I lived in Mystic, Connecticut for more than 20 years, and revisited this quaint New England town this past summer. Some things have changed and others are reminders of the past.
The old Mystic River Bascule Bridge opens every hour, 40 minutes past the hour. This gives ample time for tourists to step out of their cars for the next 10-15 minutes to engage the locals in conversation and get a quick view of the local tourist shops.
The main attraction is the Mystic Seaport, notable for its collection of sailing ships and boats such as the only surviving wooden whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan, and the Joseph Conrad, an iron hulled sailing ship.
The Mystic Seaport consist of 60 original historic buildings, dating back to the early 1800s. the village was also used in various scenes of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Amistad” representing New Haven, Connecticut of the 1830s.
My old stomping grounds lead me to a wonderful lunch at the Mystic Pizza. I ate at this pizzeria back in the 60s and 70s when it was only a walk-out order restaurant in the same building with a laundry-mat. The restaurant name has been used in the movie by the same name “Mystic Pizza” which put Julia Roberts on Hollywood’s fame list. The veggie pizza was buonisimo.
Other attractions in the area include the Olde Mystic Village, a replica of old stores and restaurants. There are plenty of hotels and well needed as the population of the town triples during the summer vacationing months. Every year in August, the town traffic is halted and only pedestrians walk main street to view the arts and craft of the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. Artist come from all over the world to display their craft and hopefully become winners of the art contest.
A stone’s throw away in Groton, Connecticut is the U.S Submarine Base and the Submarine Museum which houses the first nuclear submarine, the U.S.S Nautilus.
My Dad was a retired Navy veteran and I was privileged to have an ID. I’ve visited several submarines and even went on a short cruise aboard an old WWII diesel sub.
The area visit brought back many fond memories, my alma mater Robert E. Fitch High School, the college that I attended in Norwich, Connecticut, and the road leading to Mason’s Island and Ender’s Island.
Before leaving, I had to have a dinner at the former Seaman’s Inn. Now it is know as Latitude 41 Restaurant, the first place I worked at the age of 16. Here I saw Ethel Kennedy and her entourage of children and security guys come for a Saturday lunch and stroll of the Mystic Seaport Museum. I also met Walter Cronkite and that is a story in and of itself.
It is a magical moment to visit one’s old stomping grounds and the memories of the past.