24 Mystical Hours in Mystic, Connecticut

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Friday nights have become laughably lackadaisical in our apartment. After a long week at work, Phil and I just want to cuddle up next to each other, melt into our couch and let the world slip away. Occasionally, we decide to watch a movie that one of us hasn’t seen before. Considering I am obsessed with cheesy 80s, coming-of-age films (Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, etc.) and that it was my turn to choose, we landed on Mystic Pizza. As a budding, yet profound, Julia Roberts wittingly gallivanted around her sleepy suburb, we noticed something – Mystic, CT was gorgeous. A undemanding, small town that looked walkable and simplistic. After the credits started rolling, we grabbed our laptops and booked a room at an inn in Mystic, Connecticut. What else were we going to do on a rainy weekend at home?

Because Mystic is a short 1.5 hours southeast of Boston by car, we took our time in the morning. Nonchalantly, our overnight clothes and toiletries made their way into respective duffles. We sauntered to the car and cruised to the highway. Route 95 was desolate at 10:00 on a Saturday morning; it’s not the most exciting drive, but it’s easy. Especially when you are immersed in a carefully curated 90s playlist.

It was one of those oh-so-popular overcast Spring days in New England, the ones where there is a 60% chance of rain at every hour of the day and clouds hanging low overhead. I was apprehensive to venture too far from the car without an umbrella, but it was warm which I enthusiastically enjoyed. Visiting in off-season drew smaller groups of spectators, sporadically perusing sidewalks, and allowing for comfortable window-shopping.   

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Though not actually a town, this village is comprised of a colonial-period seaport, a modest downtown with a bascule bridge, an exceptional aquarium, and a famous pizza parlor – what more could you ask for? Mystic, CT is drenched in history and tradition, and according to the cast of Mystic Pizza, “You don’t monkey with tradition!” We have to agree!

Keep reading for our itinerary of how to spend 24 hours in Mystic, CT!

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24 Mystical Hours in Mystic, Connecticut


Key Pointers

  • Bring comfy shoes and a windbreaker, or something of the sort. The village is on the water, so a brisk breeze in not uncommon so you may want a jacket. The village is walkable and you’ll want to stroll downtown so appropriate shoes are a must.
  • If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, spend the night. Mystic can be an amazing day trip, but with amount of adventurous and creative food options, you’ll want more time.
  • Leave the car at home. If you have the patience to work around a train schedule, do it. Phil and I left the car in the parking lot at our Inn and never thought about it again until it was time to leave!
  • Start following @whalersinnmystic on Instagram a few days before making your trip. This nautical-themed inn not only posts drool worthy images of their own diggs, but spreads the love amongst fellow local businesses.

Where to stay: Whaler’s Inn – this inn has five smaller properties that all have the most adorable nautical-themed rooms. We stayed in the Noank House which had refined furnishings, modern amenities, views of downtown, and a shared porch perfect for sipping wine in the evening. Note: If you want a more adult getaway, choose a romantic room in The Hoxie House with a fireplace, jacuzzi tub, and views of the drawbridge.

Where to eat, drink, and be merry:

  • Rise: Delicious, locally sourced ingredients makes for a healthy meal that supports the community. Oh and the contemporary-eclectic decor makes the perfect backdrop to capture your photogenic brunch. Their pancakes are a must!
  • Engine Room: Local haunt attracting all of the guests staying in the inns in Downtown Mystic with its burgers, beers, and bourbon. The restaurant lives up to its name with its the engine tap in the center of the bar. The industrial machinery is complemented by rustic mason jar water glasses, metal stools and chairs, and leather booths. Try The Old Swede for a stiff, smooth drink that complements any meal, including the baked mac and cheese.
  • Sift Bake Shop: Offering chocolate croissants the side of your head or a latte made with real chocolate sauce, this bakery satisfies even the sweetest sweet tooth with its dozens of options for breakfast, an afternoon snack or dessert. This establishment is also gaining some exposure on national television through its appearance on the third season of Spring Baking Championship on Food Network.

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What to do:

  • Stroll through Downtown Mystic Shops: Most of the inns are located in the area, so window shopping makes for a great way to get exercise. Be sure to shop small and stop in The Seabag, Trove, Salt, and Bank Square Books.
  • Mystic Seaport: Be sure to walk around one of the nation’s best seafaring museums to get a glimpse of ships made during the 1800s. Wooden hulls, masts, and anchors make you want to sail the seven seas!
  • Mystic Aquarium: This amazing aquarium is a tourist favorite and home to two beluga whales and dozens of penguins! This is a child’s dream, but also completely acceptable for adults to walk around for a few hours.  
  • Mystic Pizza: The restaurant that inspired the feature film, be sure to at least go in for a beer and enjoy the hundreds of pictures of the set. Be sure to pick up some memorabilia at their gift shop or take a picture in front of their iconic sign.

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