Whitstable, Whitstable

Kent Yes, Whitstable is so nice we visited it twice. We had several reasons to go. It is a favorite place of our gracious friends, and the last time we went it was a damp and gloomy day. Yesterday was sunny, showing off this lovely fishing port to full advantage – to lots and lots of tourists.

Secondly – and for some the most important reason to re-visit — the shopping is quite interesting here, and we ladies couldn’t do it justice last time with two men hovering outside dripping in the rain.

So we sent them off somewhere and proceeded to successfully march down the high street and scrutinize all that it had to offer. Now that was gratifying.

It must be maddening to actually live here and deal with all the tourists crowding the narrow sidewalks. But such is the price of success.

After lunch, we went four miles away for tea to Herne Bay, another seaside resort, but without the good shopping.

The town began as a small shipping community, receiving goods and passengers from London en route to Canterbury and Dover.  It rose to prominence as a resort during the early 19th century, and reached its heyday in the late Victorian era.

Then it was on to nearby Reculver.

Reculver once occupied a strategic location which led the Romans to build a small fort there at the time of their conquest of Britain in 43 AD, and, starting late in the 2nd century, a larger fort became one of the chain of Saxon Shore forts.

By the 7th century Reculver had become an estate of the Anglo-Saxon kings of Kent. A monastery was established on the site in 669 AD, and King Eadberht II was buried there in the 760s. During the Middle Ages Reculver was a thriving township but was largely abandoned in the late 18th century, and most of the church was demolished in the early 19th century.

What a dramatic site and what a perfect defensive position.

Don’s Food Corner

Not only did we return to Whitstable, we returned to the same restaurant we visited two weeks ago. Plus, two members of the party revisited the restaurant’s fine fish and chips. We were relieved to find that they haven’t changed the recipe.

One of the party had smoked haddock, which featured an egg on top and covered with a mustard and cream sauce. It looked great, smelled great, and was judged great. But I didn’t get a taste of it because none was offered. I’m not going to be judgmental about that denial; I’ll just try to remember the dish for a possible return visit to Whitstable.

I ventured away from Whitstable with a baked Cromer crab. Cromer, a seaside town some 160 miles away, apparently has crab that outshines local crab. There was an option to have a whole baked crab, which would have taken a lot of (messy) work to eat, or to have the meat of the crab removed, combined with some other ingredients, put back in the crab’s shell and topped with cheese, then broiled. It was satisfying and came with some boiled potatoes.

The biggest thrill of the day was visiting one of the oyster shacks and tasting both a cultivated Whitstable oyster and a wild one. I’ve never had an actual wild oyster. They are rare as the price of one at about $7 would lead you to believe. I must say that the wild oyster was very intense. It was also rather small within a very large shell. I don’t think that oyster wanted to be bothered. In contrast, the domesticated oyster seemed to mildly accept its fate. It tasted, like the Whitstable oysters I had a couple of weeks ago like the salty sea. But a far cry from the rather angry taste of its wild cousin. I’m sticking with the cultivated version.

One thought on “Whitstable, Whitstable

  1. I can relate to the crowds…I lived in Wells for two years and the sidewalks were impassable on weekends in the visitor friendly season. I suggested a new event: the High Street Challenge, where competitors are timed to successfully walk from one end to the other without knocking anyone down. I walked in the middle of the street to get anywhere.

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