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May 9, 2007 06:06 AM

An Early Start to Summer! Crane Beach and Woodman's

So, I was driving my fiance to work yesterday morning. I ran into dunkins for our morning coffee, and when I got back to the car she said.

"What do you have going on today?"

Since it's finals week, I'm just grading papers. I say "Not a whole lot."

She says. "I'm going to call in sick. Let's go to the beach!"

I need very little convincing. Within the hour, we are headed up Rt. 1 towards Ipswich. The weather was gorgeous...almost 80, a little breezy. We both got a bit sunburned, but in a good way. Water was way too cold for swimming but I got through plenty of Wyatt and Surrey on our beach towel. A very nice way to spend 3 hours.

Now, fiance is trying to get even skinner for the wedding (she's a size 2, for lord's sake!), but I am able to convince her that "you just can't come to Ipswich on the first nice day of the year and NOT get some clams." She agrees, despite a meek argument about sushi being healthy or something or other.

We take a left out of the beach lot and head towards Essex. In five minutes, we are at Woodman' first time. We split a box of friend clams and an order of onion rings, with two frosty sam summer ales.

Excellent clams! I know some people like the Clam Box better, but I couldn't have been happier. Light, crispy coating, good fresh flavor, and excellent tartar sauce....which I like to mix with some hot sauce for a kick. The onion rings were, in my opinion, about perfect. A bit heavy on the batter maybe, for some, but I tend to like that, and it wasn't overly greasy...they definitely use a nice hot fry oil.

All in all, the perfect capper for our early start to summer. Woodmans, as far as I'm concncerned, still does things right. My one small complaint...the food, not counting the beer, came to $17. But, I remember spending just as much on clams last time I had lousy ones at Kelly's in no real big deal.

Next time, it'll be the Clam Box...

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  1. Did you get big belly clams or clam strips? Glad you mentioned the price for the clams at Woodmans. Was curious what the mark-up might be this year. DO try the Clam Box next. Well worth the line!

    2 Replies
      1. re: tamerlanenj

        Proper! Just makin' sure... there are some major fans of the clam strip out there.

        On the Boston board someone posted a recent trip to the Clam Box if you're interested.

    1. Went to Woodmans 2 sundays ago. Spot on about the quality, but the clam bellies were a little small. Seasonal maybe? Great rings. Clam plate with tax was just under $20.

      3 Replies
      1. re: trufflehound

        My understanding with clam bellies is that big or small, they come from the same clam, and that the way the bellies get big is from the clam diggers, who soak or pump the bellies so the can sell less clams for more money.
        I heard this from a clam digger, and I would be curious if this is true or not?

        1. re: Infomaniac

          That sounds like the clam digger was joshing you. Clams grow. Older ones get bigger. There's one place we used to go that always posted a sign with the size of the clams because some people, like my sister, hate big bellies.

          1. re: dfrostnh

            I had a feeling the guy was joshing me. I was out taking some photographs on the clam flats last year and this guy who was digging took a break to talk to me and answer some questions I had about claming. I'll have to pay a little more attention to the signs next time.

      2. Sounds like time try Farnhams in Essex. Much better than Woodmans IMO. I'll be there sometime this weekend-can't wait!!!

        4 Replies
          1. re: thegolferbitch

            Rt. 133 in Essex (or is it Ipswich at that point?). Not too far from Woodman's, less crowded and a view of the marshes.

            1. re: Joanie

              J.T. Farnham's is in Essex, Joanie. Given the option, I'd take it over Woodman's everytime. It's second only to The Clam Box, IMSHO :-))

              1. re: Harp00n

                Cool. Thanks Joanie and Harp00n. Probably will hit Benson's on the way back for dessert.