Saturday, April 27, 2002

A Mix

My current New England trip continues with some things that I've never managed to see, and some comforting food from the past´┐Ż

Last night I returned to Wright's Farm, a very special restaurant, not really for dining, but for eatin', and I do mean eatin'. If you don't know about Wright's, it's hard to describe. What can I say other than it's all-you-can-eat chicken, fries, pasta shells, and salad, in a restaurant that seats over a thousand diners? Even these days when I'm not so easily drawn into gorge mode, it's quite the dining experience, and the chicken (cooked in some sort of hybrid cross between pressure cooking and baking) is pretty tasty, as long as you stop after three plates full.

This morning, the Ninigret wildlife refuge area was a part of Rhode Island that I'd never seen. I went with my brother Joe and his family, and it was a great place. It's a very scenic, peaceful, sheltered salt pond separated from the ocean by a thin strip of land. I was actually outside the edges of the actual refuge area, but there were several areas marked for special wildlife protection even along the beach area well outside the refuge. The Atlantic was a great deep blue-green hue today, and Block Island looked like it was just a couple of miles away. I managed to finish my time there without stepping on any birds' nests, avoiding any acts of animal cruelty (and federal offenses), which certainly helped round out a pleasant time.

Then what? More familiar food, this time the renowned and renowned and renowned clamcakes and chowder at Aunt Carrie's. I asked how to make the signature clear-broth clam chowder, and was told: "Just like white chowder, but no milk. " Hmmm. Anyway, it was top-notch as always.

To round out the day, we visited Purgatory Chasm, which is like a tiny little slice of Yosemite in Southern Massachusetts. Once again, I thought to myself how I grew up half an hour from a great spot like this and never visited it. The only cheesy touch was that the easiest path through this beautiful natural rock chasm is marked by a series of blue stripes painted on the rocks along the trail. I complain now, but who knows, I may have not made it to the end of the trail without them.


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