At first glance, there seems to be nothing magical about this old seafaring village located in the southeastern part of Connecticut. Certainly, it holds a connection to the sea because of the Mystic River on whose banks the town stands. But when you experience the calm in its quaint streets and hear the steamer whistles blow along its postcard-perfect harbor, you'll understand why this little village is a major New England tourist destination. One of our favorite things to do in Mystic is simply watch the schooners pass under the Bascule Drawbridge as the make their way down Long Island Sound toward the Atlantic Ocean. There may be nothing mystical about Mystic, but its old-world charm will enchant you like no other place can.
With more than 60 original historical structures, vast collection of sailing ships and boats, the 17-acre recreation of a 19th century seafaring village, the Mystic Seaport should be first on your itinerary. The Museum of America and the Sea is the largest living maritime museum in the nation and features sailing instruction and tourist rides on historical small-sea vessels. Your next stop should be the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, which is home to more than 6000 marine animals. The kids will surely enjoy the live animal exhibits at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. And don't leave without a taking cruise along the Mystic River aboard the antique Steamboat Sabino, which harbors in Mystic Seaport.
If you want seafood, you can surely satisfy your every craving in this coastal town. There are restaurants around the Mystic Seaport and the Olde Mistick Village. You can also find dining places in Main Street and Greenmanville Avenue. Bars and pubs are numerous along Water Street. If want to experience a lobster dinner cruise, make a reservation with Mystic Whaler Cruises, which hosts a 3-hour feast while the sun sets on the sound. Julia Robert's fans should not miss the grub at Mystic Pizza. And don't forget to stroll downtown with an ice cream from any of the parlors in the village.
Shopping For a fun way to splurge, head to the Olde Mistick Village where you can find decent shopping in any of its 60 shops. Bring home a piece of your vacation from A Taste of New England, which is well-known for its customized gift baskets. If you're in the market for clothes and accessories, visit Designs, Ltd. You can also find a great variety of shops in the heart of the downtown Mystic.