Rhode Island is home to some of New England's most beautiful summer destinations—Newport, Block Island, Bristol, Watch Hill, and more. They’re all towns rich in maritime history and east coast charm. But if you think summer is the only time to enjoy Rhode Island, you're wrong! In fact, on a recent trip, I discovered that Rhode Island is even better in the off-season because you get it all to yourself.
All About Iggy's
I could tell you all about the luxury hotels that are wide open for reservations, or the lack of beach traffic, but there is a far more important subject at hand: Iggy’s Boardwalk. Yes, I'm talking about the Iggy’s that has taken over Oakland Beach Avenue in the low-key town of Warwick. The Iggy’s that is celebrated for it’s New England-style seafood; the one that, in the summer months, constantly has an hour (or more) line wrapping around the sidewalk—a line that’s actually worth waiting in. Well, during the winter months, Iggy's remains open, with the same menu, the same staff, the same deliciously fresh food, and absolutely no wait at all.
Let’s start my love letter to Iggy’s Boardwalk with the crown jewel of the menu: chowder. Iggy’s offers three different options: Manhattan style red, New England white, and Rhode Island clear. This is a revelation to a Bostonian that previously thought the Holy Grail of chowder house options was the esteemed “Bread Bowl”. (To be clear, the bread bowl is still DEFINITELY the Holy Grail, but having three different chowder options was an embarrassment of riches.) So, what’s the difference? We'll start with New England style clam chowder. The classic “white” has five signature ingredients: clams, potatoes, onions, bacon, and, of course, cream or milk. It’s rich and fatty, and made to warm you up and fill your belly. Manhattan, “red,” chowder is a healthier concoction that replaces cream with a thinner broth made with tomato and tomato paste. The clams are chopped up with veggies such as carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes. It’s more of a veggie soup with clams mixed in than a true chowder. Rhode Island chowder—“clear” chowder—is the newest option on my radar. The major difference between clear and traditional is that the cream is replaced, simply, with water. Rhode Islanders take their chowder seriously, and Iggy’s makes sure to provide their clam-loving customers with an option to satisfy any appetite.
Fried Clams and Doughboys and Stuffies, Oh My!
Personally, with British roots, I'm a sucker for fish and chips, and my summers in Chatham, Massachusetts have earned me a status as fried calamari connoisseur. Iggy’s batter is perfectly fried to a light crisp that doesn’t overpower the seafood hiding beneath. Another standout item that sets Iggy’s apart from other fried seafood joints is their famous Doughboy. Now, I’ve read that Doughboys are a staple south of Boston, but, as a native New Englander, I rarely seen them on menus—and that's a shame! Don’t wait for dessert to try these deep fried dumplings, life is too short. A few other notable items on Iggy’s menu that must not go un-taste-tested include stuffies (stuffed quahogs), clam cakes, and cheese. Yes, cheese! Iggy’s has a side to dip your fries in, so, why not?
Bracelets in picture: Men's: Hat in Blue, Fid Cuff in Antique Brass, League in Natural, Journey Double Wrap Rope Bracelet in Navy Blue. Women's: Mini Brummel Bracelet in Sand, Tidal Bracelet in Sky Blue, Slim Fid in Silver, Volley Single Rope Bracelet in Navy/White, Brummel Link Bracelet in Polished Silver.
Off Season Adventures
During the summer, I find myself headed to Chatham most weekends. I have a bedroom in my family’s house, life-long friends that still visit, and I know the beach, town, and fishing spots like the back of my hand. Although I can't complain, this does limit my exploration and discovery of other New England towns. Sure, waking up on a cold February morning, I’d rather slip back under the covers. It takes a little push to get myself out of bed and on the road, but when I do, I feel like I’ve got the whole east coast to myself. As beautiful as it is when the sun is shining and the sand is hot, Rhode Island has so much to explore all year long, and Iggy’s is only one stop along the way.
Bracelets in picture: Men's: League in Natural and Black, Journey Double Wrap Leather Bracelet in Midnight Blue. Women's: Mini Brummel Bracelet in Sand, Tidal Bracelet in Sky Blue, Slim Fid in Silver, Volley Single Rope Bracelet in Navy/White, Brummel Link Bracelet in Polished Silver.