After we ate at Champlin’s, we took a very short detour on the way home to the Point Judith lighthouse. After a little confusion about whether we were allowed on the grounds, because it is an active Coast Guard aid for navigation, we walked around for a little bit to work off a bit of our meal.
This is actually the third lighthouse to sit on this spot. The first one (built in 1810) was destroyed by a hurricane in 1815. The second version was updated, read replaced, in 1856. And this tower was automated in 1954.
Being a geek, I found the material testing section as interesting as the rest of the place. They had a whole slough of different materials mounted on panels that faced the ocean. I’m assuming that they were testing how they stood up to the sun, surf, wind, saltwater, etc. You know, the outdoors.
A quick apology first. Since I was just learning how to use my new toy, there was a bit of a screw up. Somewhere along the way, the camera got switched to manual focus and I didn’t realize it for a day and a half, so there are a bunch of pictures that I’m really less than satisfied with. Please bear with me, we’ll get to better ones soon.
The whole dream of the Rhode Island vacation started with an invitation from our friend Dave’s parents. They have a beach house that they were kind enough to open to Dave and some of his Seminary friends for a week. Through a couple of iterations of who was interested and available, our group came out to be Dave, myself and Lindz, and Matt and Janessa.
Our first day in Little Rhodie, we went over to the Port of Galilee for some seafood lunch. There is a restaurant that Dave’s family goes to all the time that is about a 20 mile drive from the house (or about 10 miles as a crow would fly). Champlin’s Seafood is located right on the inlet from the ocean to one of the many saltwater ponds in the area.
They have a great working relationship with the fishing boats that use the Point Judith Pond as a harbor. Many dock right outside of the building. One touch that I thought was really cool is that they have the names of the fishing boats that they buy from on the life preservers hanging up around the building. Besides the restaurant, they also sell a large variety of fresh seafood.
Their menu has a selection that any seafood lover would drool at the mere mention of a quarter of the items. I would highly recommend at least looking over the menu before you go. That way, you aren’t staring slack-jawed at the menu board trying to make a decision while people are waiting for you. They have a full bar, so if you would like a homemade bloody mary, a beer, or just a soda, they have your thirst taken care of as well. I should warn you that you should be prepared to spend a bit of money. It’s not excessively expensive, but it isn’t cheap either. I really should clarify that a bit: the quality to cost ratio is unbelievable, but it’s not someplace most people can afford to go more than once or twice a month. Yeah, I feel better with that description.
Dave bought a half-dozen clam cakes to share around the table. Think of a doughy (in a good sense) crab cake and substitute in some clams. They were really good.
Lindz and I went a little wild with our order. Based on Dave’s recommendation, I went with the deep fried whole-bellied clams. In hindsight, I should have gotten them a la carte, and shared Lindz’s fries and slaw. Whole bellies are whole soft shell clams as opposed to clam strips which are sliced hard shell clams. The whole bellies that I ate had a nice mild clam flavor with a sweet undertone. You didn’t need tarter sauce or anything to accompany them. I’ll put it another way for you. I kept eating them after I was stuffed halfway through my meal. Hands down, they were the second best clams that I have ever eaten. Lindz ordered a lobster roll dinner for herself. I think she still has the lobster bug from when we ate at Cosmos. Ha ha! Lobster bug, get it? I’m so punny! I did swipe a bite and it was really good. Perfectly cooked and oh, so tasty. Speaking of Cosmos, that is the reason why I got a 1/2 pint of their lobster bisque. This was good, but it wasn’t quite as good as the one at Cosmos. Significantly cheaper, but still slightly disappointing. I shouldn’t be complaining because it’s still far better than you can find most anywhere.
Finally, I saw that they had raw cherrystone clams on the menu. I’ve never heard of, much less had clams on the half shell before. So I ordered two of them. I figured I’d offer Lindz one and if she declined, then I could eat both of them! But, she was feeling adventurous that day and decided to try one. Which still made me happy. Janessa kindly documented our experience.
If I was still hungry and we didn’t already spend a healthy wad of cash, I would have happily gone back and ordered a baker’s dozen. They were everything that people tell you that good shellfish should taste like. Slightly sweet and a bit like a fresh ocean. These are the clams that claim the #1 slot in the best that I have ever tasted. Lindz even liked them.
As far as seating options go, you can either sit inside (it’s really spacious) or out on the deck (a bit more limited). It was a gorgeous day, and the place wasn’t busy, so ours was an easy choice: the deck. I would suggest going there for lunch or an afternoon snack because I heard that around supper time, the line can get up to a hundred feet long or more.
One of my stated goals for this trip was to eat myself stupid with really good seafood. This place fulfilled that dream and then some. It also set the bar unbelievable high for the rest of the trip.