We left Western Mass at 8am and I never would have believed this, pulled into the center of Rockport Ma at 10:05am. I am known as a driver that never goes faster than 5mph over the speed limit so that tells you that on a Weekend morning the
Pike and 95 are really a good ride. We parked in the center of town to stretch our legs, smell the Ocean Breeze and gather some inspiration from the view of the Inner Harbor and Motif #1. The town is vibrant and active with boutiques and galleries displaying paintings and crafts that are pleasing. There are amateurs painting everywhere who are attempting to test their skill
at capturing the idyllic daily life all through the town. When we finished our walk we drove a very short distance south along the coast through a neighborhood that is one of the most prestigious locations in Rockport and arguably offers the finest breathtaking views of the coastline in the Cape Ann area.
When we were done looking around Rockport it was time to head north to find our next adventure which was lunch. I will say that when you are driving and looking for a place to stop for lunch, then the farthest point away is already at a huge disadvantage. Sorry Ipswich but the writing was on the wall at this point. We won’t be having lunch at the Clam Box today. As you drive the coast North towards Essex you are going to pass by the biggest three restaurants that are known for fried clams in the town. The first one is JT Farnham’s on the right. We have been there in the past, it is a great stop if you have not been there before. It is a great shack with tables outside overlooking the river and marsh and most importantly, a great spot to sit down and enjoy some good fried clams. We passed up Farnhams and continued up the road towards Woodman’s. We thought of going there but at the last minute changed our minds. I do have to mention Woodman’s and not disparagingly. It’s pricy, rustic and it’s been said that the fried clam we know and love was allegedly born there on July 3, 1916, by Lawrence Woodman, progenitor of Woodman’s clam eatery. I can tell you that I have enjoyed eating there in the past. We did not stop in today because the only other place I have not been to in town was a little farther up the road and over the river on the left.
The Village Restaurant................. Helene and I ordered the Fisherman's Platter. We also ordered the clam chowder and onion rings. The Platter is all fried and consists of whole belly clams, scallops, haddock, shrimp, French fries and Cole Slaw. The whole belly clams were, indeed, excellent. Not sandy, briny or mealy in any way. They really stood up well to the dredging and deep frying process, as did the scallops and shrimp. So many times fried seafood is diminished in taste because of dirty oil. I was pleased to enjoy a fish platter that was fresh and clean instead of crunchy over-cooked sea bits. The onion rings would have been perfect if they'd been salted right out of the fryer. The batter wasn't very thick at all and they weren't over fried. The
chowder is amazing, thick with chunks of clams. The Cole slaw was average but fresh. . There was also corn bread and dinner rolls with plenty of butter! Expect crowds on the week-ends. The Village has received some pretty big accolades in the past by esteemed food writer's Mark Bittman in the pages of Saveur magazine and Michael Stern of ‘Roadfood’ who wrote that it’s "Legendary and Worth driving from anyplace". That is the highest rating that you can get from them. There was an older crowd while we were there that afternoon. Older is sometimes wiser, right? The prices are a little high for everyday dining. The waitress was very nice and attentive to our empty glasses. The food was delicious! The atmosphere is very
casual, making for a relaxing lunch!