Although downtown Mystic has seen a growing amount of trendy shops, it doesn't take away from the strong traditional look and feel of this short stretch of "Main Street USA." There's the local toy, book, ice cream and coffee shops, and a true, picturesque seaport feel with a drawbridge in the middle of town, a public boat launch and Mystic River Park with a nice, walkway by the water. It's all so real, even Mystic Pizza (photo, left), a famous tourist destination made famous by the movie of the same name -- but at heart, still a "local" restaurant-bar serving some really great pizza.
While eating, on this visit, at the superb River Walk restaurant, our friendly waitress brought out fresh, locally-caught seafood while striking up down-to-earth conversation, including talk about what ice cream to get at the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shoppe. She said with enthusiasm that her sister worked there and to say "hello." At the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shoppe, a crowd gathered inside and outside this old-fashioned place -- the latter where families watched the drawbridge go up and down. We considered the ambitious lemon chocolate kisses ice cream, but ended up with some delicious chocolate and soft serve twist ice creams while walking through town.
During that walk, we felt like we belonged as did the myriad other families, leisurely enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this authentic New England coastal downtown. Downtown Mystic is a place where Finer Line Gallery can peacefully co-exist with the Mystic Army Navy Stores and the Harp and Hound Pub. The eclectic mix, however, never sells out to the trendy crowd as its historical roots and preservation of old-time nautical buildings, homes and businesses are firmly in place. Hopefully, Downtown Mystic will stay that way, forever.
When in downtown Mystic CT, make sure to visit:
Mystic Seaport, a "living history museum consisting of a village, ships and 17 acres of exhibits depicting coastal life in New England in the 19th century"; the very large and fascinating Mystic Aquarium; and Olde Mystic Village, with its 1700s New England look that features "more than 40 quaint 'shoppes'."
Visit the Mystic County Web Site for more information on Mystic and surrounding areas" http://www.visitingnewengland.com/downtown-mystic-ct.html.
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