Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Little Time in Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is one of my favorite New England coastal towns.  The downtown is really small but jam packed with nice stores, good eateries, boutiques, and galleries.  We have visited Mystic a few times before and always love coming back.  Each time we discover new things while still enjoying the familiar.

This time, we were with our good friends Pat and Debbie so it was great fun showing them around.  One of the biggest attractions in Mystic is the Mystic Seaport Museum – the largest maritime museum in the country.  The Seaport is a re-creation of an old seafaring village comprised of dozens of authentic New England buildings (that date back to the 1800’s) staffed with historians, musicians, storytellers and craftspeople who bring our seafaring past to life.  There are also historic vessels for you to explore or take a ride on, gardens, sailing programs, films, planetarium, summer camps and workshops and classes.  Whew, there is lots to do there so plan on at least a full day. Betsy and I spent time exploring the seaport a few years back so this time we decided to visit by water instead of by land. Betsy, Debbie, and I set out on our watercraft and paddled up the Mystic River.  We poked around the seaport for a bit and then paddled into town where Pat was nicely waiting for us and gave us a ride home.  Seeing the town from the water was a great experience and paddling under the historic Mystic River Bascule Bridge was cool.

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It was here in Mystic where we finally returned to the land of lobster and steamer clams after a year and a half hiatus. Pat is a lobster lover which meant double trouble for Debbie and I as Betsy now had an eating partner and there were two people now lobbying for seafood restaurants when it came time to pick a restaurant.  One of the first places we ate was Abbotts Lobster in the Rough which is always great fun and good food.  Like many lobster shacks this one is on the water which makes for a perfect setting while enjoying some great seafood.

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One diversion from eating seafood was enjoying lunch at the famous Mystic Pizza. Some of you may know “Mystic Pizza” as the 1988 American coming-of-age film starring Julia Roberts and the one that marked Matt Damon’s film debut. The movie is about the romantic lives of three young women who work at Mystic Pizza and their entanglement with a variety of men they encounter. The film title came about by a Hollywood Screenwriter who spotted the beloved local pizza joint that has been there since 1973. While the restaurant was “home” to the plot, the restaurant scenes were filmed in a converted home in Stonington. After the film's release, the real-life Mystic Pizza building in downtown Mystic was renovated to resemble the movie set.

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The weather was cold and rainy but didn’t keep us from getting out and about and wandering over to Stonington, which also ranks as one of the prettiest little New England towns.  And, of course, every pretty coastal town has a lighthouse.  The Stonington Harbor Light is an inconspicuous low stone building erected in 1823 and was the first lighthouse established by the federal government.  The slight stature of the structure is atypical for lighthouses and is almost dwarfed by the neighboring houses.  Stonington has always remained a quiet little town having first gained wealth in the late 1700’s from the seal hunting trade and later in the 19th century with a small fishing, whaling, and sealing fleet, whose direct trade was with the West Indies.  Today, you will recognize it as a pretty little town that welcomes many who have their second homes here.

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The final place we visited was The Velvet Mill to check out the shops and Farmer’s Market. The mill dates back to 1888 and has seen the transformation from a velvet-producing mill housing some 300 broad looms and 450 employees to a broad space for artisans, craftspeople, and restaurateurs to share their goods and provides office space for many small businesses.

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Downtown Mystic is so pretty and we love the shops and galleries that are packed into a quaint river setting. There are no tacky t-shirt shops selling junk, instead, you have amazing bakeries, boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, and walkable streets. Seems every time we come to Mystic there is something more that we discover.

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4 comments:

  1. I got some street side shots on Google Earth - does look like an interesting place.

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  2. That was our first stop 16 years ago when we started traveling. It looks as great now as I remember.

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  3. Looking forward to visiting Mystic later this summer. Do you have a close CG recommendation?

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