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Jul 23, 2010 08:20 AM

Jasper White's Summer Clambake on Spectacle Isand

Should we do it or not? 3 women on a business trip and want some fresh seafood and nice atmosphere. Sounds great, but sometimes these things aren't.
Please advise; need to make a decision soon!

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  1. Even if the food is just okay, I'd still do it for the great view of the city from the harbor and a chance to explore one of the harbor islands.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jana

      Agree Spectacle Island is a great spot and I'm sure Jasper White puts on a good clambake.

      1. re: itryalot

        You'll love the views, and it's a nice 15 minute boat ride to Spectacle. If you are going to book your boat ride in advance as well, be sure that you get a boat that goes to Spectacle first, then to George's Island. Some go to George's first, and it's an awesome 45 minute ride from Boston, to George's then to Spectacle, but you may not want to spend that much time on the boat. Round trip ticket is $14 each. The Bosotn Harbor Islands are a woefully underused attraction, IMO. If you walk to the top of the larger drumlin on Spectacle, you can get a 360 degree view of the harbor and the city. Bring your camera! You seem like you're really going to see a ton of the city wwhile you're here. I hope you'll let us all know what you ended up doing, and what you thought of everything! Have a great trip!

        1. re: kimfair1

          I did it last year and it was great! The food is what it is, meaning that it is a traditional clam bake and nothing that's going to knock your socks off (although it's pretty neat if you're from somewhere where lobster isn't available everywhere). The views of Boston and the sunset will knock your socks off. Plus a couple of drinks are included and you can buy more if you are so inclined... Definitely worth the money and a great experience for visitors (took my parents from Missouri last summer) and Bostonians alike.

          1. re: kimfair1

            It is a package deal - boat and food together, so I have no choice in the boat situation. We decided to go ahead and do it. None of us have been to a traditional clam bake.

            1. re: itryalot

              That still sounds cool. Hopefully they'll give you enough time to explore the island a bit before you boat back to the city.

        2. This may be good food but it is not a clambake -- it is a clam boil. There is a world of difference and I always want to warn people in case they think they are the same. This not baked in a pit with hot rocks and all that smoky taste. This is a very good seafood meal but it not a clam bake.


          1. Any chance of someone doing a traditional, in the sand "bake" on one of the islands off of Boston?

            2 Replies
            1. re: itryalot

              For someone looking to cater a larger event and offer a traditional clam bake there are options on the North Shore, as well as clam bake clubs to the south (Cape, Southcoast, RI) which can be rented. Some of the options are pretty well covered in past threads on the board.

              Unfortunately most so called clam bake offerings that visitors are going to encounter are set menus of boiled/steamed lobster, clams/mussels, corn, potatoes, and usually chicken. Sometimes they are steamed together in a pan over seaweed, not in a pit, but many are just expensive steamed seafood menus. Note that in a true clam boil, all the ingredients are steamed together, so if Summer Shack is actually doing that its an improvement over most catered "clambakes."

              With 3 people its going to be hard on the spur of the moment for you to get a traditional clam bake. Many of the clambake clubs offer annual public bakes often in July and you just missed one on the South Coast on the 20th at Francis Farm. Outside of a once a year event like this you aren't going to be able to experience it easily.

              Summer Shack
              310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

              Francis Farm
              County, Rehoboth, MA 02769

              1. re: itaunas

                The original Summer Shack in Cambridge has specially designed giant steamer kettles. An individual portion of lobster, clams, corn, etc. is put into a yellow mesh bag and steamed. The entire bag goes on the platter that is served to the patron. When I took a friend there, she looked up from her baked lobster and, noticing the yellow bag on a table nearby, said, "Ooh, those noodles look interesting!"

                I don't know, but would suspect, that this is how the Spectacle Island meals will be prepared, then conveyed there in some sort of insulated carriers.

                Summer Shack
                149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02140

            2. We love Spectacle Island, and with Jasper White? So jealous!