Some places are just plain fun to visit. Not because of the action, adventure or adrenaline, but for the light-hearted novelties of historical interest. Places where the past comes back to life, not only to be viewed, but to be experienced.
Put on your sailors cap, hop on board an old schooner or steamship and set sail around Mystic Harbor…
Mystic is a small pre colonial town of 4,200 people on the northern coast of Connecticut. Founded in 1654, it is one of America’s oldest and most important seaports with a rich maritime heritage. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the east coast, drawing millions of visitors each year to it’s amusing attractions.
Called the Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport is the country’s largest maritime museum and one of its first living museums, having been created in 1929. It has a collection of over 500 historical boats including slavers, sloops, schooners, whalers, fishing vessels, a steam boat and a replica of the famous Amistad.
The Seaport also has 60 historical buildings which have been turned into a recreated 19th century village, complete with 30 working trade shops and a preservation shipyard where traditional tools and methods are still being used by craftsmen in costume. Many exhibits and galleries, a planetarium and a handful of restaurants round out the attractions.
Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration
The Mystic Aquarium has lovely exhibits for Beluga whales, sea lions, seals, penguins, sharks, sea turtles and several different species of fish. There are daily programs, live shows, feeding and interactive displays. It’s also a great place to learn about sea life preservation and aquatic research.
Olde Mistick Village
For those who love to shop, head to Olde Mistick Village where visitors can pursue over 50 stores selling everything from souvenirs and knickknacks to jewelry and designer clothes. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and all in a picturesque settings full of trees, green lawns and ducks. The Historic downtown also has great shopping options.
If you have not had your fill of museums head to Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Florence Griswold Museum, The Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Hop on scenic byway route 169 for a pleasant drive and set sail on the Argia or Sabino, two boats that will take you for a delightful cruise back in time.
Don’t miss the famous Essex Steam Train or a slice of Pizza from Mystic Pizza where the Julia Roberts movie was filmed. There is much to see and do on the coast between New York City and Boston and Mystic is certainly the most fun.
When To Go
The best time to visit Mystic is May to June or September to October to avoid the intense summer humidity and take advantage of the spring and autumn foliage.
Keep in mind Autumn is very busy with tourist. Try to avoid visiting on the weekends if possible.
From May to June, the average high temperatures range from 69 to 79°F (21 to 26°C), low temperatures range from 50 to 61°F (10 to 16°C), and precipitation ranges from 3.5 to 4 inches (94 to 104mm) each month.
From September to October, the average high temperatures range from 66 to 76°F (19 to 24°C), low temperatures range from 46 to 59°F (8 to 15°C), and precipitation ranges from 3.5 to 4 inches (91 to 102mm) each month.
Getting There & Around
Mystic is located in Connecticut on the northeaster coast of the United States.
The fastest way to get to Mystic is to fly into Bradley International Airport located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. From the airport, it’s about an hour drive south to Mystic.
The best way to get around is by rental car or on foot.
- Mid-range accommodations: $75-125
- Meals: $15-20
- Bottle of beer: $2
- Stop in for a sweet treat or ice cream at Sweet Marth’s.
- Rent Canoes for a paddle around the Connecticut River.
- Pamper yourself at The Spa at Norwich Inn for a day of relaxation.
- Miss a stroll through Olde Mistick Village for great shopping and dining.
- Forget to swing by the fun casinos of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods just 15 minutes from Mystic.
- Essex was attacked by the British on 1814, making it one of the few towns in the US to be attacked by a foreign country.
- Essex is comprised of three villages including, Essex Village, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton.
Feature Image Credit: miss-britt