After my yummy and very filling lunch at Go Fish it was time to hit up another Mystic landmark, Mystic Seaport. My parents tend to believe that we went there many years ago on a family vacation. I know we were definitely in Mystic way back when but we didn’t hit up the Seaport, Aquarium or Pizzeria. So you tell me if that counts. I definitely do not.
I don’t know what I was picturing but this precious and relatively small sea town appears to be in the same shape that it was in the nineteenth century. Of course that is the point. There are numerous shops and homes you walk in and out of to see what goodies are being produced and how things were created back then. Those inside are in period costumes and will answer any questions. At one point I also witnessed the beginning of a reenactment of some kind. They were recruiting children and adults to participate but even that was a bit too much for me. The actors were trying to be into though and I am sure it was educational.
There is much to be seen and done here. I didn’t have any specifics in mind when I visited I just wanted to walk around and see what it was like. You can walk aboard the Charles W. Morgan the last remaining wooden whale ship in existence. You can row a sailboat or take a walk through the galleries that have insights into nautical relics from any point in the previous two centuries.
Besides walk around and visit the shops, the only other activity I did was go inside the Planetarium. It was a very informative presentation and there I finally got a grip on the constellation systems. It was also very conveniently free as a part of my combo day pass for Mystic Aquarium and Seaport. While it might not seem like I did a lot here believe me walking around is enough. There is so much to see and admire as you walk back into history.
Speaking of nautical relics this Seaport is also home of the fabled La Amistad. This tale is captured in the movie Amistad and tells the story of a Spanish slave ship in the year 1839. During the course of their voyage fifty-three of the Africans who had been kidnapped revolted and killed their captors. During the struggle, determined to redirect the ship back to Africa, the boat eventually came into the Long Island Sound and was towed to New London, Connecticut. in New Haven the two year trial played out as the Africans fought for their freedom. It was President John Quincy Adams defended their rights, though this was years before his presidency. It rings similarly to the story of his father the first President Adams when he defended the British in court in Boston in the year before the American Revolution. Ironically enough the Adams men were the only family members besides George H. Bush and George W. Bush that had families where both the father and son became president. However it was not uncommon for former presidents to be related, take the case of famous cousins President Theodore Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
For those who are curious and didn’t see the movie, the Africans end up winning their freedom in March 1841 and living in Farmington until they could work and funds could be raised to send them home. In November of that year they finally made their pilgrimage back to Sierra Leone. There were thirty-five survivors and five missionaries who made the trip alongside them.
If you are interested you can come to the Seaport and see a recreation of the ship and other exhibits about it. I have also just learned that Amistad sites are featured on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, something I didn’t even know existed. Sure enough there are stops made by the Underground Railroad, monuments, homes, and cemeteries. This is definitely going to be on my itinerary for my next trip to Mystic next year. I would love to follow the Railroad stops and learn more about this state’s role in that movement. I am proud however to check off Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain’s houses off this list (see previous blog). Overall there are one hundred and thirty places in fifty different towns. That could be a weekend trip in itself.
Moving from the nineteenth century back to the seventeenth century there is another famous ship now docked at Mystic Seaport. That would be the Mayflower II. The name says it all. The Mayflower II is a replica of its sister ship you know the one that brought the you know whose here for that holiday they ended up creating in November. This ship was created to memorialize the continued connection between Britain and America and it was completed in 1957. Originally located in Plimoth, Massachusetts near Plimoth Plantation, it moved to this Seaport in December 2014. Here it will undergo a major renovation over a period of years and only be sailed back to Massachusetts for the Spring and Fall seasons. So depending on where and when you vacation you can get a glimpse of this baby. That is a definitely a must see attraction.
While in Mystic if you need a snack and after all of this activity you should, I recommend two of my favorite places to eat in ALL of Connecticut: Mystic Pizza (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2012/03/for-mystic-pizza.html) and Frank Pepe’s (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2013/02/for-my-birthday-getaway-that-brought-me_9.html). The former is famous for the movie starring Julia Roberts that was filmed on location and the latter is one of the greatest pizza experiences you will ever have in your life. It would be a shame to be so close and miss out.
After my very FULL day at both attractions I was beat. Beat beyond belief. We retired to my friend’s house for dinner and girl talk.
My vacations often leave me beat but satisfied.
Now that you know how to have a great a time in Mystic, continue reading to find out what brunch at the legendary Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island was like. Boy what a weekend this was!
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