Most of this is covered on our website www.mysticrental.com, but I wanted to point out a few highlights and favorites for our guests who are not familiar with the area. (Always have a camera with you! and bring binoculars for sitting on the sun porch and roof deck!) You will find brochures for most of the things mentioned in the book and folder on the dining room table.
- The Seaport Museum, the Aquarium and Old Mystic Village shopping area, are all famous Mystic attractions. (The vinegar/ olive oil/pasta store in Old Mystic Village is really good). A ride on the Sabino, one of the last coal burning steamboats, will take you past our house. This trip leaves the Seaport Museum several times per day and takes you to the mouth of the Mystic River at the picturesque town of Noank. This is a trip worth doing as you get a whole different perspective of Mystic from the water. The sunset cruise is the best and the sometimes have a jazz cruise in the summer. See website www.mysticseaport.com
- The Argia Schooner cruise has been highly praised by friends. The 81 foot schooner leaves 15 Holmes Street several times per day and sails out into the Fisher Island and Long Island sounds. This also goes by our house as does any boat traffic going into Mystic. see www.argiamystic.com It features alot of history of the area besides a beautiful sail.
- Clyde’s Cider Mill is a fun close place to go for homemade cider, donuts and New England Merchandise. It is about three miles past the seaport in Old Mystic and is opened from September into November.
- The Edmundite Monastery at the other end of Mason’s Island on Ender’s Island has beautiful gardens and ocean views and is one of my favorite places to go. It is a peaceful place to walk or just sit and take in the views. Bring a camera. They have a beautiful mass in the chapel there at 9:00 each morning for anyone interested. All are welcomed.
- The Denison House, a 1700’s house museum, and Nature Reserve are close and interesting. www.denisonhomestead.org
- Bike rentals are available at Mystic Cycle, on Route 1, close to the corner of Mason’s Island Road, a right turn when coming off Mason’s Island Road and on the left. Riding bikes, walking and running on the Mason’s Island, are very safe and nature filled. It is a great way to explore the island. Across from the bike shop is Mine, (google Mine, Mystic Ct), which has antiques, vintage items, a wonderful assortment of mineral rocks to purchase, ( I have a collection from there on the table to the right going into the media room), and all kinds of other treasures.
- Stonington Borough. Mystic is picturesque, but I think that Stonington Borough, about four miles east on route one and a right turn on to 1A, is more so. We have mentioned many excellent restaurants above, but the shopping and sightseeing is also a must in this old whaling town with stately and historic houses dating back to the 1600’s. There is a lighthouse that can be visited. Below are some highlights of Stonington.
- A K Dashers has unique, but modestly priced jewelry. It is a great place to buy wonderful gifts for Christmas and birthdays. www.akdasher.com A must see!
- Zia’s and Blue Indigo have interesting clothing.
- My favorite shop in the area is The Fun Shop at 71 Cutler Street in Stonington and their new location on Beech Street in Westerly. The Cutler Street is the best location because it is larger. They have high end factory samples, close outs and over runs. Recently when we were there they had multiple racks of the clothing brand Nic and Zoe that is sold exclusively at Neiman Markus and Nordstroms. The same top my daughter bought that cost $28.00 at Fun was priced at $325. at Nordstroms! They also carry designer handbags, children’s clothing, stationery, Nantucket baskets, New England woodwear, artwork, kitchenware and gadgets, and high quality, exquisite linens, furniture, lotions and soaps, jewelry as well as what ever else they find on their buying trips. It is always an adventure to see what will be there. The owners, Janis and Ron and staff are very helpful and please say hi to them for me. This is a must visit if you are a shopper. see www.funstonington.com
- The best thing to do is to take a walk on the Stonington fishing docks, which are located two short blocks to the right of Water Street. It is a photographers dream , with colorful stacked lobster pots, coiled fishing lines, seagulls, and colorful fishing boats. It is the essence of New England and a place for some reason, that a lot of people don’t know about, so it is serene. I like to go there just to take deep breaths of ocean and fish scented air. I have taken thousands of pictures there, really. My friend took the panoramic photo on canvas that is on the wall as you head toward the living room in the house. Pulling into the parking lot for the docks look to the right for a grey and white building that says Stonington Harvesters. This is another honor system stand situation, but they are shrimp and scallop fishermen and the freezers their are filled with fresh off the boat flash frozen fish products. They catch the” Stonington Reds” shrimp and Boomster scallops you see on menus all over the area. The Stonington reds are a must try sweet shrimp that are rather rare. There is an adding machine to calculate your total and you can leave cash or a check in the slot or box, and they may even have a credit card swiper now. We have barbeque stuff in the pantry, (on the way out the side door near the ocean), to cook shrimp and scallops on the grill. Speaking of which, we personally have been using the charcoal grill for the last few years, because we prefer that taste and because we gave up buying propane, as people would forget to turn it off and it was always empty. Feel free to use the charcoal or propane if it is there and if not , it can be purchased at the Big Y.
- The Velvet Mill at 22 Bayview Street in Stonington is a new and wonderful find. It is a cavernous old mill with alot of history that is being developed into and artisan enclave. It already hosts over a dozen businesses, such as a knot art shop, silkscreener, many art galleries, a decorative welding shop, the Beer’d Brewing Company featuring handcrafted beer, some handmade jewelry, a yoga studio, and much more. My favorite place there, of course, is the French bakery, Zest, www.zestfreshpastry.com that is run by a young woman, Gabriella, who was trained at a French Culinary school in pastry art. Her creations taste like you have just stepped into a small Paris pastry shop! Fantastic! They also make cakes that are to die for. This building is also home to the Saturday morning Stonington Farmer’s Market in the winter months. It would be a great adventure, especially on a rainy day. A couple of websites for this are www.thevelvetmill.com that will bring you to the ctfoodand farm site. ( Another incredible place to buy a special occasion cake is the Chinese Tin Tin Bakery 134 Main Street , Westerly www.tintinbakery.com. We had two birthday celebrations on our most recent trip to Mystic and the cakes from here were exquisitely decorated in a very non-traditional way They use lots of fruit in their presentation and received five stars on Yelp!)
- The restaurants, Milagro, Noah’s, Dog Watch, and Water Street, mentioned above are in this area on Water Street.
- A fun few hours to spend here would be parking the car and walking down Water Street from the village to the point and coming back by a different route. Maybe about a mile and a half walk. If you are interested in history this is the place for you. Most of the houses are historical landmarks and dated.
- Venture a little further out these are a few suggestions.
- The Umbrella Factory in Charlestown, RI www.fantasticumbrellafactory.com is about thrity five minutes away off of route one. It is an old hippie enclave, with shops, great gardens, animals and a fantastic greenhouse. Very unique. There is a wonderful collection of affordable global merchandise in one building. The musical instruments and African collection is particularly interesting. Children find this place a real adventure and mine, who are now 24 and 29, never miss going there on every trip to Mystic!
- Point Judith is another fishing port much more commercial than Stonington, which has many fish shack type places to eat and a huge beach area. Bring a cooler to store purchased fish for your trip back to Mystic. From there you can also take a ferry to Block Island, which is a great day trip. www.blockislandinfo.com There you can rent cars, mopeds, bikes or taxi’s to tour the island. The town at the ferry stop is interesting if you don’t wish to tour the island, with many shops and restaurants to choose from. Last summer we did the fast ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and had a guided tour of the island, which was great fun, but definitely a whole day endeavor.
- The Newport Mansion tours are another option. www.newportmansions.org There is a two to three mile path running behind the mansions along the ocean, called Cliff Walk, which is free, spectacular and a great way to spend a few hours in Newport if you do not want to see the mansions. Newport is about an hour and a half from the house so easily doable in a short day. Marble House is my favorite mansion there.
- Watch Hill is much closer to the house and has what I call the live-in mansions, rather than the museums. There is a small shopping area, restaurants, beaches and it is only about thirty minutes away. This would be a nice trip for someone who is not very mobile, but would like to see the area. Ocean House, www.oceanhouseri.com which was just voted the best resort in the United States is there and I believe open for lunch and dinner. Taylor Swift’s house is on the curve just before you get to Ocean House. ( It is the house with all the guards out front.) There is a very old operating carrossel in the village area that my children always enjoyed. Drive around on the side streets to get an appreciation of the magnificent homes.
- Wickford, RI is an adorable , historic little town that has lots of antique shops as well as many other shops and restaurants in a very compact area. Some of my favorite places there are Blue Hydrangea, The Canvas Shop, Tavern By the Sea, and the Beach Rose Cafe. Take a short walk up Main Street and you will see on the left the church that was featured in the movie, The Witches of Eastwood. Make sure to go to the Wickford Art Association www.wickfordart.org on 38 Beach Street for and extensive display of local artists works. There is also a wonderful park there and probably the most accessible beach around to walk on.
- The Essex Steam Train/Boat ride is also a fantastic trip especially for children and seniors. see www.essexsteamtrain.com This is about tweny five miles up 95. The steam train travels through the woods for about five miles and then you board a ferry and travel up the Connecticut River past Gillette Castle. While you are out this way the picturesque little town of Chester is nearby. The River Tavern there is an excellent place to dine and the town quaint and stunning.
- Staying at Home. All of the above are available if you can tear yourself away from the views as you sit on couches in the sunroom and living room or up on the roofdeck. Nothing is more perfect than a glass of wine, some cheese and a specular sunset there.
- If you prefer to stay at home, but don’t feel like cooking, we know a caterer, Gylaine Nicol, who was a personal chef for many years and still does lots of catering in the area. She would be willing to come in and prepare a dinner for you and do the clean up afterwards. If this is of interest to you her number is 860 710-2997 for pricing and to make arrangements.. Some good takeout to eat on the porch options are Chesterfields Barbeque, 1$ Shushi, (sounds terrible, but good, ) and Phantasia, Vietnamese and Chinese, all three clustered together in Groton. If you drive thru downtown Mystic and stay on that road you will get to these places in about five miles. (Ocean State Job Lot is also right there and is great shopping, kind of like Big Lots, but better). They carry a lot of food items. Closer places would be Mystic Market, pricey but close and good, Angies, The Pita Spot, and Big Y has an excellent selection of cheese, olives etc. and is a decent grocery in general. As we said before, Seawell, as you go over the causeway to the house will cook lobster for you if you call ahead and will also shuck oysters. Every morning you can watch the oyster fishermen boat in front of the house to the left, dredging for the Noak oysters you would be eating. They are phenomenal! All these places I mentioned menus are in the book on the dining room table.
I could go on for a few more pages, but I think you get the idea of my enthusiasm for the area. Don’’t even get me going on the immediate beauty surrounding the house! Check out the osprey nest off the upstairs back bedroom. It is a very special exquisitely beautiful place to observe nature. No matter what the weather or season it is a never-ending show. I hope you enjoy our home as much as we do. We would love to hear about your stay so please write in our guest book and we are always happy to receive positive feedback on Homeaway.
Have a great vacation. Glori