Days: 435 (3 September 2015)
Total distance travelled: 110,978.9 kilometres (68,930.97 miles)
After we’ve queued the Rogers and Hammerstein’s music, and settled into the mood, it’s time we shared the tale of our first ever New England Clambake!
As mentioned in an earlier post, when New England came onto our radar, I immediately began to think and search for experiences that were truly local.
That’s how I stumbled upon and indeed settled on experiencing a Clambake.
This affair run by the Norwalk Seaport Association offered up the following menu:
- Main Course (A choice of):
Rosemary Marinated Breast of Chicken with summer tomato bruschetta
Marinated Rib Eye Steak
Teriyaki Marinated Atlantic Salmon
- Mixed field green salad
- Steamed clams, mussels & corn on the cob with lemons and drawn butter
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Classic Cole Slaw
- Grilled Summer Squash with fresh thyme
- Summer Strawberry Shortbread Cake made with fresh summer berries with sugared biscuit shortbread and cream
- Lemonade and Iced Tea
There was the option to pay a little more for lobster in place of the above main options, however we all found something to appeal, with two Rib Eye Steaks and one Marinated Chicken Breast ordered between the three of us.
To say that we were salivating at the thought was a bit of an understatement.
We arrived in South Norwalk with around forty minutes to spare before our boat departed, ample time we thought to find ourselves some beers or nice wine to enjoy with dinner on the island (the dinners are BYO alcohol).
Turns out we were wrong, as but for a couple of sleepy stores selling Corona or Budweiser, there was nothing to be found… and with those two beers as our options, we’d prefer to stick to the lemonade and iced tea!
Still, it meant there was plenty of time to make our boat… which left about fifteen minutes late in any case!
The cruise out towards Sheffield Island, which promised to take around three quarters of an hour, was a lovely one, the slowly setting sun creating lovely colours across the sky and on the relatively calm waters.
Small craft passed us by as our boat made its gentle way out of the harbour, protected as we were in fairly sheltered waters.
Often in the distance we’d spy a lighthouse, a reminder that not everywhere are the waters this calm, and indeed are often dangerous.
The light began to dim a little more, the cloud promising a colourful sunset but leaving us a little worried that it may be too dark for us to in fact enjoy the lighthouse once we arrived.
Thankfully it wasn’t too far distant, and very soon we were getting our first look at the Sheffield Island Light.
Progress was to see the Sheffield Island Light rendered soon (well seventy four years after it entered service) obsolete, as a newer, better located lighthouse to the west saw this particular site decommissioned in 1902.
Now served by a ferry run by the Norwalk Seaport Association, it is primarily a tourist attraction, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After a few quick photos, thankfully for our now rumbling stomachs, relief was not too far away, as we tucked into our first course.
Baked clams and mussels along with salad.
At last we were tucking into, our first New England Clambake!
We slurped our way through this bowl of mollusc goodness, the remaining juices serving as a delicious seafood broth.
The main course wasn’t too far distant, so we were advised that a tour of the lighthouse would be conducted in between dinner and the serving of dessert.
Pretty soon we were all in full carnivore mode yet again, the huge portions of beef and chicken before us proving quite the challenge, but a delicious challenge nonetheless.
With our mains complete, we took a little wander as we waited for the lighthouse to be opened for our (and the rest of the groups) inspection.
Pretty soon we were in, exploring the home that once was once home to the various lighthouse keepers and their families
Unfortunately we were not allowed to ascend the lighthouse proper, although by then there would have been little we could have seen in the near dark anyways.
Wandering back to our tables, we were initially puzzled, as we’d expected by now that dessert would have been served.
Upon querying this, we were met with fairly blank looks and advised simply that it had all been served and there was none left!
What the fuck!?
This soured the night a little for us on two fronts.
One was the indifference of the staff to the fact that half of their guests did not receive a portion of the meal that they’d paid for, and secondly was, assuming that enough for everybody (as well as extras according to the staff) had been served, half of the people (that would be fellow guests) had thought it perfectly reasonable to eat those slices of shortcake left for everybody else!
This sadly put a real dampener on what for me, had up until that moment been a wonderful evening.
Subsequent emails to the Norwalk Seaport Association have never received a response, when even just a simple apology would have in my mind, sufficed…
* Our Clambake on Sheffield Island was booked through the Norwalk Seaport Association and cost $65.00 US per person (plus tax).
* For the sum of $79.00 US per person (plus tax), you could switch your main from the standard options, and instead have lobster.