Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the last bastions of American high society. The grand Gilded Age houses that top its oceanside cliffs and line storied Bellevue Avenue are largely untouched by contemporary renovation and taste, and family heirlooms are passed down from generation to generation with Yankee thrift. Indeed, Newport has an understated elegance that sets it apart from other resort towns. Life behind the facades of these elaborate mansions is rarely revealed, but now, photographer Nick Mele and author Ruthie Sommers, both lifelong Newport residents, share their entrée into the parties, lawn tennis matches, beach clambakes, and family gatherings that make up the glorious days of a Newport summer. Picture the foggy mornings of June, the traditional yacht races of July, the annual meeting of old friends at Marble House in August, and the melancholy close of the season after Labor Day. Through Sommers’s personal, evocative text and Mele’s exquisite photographs of people, parties, beaches, and houses, the intimate charms of A Newport Summer come poignantly to life.
Ruthie Sommers is an interior designer and painter. Her work has appeared in Town & Country, Veranda, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, and many other publications. She splits her time between Aspen, Colorado; Goleta, California; and Newport, where she spends every summer.
Nick Mele is a lifestyle, fashion, commercial, and interiors photographer who Veranda magazine called “a modern-day Slim Aarons.” His work has been featured in many print and online publications, including Town & Country, the New York Times, Avenue, Quest, Architectural Digest, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Among his commercial clients are Ralph Lauren, Sam Edelman, J. McLaughlin, and Lilly Pulitzer. Mele grew up in Edith Wharton’s Newport house and divides his time between Newport in the summer and Palm Beach in the winter.
“Now a newly published photography book takes us behind the scenes of one of the last bastions of American high society. A Newport Summer features images by society photographer and Newport native Nick Mele and essays written by Ruthie Sommers, an interior designer who married into its near-aristocratic social scene. Through their eyes, we see that life inside the Bellevue Avenue cottages has remained largely unchanged since Edith Wharton’s depiction of its parties and lawn tennis matches…”
“New coffee table book celebrates the timeless American luxury of Newport. . . a stunning collection of everyday life inside the grand Gilded Age houses that line Bellevue Avenue and top the city’s oceanside cliffs.”