If you're a native Rhode Islander (and that's pronounced "Ruh-DIE-lan-der") Aunt Carrie's should be as familiar a summer name as Del's. Maybe the name evokes an image of a wooden building, bleached by sun and summer breezes. Maybe it conjures up the scent of salt air and the screech of gulls. But it certainly should make your mouth water for the taste of fresh hot clamcakes.
Aunt Carrie's has been a Point Judith tradition since long before I was a little girl. Clamcakes at Aunt Carrie's were a special treat after a day at the beach when I was growing up. My brothers and sisters and I would wait to see which way my Dad headed after a day at Scarborough Beach. If he turned the car right, we were going home. But if we went left, we knew we were getting clamcakes at Aunt Carrie's. No greasy paper bag was ever so appreciated.
I married a native Rhode Islander, so every summer we try to make the trip to Point Judith for chowder and clamcakes. So it is with a great deal of embarrassment that I have to tell you that this time, somehow, we got lost. We were coming from a different direction, we were talking, yadda, yadda, all the usual excuses, but the fact is, we weren't sure which way to head. (All those hazy post-beach memories were trying to push through to my consciousness, but hey, my Dad always drove.)
We don't have a GPS in the car, and we don't yet have an iPhone (next month, maybe) but we did have my husband's Nook Color. All we had to do was find a WiFi signal. Which seems easy enough until you're driving up and down Route 1 arguing. Nothing. We tried the GPS function on the cell phone, which I've never used. Too confusing, and neither of us could read the tiny print anyway. Back to the Nook. We pulled into the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in a desperate attempt to pick up their WiFi signal. No luck. We needed a password. Arrgh!
So much technology in that car, and it wasn't enough. The prospect of those clamcakes was beginning to crumble like a sandcastle at the end of the day. Suddenly I looked up at the Holiday Inn before me. "How about if I go in and just ask for directions?" I suggested. A minute later we were headed in the correct direction toward Point Judith.
Sometimes the old fashioned research methods really are the best. Oh, and the clamcakes were great. As always.