Portsmouth mayors fêted at Glen Manor House

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PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth 375th Gala Weekend kicked off Thursday evening when mayors from three different cities got the red carpet treatment at Glen Manor House.

The reception welcomed Councillor Lynne Stagg, lord mayor of Portsmouth, England, accompanied by her lady friend Anne Taulbut, the lady mayoress;

Kenneth I. Wright, mayor of Portsmouth, Va., and his wife, Thomasina; and Eric Spear, mayor of Portsmouth, N.H., and his wife, Jeannie.

"The people are just wonderful," said Ms. Stagg, adding that the town has treated the "outsiders" with great hospitality. "I'm honored to have been invited and to be part of the celebrations."

When a delegation of local residents visited Portsmouth, England in May to formally invite the lord mayor back here in May, they were overwhelmed by their namesake city's hospitality and pageantry. Some of them were concerned, in fact, that the little town of Portsmouth, RI wouldn't be able to afford their guests the same measure of grandeur.

They needn't have worried, said Ms. Stagg, who enjoyed the "relaxed" atmosphere of her visit.

"It's very American," she said.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who attended the reception along with many other officials, including members of the Town Council and School Committee, welcomed leaders of "the Portsmouths of the world."

He also mentioned the 235th anniversary of The Battle of Rhode Island, a key Revolutionary War skirmish that took place in Portsmouth. "This was a time when our friends from England and us had a little disagreement," he said.

Doug Smith, chairman of the Portsmouth 375th Steering Committee, talked about the local delegation's trip to Portsmouth, England in May.

"We strongly suspect that some of (Portsmouth, RI's) founders had their last meal in Portsmouth, England at The Dolphin pub," he said, mentioning one of several historic drinking holes the delegation visited.

A barmaid at The Dolphin confirmed their suspicions, Mr. Smith said.

"And she said they never paid their tab."

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