriotic garb for your base camp along Hope Street on the big day, but VIPs get red, white and beautiful on June 29 at the annual Bristol Fourth of July Ball. Sip cocktails in the elegant waterside event tent at the Herreshoff Marine Museum as the sun begins to set over Bristol Harbor. The festivities kick off with the traditional Grand March featuring current and past Grand Marshalls and area dignitaries. Next it’s time for an exquisite dinner by Blue Rocks Catering followed by dancing the night away. Feting the oldest continuous celebration in the country (established in 1785), the ball welcomes nearly 300 supporters sporting everything from tuxes and tails to gowns and crowns (on Miss Fourth of July and Little Miss Fourth of July, naturally). Tickets are just $85 — a small price to pay for a swanky night while supporting “America’s most patriotic town.” 

Speaking of the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, regulars know that in order to get a prime spot for the best viewing, you either have to wake up at the crack of dawn to claim your stake or know someone with a coveted Hope Street home. VIPs need not worry however; they can head over to the annual picnic at historic Linden Place, the 1810 Federal mansion in the heart of town that was featured (albeit briefly) in the 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Located directly on the parade route, picnic guests have reserved bleacher-style seating to take in all the revelry and will be properly nourished throughout the day courtesy of a continental breakfast and picnic lunch. Oh, and the best part? Ample space and private powder rooms!

Take In The Ocean View
Hotel, schmotel. VIPs need room to stretch their legs, so why wouldn’t they retreat to a historic island gem in the middle of Narragansett Bay? The Rose Island Lighthouse (pictured right), a mile off shore between Newport and Jamestown, welcomes overnight guests for one-night, two-night or weekly stays. An operational museum from 10am to 4pm daily, once the last boat leaves for the day, the two museum bedrooms on the first floor become available for overnight “keepers” who want to step back in time to experience turn-of-the-century lighthouse life first-hand. Think: Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman but with 360° water views. Sure you have to bring in your own provisions, but with an onsite barbeque and comfy Adirondack chairs, go “glamping” with a few N.Y. Strips and bottles of bubbly. 

Horse Around
Even the Pretty Woman herself loved stomping a divot or two, so why not you? The Newport International Polo Series has become a staple of the summer season and is a guaranteed good time when surrounded by friends, food and fine libations (because there’s tailgating, and there’s polo tailgating). Regulars know to get a good spot means either arriving early or reserving a tailgate space in advance (they go fast), but if lugging tables, chairs and elegant eatables just sounds too exhausting, let us introduce you to the Patron Table Season Pass. For a cool grand, you can arrive at Glen Farm just in time for the match where you’ll be escorted to your own reserved table within the Subscribers’ Enclosure with nine of your closest pals (table seats ten) on the lawn, porch, decks or under the tent. Enjoy “bevvies” from the full-service Twisted Pony bar. 

Meet The Rockstars
Any “Hot Blooded” high-rolling rocker will want appreciate the rare opportunity to see Foreigner in an intimate setting. The Smoke House VIP Package offers that rare chance before their show at the Newport Yachting Center. It “Feels Like the First Time” with a premium ticket to see Foreigner, a reception before the show at the Smoke House Restaurant with the band, appetizers created from recipes by lead singer Kelly Hansen, a Wente Vineyards wine sampling, complimentary cocktails, an acoustic performance by band members, plus a meet and greet, photo op, limited edition laminated pass and limited edition autographed CD available only to VIP Package purchasers. 

Fly High
Leave mansion hopping by foot to the hoi polloi — VIPs take to the sky aboard Bird’s Eye View helicopter tours to take in breathtaking views of Rosecliff (where the 1974 Great Gatsby was filmed), Marble House, The Elms, Hammersmith Farm (where JKF and Jackie O toasted their wedding) and many famous “summer cottages” of the rich and famous. Packages start at $65 per person. 

Toes In Sand, Drink In Hand
Is there any better way of ordering your seaside cocktail while soaking up rays in your bikini than with a simple raising of your hand? Channel your inner Greta Garbo by tossing on a pair of large round sunnies and a wide brim hat, then hop on the new high speed Block Island Ferry service from downtown Newport to “the Block.” Head to Ballard’s Beach Club, just steps from the ferry landing, and spring for a lounger and umbrella to perch along their private beach (stay close to the bar for a spirited experience or head a little further away for a more tranquil time). Beach servers are happy to bring your favorite frozen drinks, tropical cocktails or frosty beers right to your beach chair. 

Follow The Trail to Wine Country
Swirl, sniff and sip your way along the Coastal Wine Trail which winds through the heart of the Southeastern New England Wine Growing Appellation highlighting nine area vineyards. Create a weekend getaway to experience the similarities and differences of each varietal and get your Coastal Wine Trail passport stamped at each vineyard along the way. Submit your passport by December 31, 2013 with stamps from two to eight wineries to qualify for prizes (drawing will be held in January 2014). The trail extends as far south as Watch Hill all the way to Truro Vineyards at the very tip of Provincetown, MA. Join the wine clubs (each vineyard has its own version) for access to discounts, private tastings and exclusive events.