New England summers are all about the surf and sand, and of course, seafood. As someone who has been dutifully doing her rounds of beaches and eateries, I can tell you about a few places I tried recently.
The first one is Westfair Fish and Chips in Westport, Connecticut. A hole-in-the-wall place, Westfair is a seafood lover’s haven. Not many people know about this dive. The credit goes to my friend for finding this tiny, tiny shop with a flair for the perfect batter and the freshest fish.
While the fish and chips is to die for and the crab cakes hold their own, the place itself is not great for a sit-down meal. So my friend and I picked up our lunch from Westfair and drove to Sherwood Island State Park, also in Westport. We had a picnic on the benches by the ocean, away from the prying eyes of the seagulls. As I have said before, Sherwood may not have the finest sand or the tallest breakers, but it does have a nice relaxing vibe.
It’s a place you chill out with a cold drink and a good book. And of course, a good friend. Away from the bustle of daily life.
The other place I would go back to is Down the Hatch in Brookfield, Connecticut. Fabulously located alongside Candlewood Lake, the place is open only in summer, but boy, is it always hopping! Bikers, boaters, families, teens – they are all there. The food is standard fare. It’s the view that draws people in. The drinks help them stay.
You get to sit on a sort of picnic bench and have fried seafood with chilled beer, or a glass of wine, depending on your taste. They do have non-seafood options and a basic kid’s menu as well. On its own, all this sounds rather mundane, doesn’t it? But throw in the rippling waters of the aquamarine lake set against a summer sky, and you have found your favorite summer spot.
It’s the perfect place for Utepils (pronounced OOH-ta-pilz), a Norwegian word that translates to something like sitting outside on a sunny day while enjoying a beer. If you don’t believe me, look at the picture.