Bucolic Luncheon for the “Whips” at Greenvale Vineyards: a Regal Coaching Ball at The Breakers

Coaching at Chateau-sur-Mer

Newport was transported back to the l9th century, the nostalgic best of it, as coaches and teams of four rolled down Bellevue Avenue, along the beaches, through Middletown and Portsmouth, to the delight of passers-by. The Third Triennial Coaching Weekend had begun, and a Newport tradition was being recreated.

The favored transport of The Wetmores, the Bells, the Vanderbilts and the Belmonts, the coaches, their owners, whips, and passengers took place in a thrilling historical pageant.

Walter and India Eayrs at Greenvale


As the coaches rumbled down the country lane to the beautiful waterfront of Greenvale Vineyards, hosts Nancy Parker, and Nancy and William Wilson, he of the Preservation Society Board, made sure that all were welcomed, and that the tent was in readiness.  The sun shone, the hats were superb, the costumes delightful.  The best comment came from Whip Walter Aeyrs, who asked his groom to ”fetch the bottle of chilled Taittinger from the boot.” It was that sort of afternoon.

Trudy Coxe and Diana Slocum

 John Richards, former President of The Coaching Society of England, drove Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt’s coach, the Venture explaining that the British revere Mr. Vanderbilt.  Louis Piancone, President of the Coaching Society of America, gave the welcome to all the aficionados of coaching. Under the tent, a lovely seated luncheon was served.

John Richmond, Diana Slocum, Pierre Irving


Oatsie Charles arrived late, Diana Slocum spoke with Preservation Society President Trudy CoxePierre Irving moved around, Frolic Weymouth chatted, Vivian Spencer, assistant to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, arrived with daughter Andrea Ahorn, and Ridgely Beck spoke with Bill Wilson.

Coach arriving at Chateau-sur-Mer

The Coaching Ball at The Breakers Honors Tradition and Decorum of the Horse-Drawn Conveyance

A single white wave arose at dusk behind the Breakers, rolling majestically toward Cliff Walk, towering and mysterious, just as guests were arriving for the Coaching Ball, given by the Preservation Society of Newport County.  The wave hinted at enchantment, a dislocation of time and space, a journey to a mystical world.


Donald Tofias, Frolic Weymouth, Kimberly Skeen Jones at Greenvale

And the Ball became that world, as  540 guests attended the distinguished dinner party in the fabled rooms of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s former home, recreating the Gilded Age grandeur of receptions and galas past.


Countess Gladys Szápáry appeared in a wine-colored gown, looking to see that everything was perfect.  The footman, Corporal Brandon Aglio, of the Newport Artillery Company, in an authentic livery, stood at the welcoming table.  And the whips, grooms, and officers of the Coaching Clubs of England and America came in tails and tuxedos, their ladies in exquisite creations. 


Misdee Miller

Chairman of The Coaching Club of England, William Ginns, escorted Martha Hunnewell, as past chairman John Richards spoke with guests about the weekend’s activities.  Present were President of the American Coaching Club Louis Piancone, Mr. and Mrs. George Baker, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Gewirz, and  the Honorable Esmond Harmsworth, who sat at Countess Szápáry’s table.  Chairman of the Board Pierre Dupont Irving attended with his wife Kathy Irving, while Ambassador John L. Loeb spoke with Mrs. John Winslow. Ms. Fernanda Kellogg and Shannon Donnelly of the Palm Beach Shiny Sheet, were there in lovely gowns.  Veteran New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham grouped guests for photos, as the interior rooms swelled to capacity, and guest Lisette Prince floated onto the terrace. Linda Lindh, Diana Prince,  and Gladys Szápáry served as Ball Co-Chairman, and Chairman of the entire weekend was David E.P. Lindh

Richard Crisson, Jae French, and Rod O'Hanley


The mysterious wave had subsided by the time dinner was served in the lighted tent, but its spell continued throughout the evening, as guests danced to music of the Bob Hardwick Orchestra. A nostalgic guest program recreated the menu card from the first run of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt’s Venture coach in Brighton, England, on May 4, 1908.  John Richards drove the Venture this year through the streets of Newport Rhode island.


Coach on the Chateau-sur-Mer Drive

Ridgely Beck, Bill Wilson, and Jimmy Coleman

Hostess Nancy Parker of Greenvale & Rob Walker


Jim Gaffney, Mary Riggs & Doug Riggs


Mr.& Mrs. Kenneth Bitting, Conrad & Jodie Rugart


Jean and Sid Gorham


Oatsie Charles with The New York Times' Bill Cunningham


Mrs. William  Wilson, hostess


Elizabeth, Lilie and William van Arsdall


Richard Nelson


John Richards with a vintage Auburn


Coaching on the streets of Newport

Coaching at Chateau-sur-Mer
  Seeing to the horses at Chateau-sur-Mer
A groom in livery
The London to Brighton coach
Coaching at Chateau-sur-Mer


Elegance  at Chateau-sur-Mer


The delights of coaching in  Newport


Umbrella carrier on classic coach at Chateau-sur-Mer


Coaching at Chateau-sur-Mer

Bill and Alison Vareika

 A Regal Coaching Ball at
The Breakers


The mysterious, transporting wave


The elegant dinner tent


Marybeth Walker, Barbara Harger, Robin Shippee & Debbie Kane

The entrance to the Coaching Ball at The Breakers


Corporal Brandon Aglio


Kate Wickham and Rosemary Ponzg


Elaine and Kenneth Lindh


Joe & Diane Okoerfer, Mr. & Mrs. Laurence Trainor


Andrew and Tara Reilly


Jay Page with Melinda Porter


Sterling Banks, Richard Parker, Ellen Halsted & William Staples


Bill Ginns with John and Gemma White

Ginny & Guy Millner



Dale Tatum Mercer

Jonathan & Bettie Pardee, Betsy & Scott Akers



Sarah Gewirz & Carole Ruhlman


Chips Page & Jay Page


Edwin & Dorothy Sheffield


Sean and Alisha Kaufman


Coaching Ball at The Breakers


Kathy Irving & John Richards


Constance Evrard, Lou Fazzano with Les & Carol Ballard


Elizabeth and John Brooks, Henrietta Holsman Ford

smile for Newport Seen



Mikki Micarelli


Rockwell Stensrud


Martha Hunnewell  & Bill Ginns


David & Anne Ford, Pamela Fielder. David R. Ford


Ruth Buchanan, Jane White, Townsend Brown


Robert Boehme, Henry Lynn


Kathy and Ken Read,  Jim Richardson


Trudy Coxe with Lisa Goddard


Misdee Wrigley Miller


Bob Hardwick with vocalist

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