Kathie Purmal, Exec.Director
THE BEST LITTLE CLAMBAKE
For nearly two
decades the Lake County Historical Society’s Clam Crew has turned out the most
delicious clambake in Ohio. Hundreds of clambake connoisseurs and
aficionados attest to this fact each fall as they leave that year’s bake fully
satisfied with this delicious fall specialty.
Located on the grounds of the beautiful and historic Lake County History
Center, the GREAT WESTERN RESERVE CLAM BAKE is a traditional ( N.E. Ohio style)
clambake with 1 dozen little neck clams, ½ barbeque chicken, sweet potatoes,
corn on the cob, cole slaw, rolls and butter.
What makes the LCHS bake especially delicious is the clam chowder
provided by Hellriegels Inn in Painesville. After checking in, guests are invited to stop
at the Chowder Tent and then perhaps a quick stop at the Wine and Beer Bar selling
ice cold beer and crisp white and red wines.
the televisions will be on in the museum, barn and bar to capture any Browns
action or sporting event filling the airways.
Guests are also invited to play some horse shoes or visit the Historic Living History
Village on the site as
they wait the serving of the clams. The
bake is served buffet style from 1pm-3pm.
The event is open until 5pm, but the Clam Crew insists the flavor is
best if served within this two hour period, so guests make it a point to come
early. Should the weather turn
inclement, service will be in the event barn and inside in Heritage Hall.
guests are welcome to enjoy the live music, enjoy a beverage from the bar, play some corn hole or horse shoes or visit the museum. The Lake County
Museum is located on the
grounds and visitors will definitely want to save time to visit the special
Civil War exhibits that line the three main exhibition halls. The exhibits cover the Civil War experience
from the Underground Railroad in Lake County to the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. Due to the construction of a new
exhibit, the “Civil War Little Theatre” will be closed during the bake.
common in N.E. Ohio this time of year, however, few
realize the only clambakes in Ohio
are in this part of the state. Many
partake of the bakes thinking they hale back to the early 1800s when the first
settlers came into the Connecticut Western Reserve bringing their New England culture with them and thus a taste for
clambakes. However, clams have a very
short life span on the trail and any pulled from Lake Erie were not popular with New
England pioneers and the bake disappeared from local
culture before it even began. However,
100 years later, the popularity, growth and speed of the railroads changed the
culture of N.E. Ohio. Trains traveled
between Cleveland and New York within 20 hours. Wealthy Cleveland
families sent their sons to Ivy League colleges back east and families formed
connections and made visits to the east.
Wanting to bring back souvenirs of their travels, turn of the century
hostesses turned to the unique and welcoming informal “Clambake” they had
experienced with their east coast hostesses. They could afford to have the clams and other New England goodies sent in iced barrels carried by
speeding rail cars from the east. Once
here, these hostesses, primarily on estates in the Little Mountain area,
Kirtland Hills and Waite Hill hired local residents to help set-up and serve
the clambake. The practice spread into
the wealthy homes in Mentor and west into
Millionaire’s Mile in Wickliffe. As more help was hired, more local residents
had their first taste of a clambake and delighted in what they were
eating. As railroad shipping became less
expensive, this popular fall event gained popularity among the regular
residents of N.E. Ohio, and the tradition spread. The rest, as they say, is history. Make this fall your time to enjoy this
traditional N.E. Ohio favorite.
the bake at the Center are reminded that Reservations are limited and required
for the Great Western Reserve Clambake.
Contact the Society at 440-639-2945 for credit card reservations. Reservations may also be made online at www.LakeHistory.org. Cost is $25 for
members / $28 non-members.
An extra dozen clams are $8.00 and kids meals of pizza and hot
dogs are $3.00. The Lake County
is an 8-acre site located at 415 Riverside Dr.,
Painesville Township, just
minutes of I90 at the Rt. 44 exit. Visit the website or call for directions.