History, Nature and the Smell of the Sea
By Sandra Scott
Seaport on the list of “1000 Places to See Before You Die” was also on our list
of “to-dos.” Humphrey Bogey and Lauren Bacall picked the Gate House at the Inn
at Mystic for their Honeymoon so we knew we couldn’t do any better plus the Inn
has an expansive view of Long Island Sound. The Gate House is just one of the
Inn’s accommodation options that includes a colonial revival mansion high on the
hill surrounded by gardens.
views of the Long Island Sounds from the Inn are unsurpassed and the colonial
charm of our room with the four poster bed and fireplace made it hard to leave
but there is much to do in picturesque Mystic, Connecticut.
Our first stop was Mystic Seaport, a 17-acre museum town
showcasing workshops and buildings of 19th-century Mystic, with the focus on the
whaling era. A personal favorite was the display of figureheads.
one of the most romantic and mysterious of all artifacts from the age of sail,
these figureheads demonstrate the extraordinary skill of their craftsmen. In
ancient times, figureheads frequently depicted supernatural beasts and deities
adopted from popular mythology. This tradition persisted into the nineteenth
century, when patriotic figures and national heroes were also introduced.
There are a variety of seasonal activities including one of
Connecticut's most popular Yuletide activities,
theatrical Lantern Light Tours of Christmas Past with horse-drawn carriage
rides, visits to old St. Nick and rowdy revels in the 19th-century style tavern.
But before the whalers and trades people arrived in Mystic
there were the Native Americans. The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research
Center celebrates 20,000 years of American history. The walk through a
16th-century Indian village with life-size figures is so perfectly detailed that
for a time we were part of their daily life.
show scenes portraying every phase of life from the hunt to preparation of the
freshly killed deer to preparing the meal.
Not to be missed is the dramatic 30-minute film, “The
Witness,” that vividly depicts the Pequot War of the mid-1600s, the first
serious conflict between colonizers and the indigenous populations in New
England. A top-notch museum.
was the everyday ingredient in the life of the local Native Americans, for an up
close and personal experience with nature we went for a walk at the Denison
Pequotsepos Nature Center. The Center features exhibits highlighting the
habitats and wildlife of southeastern Connecticut, as well as eight miles of
trails that wind through a beautiful 300-acre wooded preserve. And, it is only a
short hike through the woods from the Inn at Mystic.
accessible by trails from the Nature Center is the Mystic Aquarium. It is the
sea that has had the most influence on Mystic. From the ghostly beluga whales to
the eerie images of the Titanic, the Aquarium is the place to marvel at all the
wonders of water creatures and the mysteries of the deep. While the beluga
whales were our favorite we were intrigued by the creepy tarantulas, poisonous
frogs, slithering snakes, fascinating piranha and soaring bats that live under
the canopy of the Amazon.
planned each day so that we returned to the Inn in time for tea in the piano
lounge with hors d’oeuvres followed by some time relaxing by our fireplace
before dining in the award-winning restaurant, Flood Tide.
The Flood Tide features an exhibition kitchen with a
wood-fired oven, grill and rotisserie. It is a culinary experience not soon
forgotten. The hardest decision of the day is deciding what award-wining meal to
emphasis is on all natural and organic ingredients.
The first night we dined on Wolfe's Neck Farm Naturally
Raised Filet Mignon with Cheesy Stacked Potatoes, Broccoli and Sherried Demi
Cream prepared on the wood fired grill. The next night we had the Brick Oven
Baked Roasted Halibut "Gratinee" Mussels, Prosciutto and Artichoke Over Lobster
Home Fries with a Creamy Tomato Scallion Butter.
Over dinner we plotted the last day’s activity – a drive
through historic Stonington. We vowed to return during the summer to relax on
the balcony savoring the view of Long Island Sound and to take out one of the
Inn’s canoes. Mystic is now on our list of “1000 Places to Visit Again!”
The Inn at Mystic:
www.innatmystic.com, (800) 237-2415
www.mysticaquarium.org, (860) 572-5955
www.mysticseaport.org, (888) 9SEAPORT
Mashantucket Pequot Museum:
www.mashantucket.com, (860) 396-6817
Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center:
www.dpnc.org, (860) 536-1216
by Sandra Scott, John Scott, and Inn at Mystic.
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