Downtown Mystic, Conn., is a "Must Sea" Destination
Mystic, Connecticut. Photo by Joan Hurwitz.
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/07/16
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Downtown Mystic CT, in southeastern coastal
doesn't have the perfectly manicured look of some high-end, polished
New England travel destinations, but then again, sea captain towns were
never meant to be that way.
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
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,
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
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