Socrates Vavolotis, ShoreX Supervisor Newport, Rhode Island
What makes you a local?
Over decades, I have experienced the sights, sounds and smells of Newport, both as a spectator and contributor. In my younger years, I performed as a professional musician at some of the city’s trendiest venues, many of which I still recommend to visitors today. In addition, boating has been an important part of my life and I have exhibited at the world-famous Newport International Boat Show. The local culture, rich diversity and its vibrant international community constantly drew me back; until I decided to settle in Rhode Island 27 years ago and have since been an active member of the community.
Those who know Newport, know that its heartbeat is sailing – and I have competed in sailing competitions here since I was ten years old – nurturing my love for the maritime industry and fostering great friendships at the port. I am a long time member of the prestigious Ida Lewis Yacht Club where I serve on a race committee that is made up of key figures in the community. We oversee the weekly sailing competition; a time-honored tradition dating back more than a century.
Describe how Newport affects your senses?
Newport is all about the sea life; the sight of fresh seafood being delivered to the restaurants, the sound of seagulls overhead and the aromatic waft of open grills cooking the catch of the day. The energy here is contagious, especially around the harbor, which is a hub of activity with the most beautiful yachts in the world all vying for position to be part of the spectacular landscape.
Further back from the harbor is equally impressive; with some of America’s historically wealthy families having constructed mansions that display the city’s eclectic mix of diverse architecture, such as the Marble House and The Breakers mansion.
What do you love about this destination? What would you recommend to others?
Newport offers diversity unmatched anywhere in the world and provides a colorful experience, regardless if it’s your first or 100th visit. It is rich in historical preference and has hosted some of America’s most renowned dignitaries, including President George Washington when he visited Newport’s Trinity Church; President Eisenhower who maintained his summer home here and of course, President JFK & First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who married in Newport.
Because of its reputation for sailing, Newport has a strong international presence and it’s not uncommon to find the crews of foreign private yachts gathering here, resulting in a buzzing nightlife with colorful international patrons at the local taverns & restaurants all season long. This was especially true during previous America’s Cup competitions, where the world’s best sailing teams came to Newport to battle it out for “Auld Mug” (the affectionate name given to the America’s Cup trophy).
Newport is more than a world-class sailing port; it also has other iconic sporting venues that host famous events, such as the Newport Country Club, which is one of the oldest PGA sanctioned golf courses in America and the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which hosts very competitive tennis tournaments that attract world ranked players.
What do you enjoy about your Intercruises role?
I enjoy my work as it is challenging & rewarding; Pier Supervision requires a unique set of skills, it is extremely people oriented and has many changing parts that are constantly in motion. I enjoy working with the team around me as they are a mixture of seasoned professionals that possess dynamic people skills, with a flair for adventure and local lore – helping us offer cruise guests a unique glimpse into Newport; past, present, and future.
What does the future hold?
Newport continues to attract cruise guests, and as a result, we have seen a significant enterprising effort in upgrading infrastructure and facilities – more and more waterfront development is taking place, which will help establish Newport as one of the premier cruise destinations on the east coast.