Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Shop I Love

Several summers ago, a love of tennis, and particularly the great Pete Sampras, drew me to Newport, Rhode Island. Pete was being inducted into The International Tennis Hall of Fame and participating in an exhibition match.

Tennis and Victoria? Yes, there's a story there. John Mack Carter, who was the father of Victoria in many ways, is a great tennis fan and for many years shared his box at the U.S. Open with many of his friends and colleagues. Because of John's generosity, I was at The Open in New York when Pete broke through as the youngest champion ever. I was hooked on this brilliant career and the game. I've tried to taper off a bit in recent years because following tournaments on television can take a lot of time. But I still keep a hand in.

We did get to see Pete and his family--and we did get to have a lovely time in historic Newport. Ambling around I found Sylvia Benedetti's charming and original shop My husband said he heard my feet come to a startling halt as we walked by. Sylvia hadn't been open very long, but she was already attracting a lot of attention. Yes, she one of my kind of girls, having been a business executive before striking out in Simply Gianna.

I bought an ornamental child's dress that I intended to give as a gift. I still have it. And when I got back home, called Sylvia to send me her gingerbread family of dolls. Not long after, I added the farmhouse apple pie soft sculpture as well as a bunch of prim carrots. I have tons of fun with the pie, as it is often taken for the real thing. I have family members who are not supposed to have sweets, so the pie is for them at holiday time! One of my door decorations in spring, is that friendly bunch of carrots with green plaid fabric stalks. So far, no bunnies have found their way to my door--but lots of smiles from visitors and neighbors.

I emailed the editor of Country Living to tell her about the shop. I'd never done that before. I've seen my share of wonderful shops--but this one swept me off my feet with its well-edited vision. Sylvia's Simply Gianna is now two years old. Growing along with her daughter Gianna, for whom the shop is named. I'm sure she's delighted folks in Newport with her eye for primitives and the artists who create them. It's a shop I love, and hope you'll enjoy checking it out online. Continued success, Sylvia.


  1. I took a "Peek" inside the shop you posted.It is a nice one! My "primative & Folk-Art" phase fizzled out in the 80's-{for home docor etc.},but the shop does look well put together. When I was real "into" that kind of Art-Crafting ,I would have just wanted to buy everything in sight ,If I were to have seen this store when I was in Newport.

    I love Newport, the Mansions there are so beautiful, "The Breakers" esp, I will never forget! I still have a postcard with a picture on it of a huge Dining room, done in Red velvets and gilt gold,that I had sent to her. I have always loved and dreamed of living in Newport,Rhode Island someday- The Ocean there , the gorgeous shops , & the Hisorical & Rich feel of that area,-{oh & the food too, especially the fresh Lobster!},- is something I can picture too, in a Victoria magazine. Thanks again Nancy for transporting me to anotherlovely place & time. Your writing always has.Love,Valery