Get your tickets now for '375th Express' leaving Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH —  If you live in Portsmouth, you can tour the Green Animals Topiary Gardens for free on Sunday, Aug. 11, during a special event to celebrate the town's 375th anniversary.

The Preservation Society of Newport County is allowing all Portsmouth residents to tour Green Animals' gardens and historic house at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While you're there, take a ride in style aboard "The 375th Express," a special run of the Newport Dinner Train's ongoing "ice cream trains." Passengers will be picked up at 1:30 and 3 p.m. for this round-trip "sundae" ride along the Portsmouth shorelines.

Ticket-holders get a drink and a sundae.

The train has reduced its ticket prices for this 375th event: $18.31 for adults, $16.15 for seniors and $12.91 for children (includes tax). Reservations are required; call 401/841-8700 or 800/398-7427.

Also that day, New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood will sign and sell her children and adult books on the porch of the Green Animals home from noon to 3 p.m.

Ms. Hood has written "The Treasure Chest" biography series for children, which includes four titles, and she's also the author of best-selling books of fiction including "Somewhere off the Coast of Maine," "The Knitting Circle," "The Red Thread" and her current fiction title, "The Obituary Writer."

The event will be held rain or shine.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.