September 21, 2018 Mystic, CT (Day 2)

(After our walk around the campground last night, we saw that those 25 RV’s in the caravan came from all over the country.  We saw license plates from WA, CA, SD, FL, NM, OR, IL, MT, UT, PA, NV, Ontario, and British Columbia. Bob found out from one of the organizers that they started this trip in Kennebunkport, ME and will end their trip in St. Augustine, FL on October 22.  Their next stop is Jersey City, NJ.  Keep a lookout for them, Pam.  They are staying at Lincoln Park RV and Marina.  Today they have a group activity planned on a tour boat down the Mystic River.  It was a great day for that!  We’ve run into these caravans before and it is a very organized group that plans these tours and all the side activities that go with it.  Everything is taken care of for you and you just show up.)  

The sun was out with clear, blue skies today.  Woo-hoo!  We left the campground at 11:00 to spend the day in Mystic, CT.  Bob found out about Mystic from reading his boating magazines and it was on his list of places to see.    Mystic is a picturesque coastal town located on the Mystic River. Some of the fastest clipper ships in the country were being built in Mystic by the middle of the 19th century.  Our scenic drive would be down Highway 2 along the coast.  The first town we came to was Stonington.  We passed through the cute little downtown area as we made our way towards the water.
The streets in Stonington were very narrow.  No, this is not a one way street.  These streets had 2-way traffic even with cars parked on the side of the street.

We headed to the waterfront as we often do to see the boats from Stonington Point.  We ended up at duBois Beach where we could see the entrance to the harbor.

Many boats were moored in the harbor and from there we could see the Ram Island Schoal Light and hear the fog horn blowing, although we couldn’t see any fog.
It was a nice day and there were all kinds of boats moving about…some coming in from the ocean and others leaving the harbor.
On the street to duBois Beach, we passed this really cool, old lighthouse.  It was the 1840 Stonington Lighthouse and museum.
We really enjoy driving around the streets and exploring in these small towns.  You see some really interesting things like this lobster stuck to a stop sign post. At every turn there was a new adventure.
I love this “buoy art” that was hanging from the street post.  
We entered the town square and saw this stately Ocean Bank building that sat across from the square.
We discovered that gas was expensive in this area at $3.15 a gallon.  We’ll have to get gas back in Rhode Island.    
We left Stonington and continued on to historic Mystic.
We found a road that took us to Brewer Marina.  Bob remembered the name from his boating magazines and we wanted to check it out.  Besides, it allowed us access to the waterfront. From this marina, we could see this truss-style swing bridge across the Mystic River.   It carries the Amtrac train between Stonington and Groton, CT.
It turns to open and while we were there, it opened for the boats wishing to pass through.
The main road into downtown Mystic, was backed up with traffic.  It seems that the bascule bridge was open and traffic had to wait for the boat traffic to pass under.   So we decided to visit Mystic Seaport along the Mystic River first.  Mystic Seaport Museum and Village is 19 acres of 50 historic buildings. It is an interactive campus that depicts life in a seaport village.
We didn’t spend the money to go inside—at $26 a piece it was a little pricey, but we walked on the street along the area, viewing a few of the homes and reading the information plaques describing each home. These 3 homes were owned by the brothers who founded the George Greenman and Co. Shipyard in town. These homes were beautifully restored.  Mystic Seaport Village is located on the site of the Greenman Shipyard and textile mill.

Several scenes from the film Amistad were filmed in Mystic Seaport.  We started at the north entrance to the Museum, walking along the perimeter of Mystic Seaport Village, and ended up at the south entrance and the gift shop.
This tug boat was being restored in the front yard at the Museum entrance.  
The last of the wooden whaling ships, the 1841 Charles W. Morgan, an 1882 training ship, Joseph Conrad, and a fishing schooner, 1921 L.A. Dunton, are on display in the harbor.
Main Street and the side streets in historic downtown Mystic are lined with specialty stores of all kinds.   We found a place to park and walked up and down Main Street, checking out some of the stores.
We walked as far as the river on one end of Main Street and the Mystic River Bascule Bridge.
Supposedly, it is quite a draw for the tourists because of the huge cement counter weights that lift the drawbridge high.
We walked on the pedestrian walkway alongside the bridge to get a view of the waterfront.  

We were also hoping to see the bridge in action, but not today.  That would have been cool to see those huge gears turn and the cement counter weights come down.
On the return walk along Main Street, we had to stop at the N.L. Shaw Company that sells antique jewelry.
We read that Mystic was used as the set for the 1980’s film–Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts. There is a restaurant in town by the same name.  
There are many Colonial period buildings and houses dating back to those maritime days that still stand, with many located on the west side of the river.  There were just so many beautiful homes.

We drove along Riverview St. to the town of Noank, CT which took us along a bluff above the water’s edge.  We drove on some really cool streets that were narrow, winding, and sometimes very steep. It wound around large homes that sat on the hillsides.  The road finally brought us to Abbott’s “Lobster in the Rough” restaurant on the Mystic River.  
Bob had done some research about the best place to have seafood and this is where “the locals eat”.  It sat right on the waterfront at the harbor with continuous views of boats.  From where we sat outside, we could even see the Ram Island Schoal Light.
We learned that “in the rough” means that it’s a restaurant where you walk up to the counter and place your own order.

Then when your number is called you pick it up at Abbott’s “long red counter”.  There is no table service and you bus your own table after eating.  We’ve been to a couple of restaurants that use this system.
We ordered clam chowder and steamed mussels in a garlic white wine sauce.  It had turned a little chilly with a cool wind and the hot clam chowder hit the spot.  We ate it so fast that I forgot to snap a picture of it, but the mussels were delicious too.
We decided to head back because we still had to stop for gas.  Since gas was so expensive, we did some checking and found a cheap gas station in  the nearby town of Westerly which was just over the border in Rhode Island.  We took the scenic drive there to fill up with gas for $2.82 a gallon for our drive tomorrow.  We got back around 4:00 and didn’t have to worry about dinner.  I took Auggie for a walk and the campground was really quiet while everyone was out doing whatever they were here to do.  Our campground started to fill up before dark with weekend campers.  I guess it makes sense since today was Friday.  We got new neighbors at dinnertime and Auggie watched them set up camp from our door.  
We are driving from CT to the state of NY tomorrow, but bypassing Hartford, CT.  We are doing just an overnight stop on our way to New Jersey.      



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