The day before Thanksgiving I eagerly piled my kids into the car and set off for Newport to visit the newly opened Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Visitors' Center and George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom. We were disappointed to discover that the center was closed for the season, but even further disappointed to learn from several Newport natives that the center was only open in August and there are no plans to open it at any other time during the year. A staff member at the Newport Historical Museum told us that "dozens of people have come here asking why the Loeb Center is not open and we have no answer for them." She then directed us to the NHM's Jewish colonial history exihibit and was very helpful in directing us to other sites of import to Jewish colonial history in Newport.
Across the street, a gas station owner told us that the Loeb Center was tied up in political bickering and so many, like us, came and were disappointed to find the facility closed. I left with the impression that the Loeb Center's neighbors were well used to fielding questions about its lack of accessibility.
Despite this, we had a great day walking along the streets and wharves of Newport, eating at The Black Pearl and relaxing in Touro Park. My favorite spot was the Redwood Library, a beautiful period building that still functions as the town's public library.
Newport is famous for so many historical eras and to walk her streets is to walk through all of these time periods at once. It is a fascinating place that I hope to visit again soon. And maybe then the Loeb Center will be open!