The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Coastal New England towns are full of beauty and grit. Hard-working fishing boats, a sea captain’s home from days forgotten, and the smell of salt in the air. I love them and always enjoy a visit to one. Nowadays, they can be quite touristy in the warmer months, so sometimes I like to visit them in the off season. It’s quieter, not as crowded, and nicer to photograph.
Recently, we ventured to Mystic, Connecticut for a family day trip. We have visited a few times before and have a good lay of the land. This trip we wanted to fit something in for everyone in our family.
Visit the Docks
We started our day burning off our road trip breakfast by walking by the water. Schooner’s Wharf is a good starting point.
Our boys love seeing all the marine life and the boats are just starting to fill the slips this time of year. From this dock, you can walk and see the Mystic Seaport across the water.
There are a lot of great shops along Main Street in Mystic and in Olde Mystic Village. A favorite of ours is Mystic Knotwork. Upon entering the shop, you see the knotted trinkets being made. The shop is full of nautical knotted pieces. Everything from door mats to wine stoppers. This trip we picked up some coasters for our home.
We worked up an appetite walking around the town, so we decided it was a good break for lunch. There are many great restaurants to choose from in the downtown. A few we’ve tried and loved are S&P Oyster, The Oyster Club, and Engine Room. Since the boys wanted burgers, we opted for Engine Room this trip and it did not disappoint. Probably one of the best, if not the best burger, I’ve had in awhile. Good farm to table ingredients, grass-fed beef, all local and fresh.
After lunch, we ventured over to Mystic Aquarium. We’ve been to a lot of aquariums, and this is a local favorite. The Beluga whales and penguins are always a joy to visit. Also, it’s a rescue center. The sea lions in their show are all rescues. Definitely, worth a visit.
(Another good option for the family would be the Mystic Seaport. Very interactive for the kiddos. Lots of demonstrations, historic ships, and a glimpse at what life was like in a 19th-century village.)
Venture to Olde Mystic Village
Right next to the aquarium is Olde Mystic Village. It is a tourist trap, especially in peak season and right before Christmas, but has some good places to visit. We recommend grabbing a coffee for the adults and donuts for the kids at Vault Coffee Roasters and taking a leisurely stroll to check it out.
There are some restaurants to choose from and lots of little shops. The ones we make a point to visit are Kitch, Mystical Christmas, and the Toy Soldier Toy Shop. Kitch is my favorite in the village. They carry great brands and artisan wares.
After walking the downtown, indulging in the cuisine, the aquarium and a detour to Olde Mystic Village, it was time to hop in the Jeep for our short drive home.
This day trip made for a pretty full day and had something for everyone in our family to enjoy. I think our next visit to Mystic will be in the fall, so I’ll be sure to have my camera handy to capture it in its autumn splendor.