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Maritime Fun in Mystic
Mystic, CT might seem like a cryptic destination due to its name, but make no mistake: this charming seaside village is an unapologetic hub of all-things nautical. From a recreated 19th century coastal village to an exciting modern aquarium, there is an abundance of maritime-themed attractions to enjoy in the area. Mystic is further anchored by an appealing selection of restaurants, gift shops and cosy hotels, and it should come as no surprise why this Connecticut city is a popular – and unique – weekend family getaway.
To get started with your marine adventure, the first port of call is the Mystic Seaport – generally regarded as the crown jewel of this village. An expansive museum that takes up 19 acres of land bordering the Mystic River, the seaport contains an array of fascinating attractions including a working shipyard, the aforementioned coastal village that takes you back to the 1800’s, and four National Historic Landmark vessels. The vessels are a standalone major points of interest, with the most famous of which being the Charles W. Morgan, known as the last remaining wooden whaleship on the entire planet. Another fascinating activity on offer is the Mystic Aquarium. Doubling up as a research facility and tourist attraction, this aquarium gives you an assortment of exhibits to explore – where you can get up close with the likes of sea lions, penguins and whales! Also make sure to not miss the Mystic River Bascule Bridge. Built in 1920, this iconic landmark is unique as all of its mechanical parts are exposed, making it a fascinating thing to watch when in motion.
Maritime activities might be at the forefront, but this doesn’t mean that Mystic lacks when it comes to alternative attractions. For example, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is one of the most long-standing and enjoyable activities available for all manner of travellers. Operating for close to 70 years, this nature centre has a lot going for it – including more than ten miles of picturesque trails and its very own natural history museum. The Mystic Museum of Art – with ever-changing exhibitions that keep things fresh for an organisation first created over 100 years ago – is another popular attraction with visitors to the village. If history is your thing, you should make a note of the Denison Homestead Museum. This house has remained within the same family since it was built some 300 years ago, and guests can now roam around this heritage site and enjoy the individually-themed rooms that represent different periods of American history.
Mystic might not have a large quantity of shops and designer brands, but it still packs in plenty of opportunities for you to get hold of goodies, essentials and gifts for others. As for where you should go, the area has two main places for shopping: Olde Mistick Village and Historic Downtown Mystic. The former of which is styled as a reformed New England village, with over 60 independent establishments providing a wide range of unique treats to purchase. The downtown area of Mystic is also similar in delivering a varied choice of quaint boutique stores, ensuring that window shopping and browsing the diversity of these outlets is a fun experience in itself! Oh, and don’t ignore the likes of the Mystic Aquarium and Seaport when hunting for souvenirs and mementos to remember your trip to this endearing village.
From comfy restaurants by the waterside to contemporary dining in luxury at establishments such as the Spicer Mansion – a building that has been a fixture in the village since 1853 and doubles up as a hotel – there is a tantalising selection of eateries that will get your taste buds doing a merry dance when visiting Mystic. The area is also known for its history of producing delicious homemade ice cream, with the time-honoured Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream being the main hotspot for such sweet treats. This highly regarded ice cream parlour has stood for more than 100 years, and its philosophy throughout that time has been to use the finest pure ingredients to ensure each scoop matches its lofty reputation. With all that said, there is one particular dining place that is a pilgrimage for travellers far and wide: Mystic Pizza. If you didn’t know, this very pizza joint was launched into the public consciousness thanks to being the focus and setting of a 1988 film. This flick was also named Mystic Pizza and ended up being the breakout movie for star Julia Roberts – ensuring film buffs to this day still visit the eatery to grab their very own ‘slice of heaven’!