An Old Inn Back In The Family

Just back from Block Island (note to self: never brave the ferries on July 4 again) and I have a report:
The Narragansett Inn, mentioned in this month’s Summer Guide for its sunset facing porch, is under new management and the food is fabulous.
This is the moment at which I must disclose that my great-grandparents built the Inn and it’s still owned by cousins. But hey, it’s hard to avoid nepotism in Rhode Island as a whole, let alone the Block, where my maternal ancestors were one of the six founding families. For centuries, while the island lay a quiet fishing and farming community tenuously connected to the mainland, those same six families intermarried. Things opened up during the Victorian tourism boom, but I’m still related to half the residents, which might be unnerving except that we all miraculously avoided growing six toes. So I’m going to just go with the nepotism flow here.
The Narragansett, out of hectic downtown on the lovely shores of the Great Salt Pond, has been a favorite get-away of mine for years. There’s a great little bar that no one except locals and the guests who brave the un-remodeled rooms know about, and the gracious deck looks out over the pond, bristling with boats, masts silhouetted in the late afternoon sun.
A family called the Baptistas managed it for my great aunt for years, and they did a fine job. But last winter the Mott siblings decided it was time to get back into the inn business, and they hired talented local chef Kurt Tonner to run the kitchen.
Having worked weddings with Kurt back in my waitressing days, I knew the food would taste good. And it did. Lamb chops, scallops and shrimp in a pink vodka sauce over pasta, great salads, excellent chowder (I remember that chowder from the catering gigs – it’s Rhode Island, no cream, yet incredibly luscious and loaded with miraculously un-chewy clams. Yum). We were happy with it all and took home more than half of it. And I got to catch up with my cousin John, too, who was working the porch, chatting up the tables and generally getting into the swing. Even if it wasn’t in the family, I’d say: good stuff! And good luck.