Chrysler 300 Club International
Fall Meet in Newport, RI

September, 2018

As a first time meet host, I enjoyed having the fall meet in the historic colonial seaport of Newport, R.I. To be precise, it is the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" - - - as Michael Burke says, we are the smallest state with the longest name. While Rhode Island may be only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, it has 400 miles of coastline and spectacular views of the ocean. Thanks to all the members who helped make the meet possible, especially Noel Hastalis, Bob Merritt and Gloria Moon, and also those who gave me advice on hosting a meet from their own experiences.

People arrived at the hotel on Sunday. They gathered in the parking lot or the hospitality room and began spending time with old friends and meeting new members. We had great views of the parking lot of 300's and the Newport Bridge from the deck of the hospitality room. Most of us ate at the hotel restaurant that night which had great food.

Monday after breakfast we boarded three trolleys at the hotel and went on a tour of the historic colonial era buildings, including the White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in the US. We saw St. Mary's church where JFK was married, the Hammersmith Farm, the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy, and the Summer White House of President Eisenhower. We then rode along Ocean Drive with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and private mansions on the other side. This included the summer home of Jay Leno. We then drove famous Belleview Avenue which is lined with mansions of the world's wealthiest people in the late 1800's and early 1900's. There are many old and exotic trees and gardens all along the avenue. We toured The Breakers, the largest of the summer cottages with 70 rooms and the most popular tourist attraction in the state. Rain started as we were inside so we boarded the trolleys and headed back to the hospitality room to catch up with old friends. Later that night we had a parts committee meeting at the hotel.

Tuesday we wiped down the 300's and drove to historic Fort Adams. This is the largest coastal fortification in the US. Fort Adams is so big it took 33 years to build (1824 to 1857). We went through the large iron gates and massive granite walls to enter the center court yard of 6 acres of grass field. We toured the officers living quarters and went up to the roof top overlooking the Narragansett Bay as the fog rolled in. We then entered some of the miles of tunnels that surround the fort on the south side. The tunnels were only 4.5 feet high but they felt nice and cool compared to outside.

After Fort Adams, we cruised on scenic coastal roads and crossed Narragansett Bay on the Newport Bridge. That bridge rises to a height of 400 feet above the water as it connects Newport to Jamestown.

In Jamestown we had lunch in local area restaurants as the weather became sunny and warm. We then drove to Beaver Tail Lighthouse and State Park for a walk on the rocky coast with waves crashing on the rocks and fantastic views of the ocean. The surf was better than usual due to the hurricane off the coast of North Carolina. Later that night after dinner everyone attended the business meeting and then some of us sat outside on the hospitality room deck until midnight talking with friends.

Wednesday we had our car show and concours judging at the Newport Auto Museum. The weather was OK for a few hours but then the rain came and everyone went inside to enjoy the large spacious 70+ car museum. Some tried their luck with the driving simulators. Hopefully they had a better experience driving home than they did on the track. We were lucky to be able to use the museum's garage and lift for the concours judging, making it much easier for the judges to do their job. We had a total of 21 Letter cars at the meet along with a few other classic Mopars. Later that night we gathered at the hotel for the awards banquet dinner and then went back to the hospitality room for more fun.

Hosting my first meet -- it was a blast and I'd be glad to do it again.

Our meet host Michael Falcone

Photo credits: Bill Elder, Mike Falcone, Martha & Mick Kreszock, Noel Hastalis,
Dave Larsen, Bob Merritt, Gloria Moon, Mark Obermann, Tony Rinaldi,
Caroll Ripley, Don Verity, George & Carol Zuk.

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