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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Afternoon in Mystic Seaport, CT

This past weekend my husband and I drove to Connecticut for a little get-away. Our first destination was the beautiful seaside community of Mystic Seaport. This is an historic area known as the center of shipbuilding since the 1600's. More than 600 vessels were constructed along the Mystic River from 1784-1919 during the boom of the American maritime industry. Towards the end of this period, and as a result of the Civil War, there became a decline in wooden shipbuilding... sailing gave way to steamships and railroads and the wooden boats were soon turned to firewood. As the nation's seafaring history was disappearing, three residents of Mystic banded together to preserve the history and, in 1929, they created the Marine Historical Association known today as Mystic Seaport.

In the 1940's, Mystic Seaport acquired the Charles W. Morgan which was the country’s last wooden whaleship from the Yankee fleet. The Association moved in historic buildings from across New England and before long Mystic Seaport was developed into an authentic seaport village. During the next 50 years, Mystic Seaport grew tremendously and collected over 1 million images of maritime photography, nearly 500 boats, and two million maritime artifacts. It is now recognized as the nation's leading maritime museum.

Today, Mystic Seaport is a beautiful destination filled with history, great restaurants and shopping. As it turned out, last weekend there was a food festival filling one of the downtown
streets where local restaurants were selling tastes of their most popular dishes. Unfortunately, we discovered this after we had just eaten lunch - but no complaints, the restaurant was fantastic, our table on the deck was right on the dock so a fantastic view, awesome drinks (my favorite Strawberry Daiquiri for a warm day), and amazing food (lobster & shrimp crepe, seafood topped potato skins, lobster roll (me), baked seafood medley (my husband).

After lunch, we decided to cross the draw-bridge to get to the downtown shopping. As quickly as we started walking across, the lights started to flash, the bells rang and the barriers started lowering. A little nervous, we started running so we would make it and all we could hear was the laughter of people on their boats yelling "Hurry, Hurry, HA HA!!" We were a little embarrassed by the attention but we made it and the downtown shops were great.

After spending a beautiful afternoon in Mystic, we descended upon Foxwoods Casino for the night. Let me say that we are NOT gamblers but the place is such an experience it is fun to go to every now and then. We had gone about a year ago (my first time there) and actually won several hundred dollars on the slot machines. As I quickly found out this weekend, that experience was obviously beginner's luck to draw us in because I had put that money away and we lost it all in no time flat this weekend. Won't be going back there in a hurry but we still had a great time!