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2011 Summer Newsletter

In This Issue:
Sensational South County Style!
South County Beaches Grace Yankee Magazine's Cover
SCTC celebrates 25th Anniversary
South County Day 2011
A Warm Welcome to Spring and Summer!
Tourism Award to Perry Raso
Discover New England
Women Honoring Women
South County Hotels in the News
New Additions
10th Annual South County Photo Contest
Tourism is...
Secret Beaches wins


Myrna George
Myrna George, SCTC President


South County Tourism Council is honored to celebrate our 25th Anniversary in concert with the unveiling of front cover and a 16-page spread in the July/August 2011 edition of YANKEE MAGAZINE, titled, "Secret Beaches - Why Rhode Islanders Love Their South County Gems."
To have this coincide with our 25th Anniversary year is proof positive that the Council has successfully branded the leisure destination "South County"!Two years of collaboration with Yankee editorial and photojournalist staff, has rewarded the Council's efforts beautifully, with pages exclusively dedicated to the destination "South County."And totaling more than $100,000.00 in free editorial that cannot be bought! I wonder what the Cover is worth?!!!

As tourism planners, developers and marketers the Council must keep at top of mind one simple fact: our visitors do not care about individual town boundaries.  Our destination "South County" benefits businesses within our 449 square mile region without paying dues.  And while individual civic pride is healthy, it does little to support an integrated marketing plan luring visitors to the area.  Why?  Because visitors need more than one reason to visit a region.
A fresh color palette; and rethought artwork accents layered cartography upon the framework of fresh editorial design, has twice brought North American Travel Journalists Association highest honors to South County Style.  While our look has decidedly evolved during the past 25 years, the team behind the scenes has consistently and passionately reached for the best.  Marketing is our nature.  Great creative is our passion.  Over 25 years of award-winning results of integrated, strategic, and measurable marketing communication campaigns that reach beyond local campaigns.  All of this is happening at a time when technology is changing as rapidly as the weather.  Our team is primed and ready not only to utilize the most advanced methods but also to continue to reach for the best on your business' behalf.  
Special thanks to a dedicated Board of Directors and staff for their tireless dedication to creative excellence while keeping a frenzied production schedule.
We haven't stayed ahead of the curve by resting on our award winning laurels or limiting our imagination.  So, what we're mostly interested in is what the next 25 years might hold.  What might the official South County Tourism Council sales & marketing machine of the future look like?  Let's find out.  Can you say YOU-nique? 


South County Beaches Grace Yankee Magazine's Cover

The July/August 2011 edition of Yankee Magazine takes readers on a personalized tour of South County's beaches, beginning with Watch Hill, through Charlestown, Narragansett and into North Kingstown.
Yankee Magazine cover 2011

Yankee Magazine July/August 2011 edition features South County beaches.

The 16-page spread "Secret Beaches: Why Rhode Islanders Love Their South County Gems" begins at the southernmost tip of South County, Watch Hill and the Ocean House and delights in the many personalities of our beaches: from the beauty and history found at Napatree Point Conservation Area, to the children and toddlers cavorting at Misquamicut and Scarborough beaches, the boulders and gulls at Picnic Rock on Quonnie Beach, the windsurfers at Ninigret Pond, the fishing folk at Point Judith and Camp Cronin Fishing Area and the ever-present surfers at Narragansett Town Beach.
Writer Annie Graves takes her readers off the beaten footpath in South County, visiting those places us locals know and love, from the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, Crazy Burger, Tavern by the Sea, Ramblin' Rose Antiques to The Richards B&B.
This is the first time South County has been the subject of a cover article for a national magazine. The 16-page spread includes lengthy editorial and gorgeous photography of the beaches, people and places of the area.
"South County is a state of mind," Graves quotes a woman. "People are ferocious about it."
Graves agrees, describing her search for the perfect South County beach: "Today I'm pursuing the arcing curve of a beach that stretches to the horizon, somewhere I can get lost in the beat of water and warmth of grainy sand in this tiny state that asserts itself like a terrier, claiming the entire ocean as its moniker."
Graves finds peace among the sand, surf and rocks of South County, and a sense of place that brings people back each year. "This crazy mix of beaches and sand and stone is enough to lull the most overwrought 21st century sensibility." 
Pick up a copy and visit for a slide show.


SCTC celebrates 25th Anniversary

at Ocean House in Westerly

Twenty-five years ago the South County Tourism Council was launched with a simple brochure boasting of the area's beauty.

"There are a few people who actually prefer the peace and quiet and natural beauty here," it said, a sentiment that still rings true.

Today, the latest in technology is used to promote the area which retains its scenic character: a mobile website and QR code that can be accessed with smartphones, bringing users directly to the SCTC website.

To celebrate the milestone of 25 years of promoting South County, SCTC hosted a reception at the Ocean House, a Watch Hill landmark that showcased the best South County has to offer.

SCTC President Myrna George opened the reception with praise for the three founders of the council, Joan Abrams, Jack Gaines and Gil Wallander.

Singling out Wallander, who recently passed away, George praised his foresight. "His vision of a vibrant tourism economy throughout South County is manifest today. The results have been stunning."

SCTC 25th Anniversary Celebration

SCTC Board Member Frank Prosnitz, SCTC Board Chairman Bill Bokon, SCTC President Myrna George and SCTC Board Member Loren Spears at the SCTC 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Tourism is now the second largest economic engine in the state. "Over $1,400 per year in local property taxes are not paid by property owners each year because of tourism," George said. "That's how much we can contribute to Rhode Island."

The industry has undergone many changes over the years. "During these past 25 years, we've gotten fresh! We have weathered cries for 'transparency,' and the tourism industry has been transformed," George said. "Today, glad-handing has been replaced with guidelines. Leaders in tourism increasingly come from beyond the bureau world, a real change from a decade ago. Ethics are in, egos are out."

Tourism leaders of today share a competitive nature, a passion for their product and a clear understanding that today's business environment calls for positive innovation and positive action, George detailed. "These leaders are ushering in a new age for the tourism industry, where the ledger books are wide open and the red carpet is unfurling for visitors."

A video featuring footage and photos of South County highlighted the pastoral beauty of the area, from the beaches, parks and farms that comprise the area.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin as well as state Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy sent citations praising SCTC.

SCTC recognized Larry Mouradjian, Associate Director of Natural Resources at DEM, for his efforts managing the thousands of acres of state land in South County, which attracts tourists to the region.

Collaborations with DEM and local communities are vital to the success of SCTC and tourism in our area, noted George. "Working together truly makes great things happen!"



Celebrate South County Day 

The aroma of the quintessential summer beach food, clam cakes, took over the halls of the Rhode Island State House on May 5, for the 19th Annual Celebrate South County Day . . . and the Rest of the State, the kick-off of the 2011 National Tourism Week.

Loren Spears and musician at South County Days
Wesly Jennings demonstrates the Eastern Woodland Cedar Flute at South County Day. Beside him is Loren Spears of the Tomaquag Museum of Exeter.

"South County has a unique quality of place because it is so beautiful and diverse," said Myrna George, president of South County Tourism Council. "Each of our beaches has a personality all its own, and our area also has historical sites, bike paths, nature preserves, arts programs and incredible food."

South County exhibitors offered a "Taste of South County" with food samples including: Aunt Carrie's and George's of Narragansett, Matunuck Oyster Bar of East Matunuck, Yawgoo Bakes and Tomaquag Museum of Exeter.

Offering a delicious version of the South County Tourism region's scallop shell logo was Sweenor's Chocolates with their scallop shell shaped chocolates, to the delight of legislators and general officers. Del's Lemonade provided their signature frozen lemonade.

Representatives from Rhode Island's other tourism bureaus were also in attendance: Blackstone Valley Tourism, Providence/Warwick CVB, Warwick Tourism and Rhode Island Tourism, promoting their respective corners of the state.

A Warm Welcome to Spring

We love the fluffy white stuff as much as anyone, but we were not sad to see it slowly melt away this spring. To celebrate winter's passing, the Council hosted a Vernal Equinox Party at Casey's Bar & Grill on March 21.

Along with friends and colleagues, we bid farewell to the Winter of 2011 and greeted the Spring and Summer of 2011 with its promise of sunny skies and warm weather!

Tourism award to Perry Raso 

of the Matunuck Oyster Bar 

Each year, the South County Tourism Council nominates an individual, business or organziation to be recognized with the Governor's Tourism Acheivement Award. The 26th Annual Rhode Island Tourism Unity Luncheon Award themed "Partnerships & Collaborations" was presented to South County's Perry Raso of the Matunuck Oyster Farm and Restaurant on Wednesday, May 11.


2011 South County Tourism Award

Rhode Island EDC Director Keith Stokes, RI EDC Tourism Director Mark Brodeur, Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Bar and Myrna George, SCTC President at the RI Tourism Unity Luncheon.

Raso, a University of Rhode Island graduate, started the Matunuck Oyster Farm nine years ago, tending the seven-acre farm year round. He forged partnerships with URI, guiding a Coastal Fellows student each year. Two years ago, Raso bought a commercial piece of land with a restaurant adjacent to his oyster farm.

The oyster farmer became a restaurateur. "The way the economy was that year, I got a lot of advice not to open it," Raso said.

Today, the Matunuck Oyster Bar is one of the busiest seafood restaurants in South County. Due to his success, Raso has expanded the dining room and patio to accommodate more patrons.

While most diners appreciate fresh seafood, Raso offers his customers a chance to see the oysters before they reach the plate. Sixty pairs of waders are available year-round to visitors. They can don the fishing garb and wade into Potter Pond from the oyster bar's patio for a guided tour of the farm. During the tour, they can harvest the oysters for their meal at Matunuck Oyster Bar.

Discover New England 

The Discover New England Summit is the only international tourism trade event focused entirely on the New England region. During the International Marketplace, New England hoteliers and attractions, as well as DMO, CVB and state tourism representatives, meet one-on-one with these invaluable international contacts to present their offerings, initiate business discussions and sign contracts.

South County Tourism Council President Myrna George met with top international Tour Operators and U.S. Receptive Operators who arrange New England travel for tens of thousands of overseas consumers each year.

European market representatives were dazzled with the SCTC mobile website because of its mapping capabilities.

Women Honoring Women 

The Domestic Violence Resource Center collaborated with the Courthouse Center for the Arts on the Women Honoring Women luncheon/fashion show honoring women leaders who have contributed significantly to the South County Community.

Honorees included Deborah Wepman, Suzanne Reed, Linda Hennessey, Marty Conrad, Teresa Tanzi, Michelle Little, Betsy Wisehart, Betty Cotter, Margaret Goddard Leeson, Susan Sosnowski, Martha Nailor Whittier and SCTC President Myrna George. 

South County Hotels in the News

The Gateway in Quonset celebrated the opening of South County's newest hotel, The Marriott TownePlace Suites. The 104-room hotel is a registered Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver building, featuring abundant natural lighting, geothermal heating and cooling systems, high-efficiency plumbing, and a commitment to green operations utilizing chemical-free cleaning products, advanced ventilation equipment and recycling.

The hotel suites are designed for both overnight visits and extended stays, featuring separate living, sleeping and working areas, and fully equipped kitchens. There is an on-site fitness room and salt water pool for guests.

Another South County hotel has garnered high praise from the Marriott Corporation. The Residence Inn at the Centre of New England in Coventry, was named the 2010 Residence Inn of the Year.

This Marriott Diamond Hotel was chosen among the 600 Residence Inns operated throughout the United States.

Welcome Aboard!

The South County Tourism Council is pleased to announce the following additions to our board and staff:
Dan Hostettler, President and Managing Director of the Ocean House, has joined our board of directors representing the Town of Westerly.
Also joining our board this winter were Loren Spears of the Tomaquag Museum representing Exeter, Jami Ouellette of Im-aj Communications representing Richmond and David Zapatka representing North Kingstown.
Charlene Ferranti is our new marketing coordinator. She has "many" years of marketing, public relations and media relations experience in higher education and the banking industry. She holds a Masters degree in Organizational Management from Eastern Connecticut State University.  

10th Annual South County Photo Contest

Dust off those cameras and tripods and set your focal point to South County! The South County Tourism Council is sponsoring the 10th Annual Photo Contest with prizes totaling over $1,000 to be awarded to the top eight place photographers.
The Council is looking for memorable photography capturing the people and places of South County during winter, spring, summer and the fall. Snap your favorite moments spent in Charlestown, Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, Westerly and West Greenwich and you could be a winner!
Entries for the 10th Annual South County Photo Contest are being accepted now through August 10, 2011. For entry form and contest rules visit or email us at


Congratulations to Jami Ouellette, president of Im-aj Communications and SCTC board member. on winning three Internatonal Awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts. A Gold Award of Excellence was for the Im-aj Holiday e-card, and two Silvers for a brand/logo design.

David Zapatka, president of the Friends of the Plum Beach Lighthouse, and a SCTC board member announced that the Plum Beach Lighthouse license plate placed second in a license plate competition.

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association chose the plate second in the specialty plate category of their annual competition.



Tourism is...

  • $1,349 per year in local property taxes not paid by property owners.
  • The idea to import more than you export.
  • An economic development activity. The object is to have people come, spend money, then go home.
  • 90% of the tourism industry businesses are small businesses. 
  • 83% of tourism spending is by visitors with annual household incomes of $70,000 plus.







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Secret Beaches

wins the

Yankee cover

"Secret Beaches" won the coveted spot with an informal vote on Facebook, garnering 173 votes for the "Secret Beaches" cover photo for Yankee Magazine.


  • "I love the 'Secret Beaches' cover. It makes you want to sink your toes in the sand, smell the salt air and feel the sun on your face!"
  • "Ideal New England summertime. I can almost feel the combo of the sand and weathered wood on the soles of my feet."
  • "As a displaced Rhody with saltwater in my veins I am all for the beach cover!"
  • "This photo is an open invitation to the beach, a much welcome respite after this long and dreadful New England winter."
  • "There's nothing like the beckoning walk to the beach. It's gorgeous."
  • "I ALWAYS take the beach option."
  • "Secret beaches says summer!!!!"


New Summer Home Page

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South County Style Vacation Planner


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