The Saratoga Traveler: Day Trips, Weekend Getaways & Hidden Gems

Mystic Connecticut--More than a Day Trip

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Mystic Connecticut is worth the trip even in the pouring rain.  A few weeks ago we decided to take a day trip to Mystic Seaport.  We had been there in May and the weather was glorious, we weren't so lucky this time.  On the way through Massachusetts it started to get very foggy and rainy.  So foggy that I chickened out and had my husband Mark drive when we stopped at a service center.  The further we drove the less the fog became but the rain increased.  And it rained and rained and rained, all the way through Massachusetts into Connecticut. 

Once we got into Mystic we could see that it had rained quite a bit there before we even got there.  The streets were puddled with rain and some of the parking lots were flooded.  Since we couldn't go to the Seaport we thought we would try Mystic Pizza (we had planned on eating lunch there anyway) since it was past lunchtime.

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Mystic Pizza, the same pizza place from the movie of the same name from 1988, is a quaint, cozy, kitchy place with excellent service and even better pizza.   The walls are decorated with memorabilia from the movie and where we sat they had a flat screen tv playing the movie.  It was fun to see Julia Roberts and Vincent D'Onofrio ( Detective Goren on Law and Order Criminal Intent) so young.  We started our meal with a antipasto salad, which to me was the same as a chef salad except this one was huge with lots of meat and cheese rolled up together and the house dressing which was a creamy garlic was just delicious!  Then we ordered our pizza.  We decided on the house special which has pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onions, green peppers with mozzarella cheese - a large was only $16.25. We gobbled up every bite.

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 After lunch we went into the gift shop area where they sell t-shirts, coffee mugs, magnet etc.  Took lots of photos but didn't buy a souvenir.

The rain had slowed just a little but since the Seaport was out of the question, my niece Laura suggested we try the aquarium.  .  Since there had been so much rain the aquarium parking lot was flooded and they were not going to let anyone else in the aquarium but when they found out that my niece, her husband and son had come all the way from St Louis not only did she let us in she let us in for FREE!

The aquarium is made up of several complexes--outside and inside.  We went inside first where there were exhibits made up of sea creatures from all over.  My favorite was the coral reef which is on the top floor.

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Letting you look down into the reef  to see all the colorful fish swimming back and forth not to mention the HUGE eel.

We found out that there is a sea lion show also on the second floor so we decided to check it out.

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The theater where the sea lion show was held was small and intimate, and the show was not only informative but very entertaining.  

After a couple of hours of looking at all the exhibits inside we saw that the rain finally stopped so we decided to check out all the exhibits outside.  First stop was the beluga whale exhibit,  these playful creatures did not disappoint as they would swim by as curious about us as we were about them.

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The next stop was more sea lions along with a guide full of interesting information about the residents.

As we walked around there was the penguin exhibit, although unfortunately under construction we saw a rather comical view--penguins inside a huge glass window--totally out of their element.

Some of the other exhibits were closed but they reopened the touch tank full of stingrays.  They would glide across the water coming up close enough for someone to occasionally touch them.  Much to my surprise one came up right in front of us and seemed to climb the side of the tank--a little frightening I must admit.

After a full afternoon of sea life we decided we would leave.  When we did we saw what the rain really did.  The entire parking lot used for the aquarium was flooded.  I guess it's a rare occurrence since the local news was there.  Cars were being towed out and people were frantically making calls to their insurance companies.  I'm sure that more than one of those cars were totaled.

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 With the weather finely cleared Laura asked if we were going to Rhode Island.  Its was still early enough so we thought, why not?

We had been to (Warrick, home of the Ghost Hunters) Rhode Island the first time we came to Mystic so we decided to try somewhere different.  Rhode Island has lots of beaches so we thought we would try to find one.  We found three actually and they were all flooded, so Mark said, let me try something.  He drove us to Westerly Rhode Island to the beach there.  It was magnificent. 

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The coastline is rocky but there was enough sand to make it a real beach.  With skies clear and the breeze blowing warm it was the perfect way to end our Connecticut/Rhode Island day trip.

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If you go to Mystic remember:

Eat at Mystic Pizza, its well worth it.  They get crowded so try going in the off hours.  They don't except reservations.

If possible try Mystic Seaport, its interesting with all the ships you can climb aboard and explore.  Kids will love it.  There is a charge for admission so check their website for events and fees.

The aquarium is great, just remember there is a charge for admission unless you're lucky like we were!

Most importantly if you are going to Mystic for a day trip get an early start.  Its about 3 hours away.  If you would like to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of hotels to stay at.

 

 

If you go to Rhode Island:

Try the beaches.  Rhode Island has some of the most beautiful landscapes and coastline in New England.

 Next time:

Great Escape -- is it really a hidden gem?

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Mystic really is beautiful! What a great town. I went to Mystic Pizza too and it was delicious! Kim, have you been to Groton CT? - it is right near Mystic and is so picturesque!

Nope never been to Groton, been through it. All I know about it is that its the submarine capital of the world!
Mystic Pizza frozen is good but nothing like being there.

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Unfortunately my visit was brief since I was there during the downpour. Quick question--you were let in on the afternoon of 7/1? I was there..I one of the people whose car flooded. I didn't realize they were open that afternoon, past say 1pm when everyone was realizing the lot flooded...I am actually searching on the web trying to locate anyone else there during the parking lot flood. This happened on our vacation, and no announcement was made...we had to say goodbye to a car that was less than a yr old.

I'm so sorry to hear about your car. By the time we got there the rain was over and they were towing cars out of the lot. We heard many people on their cell phones saying that their cars were being totaled because of the flooded parking lot.
I would think that the aquarium would bear some responsibility since it was their lot you parked on and it should have had drained to take the water off the lot.
That's just my opinion.
Its frustrating and disappointing when a vacation is ruined due to no fault of your own. I hope that you try Mystic again. Its really a beautiful place, but if the rain spoiled it for you then why not try Plymouth?

Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

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Kim Bernard

Moved to Saratoga from St Louis MO (home of The Gateway Arch, Baseball Cardinals and of course Anheuser-Busch) with my family for my husband's job. In the last 2 1/2 years we've had the opportunity to explore and discover day trips, hidden gems, along with some of the most beautiful, historic, interesting and curious places in New England. So come with me and look through a Midwesterner's eyes at Saratoga and beyond. I hope you enjoy your adventures and feel free to share yours and together we can feed our travel bug!