Londonderry

A night of nostalgia



Jefferson Starship at The Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry.

Photo by Courtney Hoppe

When I started planning this excursion, I was surprised to find a number of activity options in Londonderry - including Whippersnappers, where I sort of remember dancing the night away many moons ago, and the destination that I ended up crafting this outing around, The Tupelo Music Hall, which hosts a variety of touring musicians. On the night I was planning to venture out, Jefferson Starship was scheduled to perform and "nostalgia" began to present itself as the theme for the evening. With that theme in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to double date and asked one of my fabulous friends and her boyfriend to tag along for the ride.

With the activity set, the next challenge became where to dine before the show. I say it with love, but Londonderry is not exactly known as a mecca for fine dining, however, despite it only being mid-March when this outing occurred, Clam Haven was already open for the season. And if there's one thing I love about living in New England, it's ordering fried seafood from a walk-up window and eating it in the car.

You can write a Letter to the Editor scolding me for dropping the "London" from Londonderry for the food portion of this piece (Clam Haven is located just over the border in Derry) but I don't care because it was so worth it. Each couple shared a ginormous plate of fried clams, scallops and shrimp, which also came with onion rings, fries and cole slaw for $17.95, and my date and I went one step further by adding matching burgers for a little surf & turf action. I've gotta tell you: I've eaten at a fair amount of seafood shacks in NH and Clam Haven just may be my new favorite. The fish was fresh, the batter wasn't soggy and the burgers were roadside-stand satisfying.

As we laughed like teenagers in my date's car, which still smells like grease, time escaped us. We had kept the interior light on so we could see what we were eating and when he tried to start the car back up, all we heard was click-click-click. We had a dead battery and Jefferson Starship was just about to take the stage a few miles away. A Clam Haven employee kindly agreed to give us a jump. As three grown men stood over the hood and scratched their heads, my girlfriend and I sat in the car and watched. Thinking we'd show the boys a thing or two, we got out and quickly found ourselves joining the head-scratching chorus; no one could find the battery. When roadside service arrived, we all got a lesson in the engine layout of an Audi.

Due to the casual nature of The Tupelo, arriving an hour late didn't seem to matter much. We had assigned seats but camped out in the back so we could rest our glasses of BYOB wine on the concession window as we danced. Craving something sweet after losing a few pounds dancing, we ventured out into Londonderry in search of dessert but most places were already closed. Open until 11 p.m., the Cracker Barrel's ingenious frozen mug sundaes were our saving grace. Seated at a table in front of the roaring fire, we ended our evening in a scene of romantic coziness that one typically does not associate with a chain restaurant.

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