I grew up going to Rhode Island in the summer with my family. My mother had discovered a town called Little Compton as a teenager, and the first year I was born she found a little house near the center of town that my very large family somehow fit into. My earliest memory is of being in that house, sitting on someone's lap, I think it was one of my brothers, and watching someone come down the stairs while dipping their head to walk in the room because of the low sloping ceiling and door frame. After that first year, my parents found a larger house on the Sakonnet River in Tiverton through an ad in the newspaper, and arriving there sight unseen the youngest of my brothers said, "This can't be it, it's too beautiful!" We rented that house for six weeks each year, from the middle of July until just before Labor Day. We spent every week day at the beach, with walks down to the Sakonnet River almost daily for clamming, finding shells, looking for horseshoe crabs and skimming the beautiful slate stones to see who could skim them the farthest and the most times. The house had a well for fresh water, and a large kitchen perfect for preparing the fresh seafood and produce that overflows in that part of the world. And of course there were lobsters, not every day as my father and I would have liked, but when we did have them I learned from my father the master lobster cleaner how to get every piece out of the shells.
At a potluck dinner with a group of our family's friends on the beach my lovely mother outshone every other by opening up her cooler and spooning lobster salad into small hot dog buns. I will always remember that night with the fathers putting together a clam bake while we all ate our elegant sandwiches that my mother prepared fresh on the spot. As my family grew older and there were fewer of us around the house, we stopped renting the home in Tiverton and our trips grew shorter. For a number of years we went to the old Stone House Club, with its previous owners who kept the design homey and lovely and the cost of the rooms affordable for a family like ours. We'd rent a few rooms or a suite and stay a few days or a long weekend, and one memorable time my mother's mother sent her a check so that she and I could go there unexpectedly. On another we received a call from the woman who had rented us the Tiverton house that there were two weeks she had available between summer rentals that she didn't mind giving to us for the price of one. And then about twelve years ago someone my mother knew mentioned that she had a small house in Little Compton that she rented out regularly, and my mother called me up to see if I could meet her there.
The house was on California Road, and a few doors away was a place where we had bought lobsters in the past, and so we walked over and picked two up and prepared them along with some fresh seasonal corn and a tomato salad for dinner. Though I've said it before in other posts and in this one, Rhode Island has the best and freshest seafood there is. I don't know why it is, though I'm sure some of the fishermen could tell me, but fish just tastes better and fresher there than anywhere else. And the lobster we get from Sakonnet Lobster is outstanding. Sweet and tasting of the sea, it's tender and feels so healthy to eat that I think it must be a perfect meal. And there are all kinds of fun things to see when you walk in the door at Sakonnet Lobster. Bumper stickers and photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia, all lobster related and all chosen with a wonderful sense of fun and humor. The Mataronas family has owned the company, which was founded by James Mataronas III in 1971, for more than 40 years and has been fishing the area waters for lobsters through generations. In the earlier years we always saw the father, but then one day a few months ago when I posted a photo on Instagram from a dinner I'd had on California Road a number of years ago, I tagged Sakonnet Lobster and they started following me. I followed back, and the next thing I knew I was seeing photos regularly of the place where my heart feels at home.
The last time I had been there was ten years ago, and at the end of this last winter I decided it was time to take a trip. I'd been pining for it, and even more so when I saw the photos from Sakonnet Lobster, and so I sent a direct message to their Instagram account asking if they knew of any realtors who I could talk to. I heard back immediately with two names and I started to plan my trip. When I contacted the realtors I wasn't sure who to say it was who had given me their names, and so I sent another message to Sakonnet Lobster to ask. The answer came back "Doug," and I told him I'd definitely be coming to visit and thank him in person. So one lovely afternoon I found myself in the place where I love to be the most, and for a few glorious days I was able to walk on the beaches where I'd learned to body surf waves and play underwater tea party and where I'd learned just how delicious lobster can be. I stopped by to see Doug, and walking into the store brought me back to beautiful memories with my mother on California Road, and a history of lobster enjoyment that stretches back through my whole life. The day I stopped by I took some photos, but I didn't get one of Doug. He later sent me one through Instagram, and I've added it here so you can get the whole picture. The next time you're in Rhode Island, take a ride down to Sakonnet Point. It's worth the trip for the perfect beauty of it and it's definitely worth taking a ride for the best lobster around. I will warn you though - you won't be able to eat lobster in many if any other places again. Once you've had the best, you'll never settle for the rest.
26 California Road
Little Compton, Rhode Island
Tanks With Fresh Sea Water
That Is Constantly Replenished
That Is Constantly Replenished
And Pumped Directly From The Ocean
A Special Thank You To
For Helping Me Come Back
To The Best Place In The World