A Brief Guide To Finding Things To Do In Mystic Ct During Covid
Like most tourist destinations around the world, Mystic suffered from closings and travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On one trip this writer took to Mystic during the pandemic, everything was closed.
So we drove from Greenwich to do what we could do, in a slightly more exotic locale all the free, open-air activities:
- Walking around historic downtown Mystic
- Hiking through a nearby park
- Eating takeout pizza from Mystic Pizza on the pier overlooking Mystic River
But things have changed a lot in the intervening months.
That said, all Connecticut businesses and organizations are following state-wide guidelines.
While travel restrictions are being lifted, many of the social-distancing requirements are still in effect:
- Wear a mask when indoors
- Maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from people not in your group
- Most places are maintaining limited capacity, so call ahead to make reservations
But with so many things to do in Mystic, Connecticut, youre sure to keep yourself entertained, regardless of whether one attraction is closed or at capacity.
Mystic River Bascule Bridge Mystic Ct
You might have to wait for some time on Route 1 while the bascule bridge over Mystic River in Mystic goes up to let some large ship pass and then back down to let the road traffic continue its flow. But, take your time and have a look at the mechanism that makes this possible.
All machinery is exposed, and when the system was built in 1922, it received high praises for its ingenuity. Electric motors lift the bridge span its mobile span is 85 ft wide and 218 ft long. It weighs 660 tons and uses two 230-ton concrete counterweights. The bridge stays open for about five minutes and it opens and closes about 2,200 times a year.
U.S. Route 1 over Mystic River, Groton – Stonington, Mystic, CT 06355
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Go For Drinks At The Barley Head Brewery
Situated in the heart of Downtown Mystic, this brewery has a rotating selection of in-house-made beers weekly. Barley Head Brewery has 2 bbl brewing systems to make a wide range of beers, making it a must-visit spot in Mystic. Whether you are looking for a relaxing site on the weekend or just fond of beers, this place offers something for everyone.
The Barley Head Brewery changes its beer every week and offers 4 to 6 beers on tap in various flavors from their brewery. Their beer ingredients are sourced locally and even from the brewers own garden. You can even bring your snack or food to enjoy with your drink.
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Free Things To Do In Mystic Connecticut
While visitors dont equate charming Connecticut with being inexpensive, the most charming towns in Connecticut all feature free things to do.
In fact, more than a few of the top Mystic attractions are free to visitors:
- Exploring downtown Mystic
- Walking and watching the Mystic Bascule bridge
- Wandering through Olde Mistick Village
- Admiring the Mystic Museum of Art
- Walking around Mystic Seaport
Some extra free things to do in Mystic, CT, include:
1) Elm Grove Cemetery
This beautiful cemetery is a short drive away from downtown Mystic, and up the road from Mystic Seaport.
Elm Grove Cemetery is a picturesque work of the Victorian era. It was built during the Rural Cemetery Movement.
The movement created park settings of rolling hills, brooks, and trees. And visitors to Elm Grove Cemetery can still admire the flowers, willow trees, crowns, and trumpeting figures decorating the ornate sepulchers.
The impressive granite memorial arch was an 1890s addition to the entrance.
Today, the park-like atmosphere is worth at least a drive, or better yet a walk, on a nice day. Even those wary of the deceased will appreciate the gorgeous views of Mystic River.
2) Liberty Pole Square
This is admittedly not much of a destination.
But it is a nice place to take a break while wandering around downtown Mystic. The square is at the intersection of Holmes and East Main Street just before heading west across the Bascule Bridge.
3) Williams Beach Park
Wander Around Downtown Mystic
We spent an afternoon exploring everything that historic Downtown Mystic has to offer. There are more 80 boutiques that sell clothing, books, jewelry and more in downtown Mystic. If you get hungry while youre shopping, dine at one of the restaurants sprinkled in among the shops. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are bakeries, candy shops and ice cream shops. You can even rent a kayak in the downtown area and take a ride along the Mystic River.
In the summer there is a free summer concert series at Mystic River Park.
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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Store
27 Coogan BoulevardMystic, CT 06355 536-1916
For the fans of Greek and Italian cuisines out there, youre probably already familiar with the succulent taste of olives. Nestled within the Olde Mistick Village, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Store showcases the most excellent flavors that olive oils can ever get.
Have A Slice Of Pizza At Mystic Pizza
Do you remember the movie Mystic Pizza from the 80s staring Julia Roberts? Mystic Pizza was a coming-of-age film about two sisters who are working as waitresses at Mystic Pizza. That movie was based on this pizza shop. It was partly filmed on location and to this day, customers line the sidewalk, waiting to taste A Slice of Heaven. If you choose to dine in, you will be able to watch the movie which plays on a loop inside the restaurant.
Mystic Pizza has a full menu of pizza, deli sandwiches, appetizers and yes, you can purchase some Mystic Pizza swag while youre there. Located in downtown Mystic, definitely worth checking out!
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The History Of Mystic Connecticut
Mystic is a village on the southeast coast of Connecticut, very close to the Rhode Island border. It was settled by colonists in 1654, although the Pequot Indians had been here before. The name comes from the Pequot word, Mistic referring to the tidal river running through the village. From the 17th-19th centuries, it was an important shipbuilding town. Much of the history and houses have been retained throughout town or in Mystics museums.
Where To Find The Best Food In Mystic
If you are a food lover then Mystic is the town for you! It was the first thing we were told about arriving in town. Mystic is foodie heaven! With an abundance of independent restaurants serving locally sourced food, the only problem you are going to face is not having enough time to eat in all of them!
For a full list of restaurants visit This is Mystic
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Mystic River Bascule Bridge
Speaking of small attractions, the Mystic River Bascule Bridge is cool, but not something that will take-up most of your afternoon.
This unique swing bridge follows a similar construction to more famous drawbridges, like the London Bridge.
In the warm months, this bridge lifts every 40 to 60 minutes for boat traffic, so there should be plenty of opportunities to see the bridge in action while visiting the surrounding downtown.
Argia Mystic Cruises Mystic Connecticut
Exploring the area around the coastal village of Mystic is best done on the water you can enjoy the scenic coastline, beaches, nearby islands, and the many boats that make it their home here. Argia Mystic Cruises take guests on an exploration in a true maritime tradition, on board of ARGIA, their 18-feet schooner where guests can learn about maritime history from knowledgeable staff while lounging on the spacious wooden deck while the crew is manning the ship as it glides peacefully through the water.
The schooner can comfortably accommodate up to 49 passengers. Passengers are offered complimentary lemonade and snacks, and they can also bring their own food and drinks. The trip begins and ends by passing under the Mystic River Drawbridge, one of Mystics most popular attractions. The
15 Holmes St # 7, Mystic, CT 06355, Phone: 860-536-0416
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Why We Recommend This Activity
If youre interested in doing the most popular kids activities in Mystic, CT, then head on to Mystic Aquariums and get a chance to touch a shark at the Ray and Shark Touch Pool.
Your young kids will also love the African Penguin Exhibit, the Jelly Gallery, and the Jurassic Giants Dinosaur Exhibit.
Or A Haunted History Tour
A haunted tour of history is the ideal way to spend a night in Mystic. The history lessons and ghostly stories are perfect, especially at Halloween time. A lot of walking is involved throughout the tour, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
If you are looking to do something exciting out of the house, book a haunted history tour in Mystic. Dont worry, the tour guides are well-prepared in advance, and you can ask as many questions as you want. A haunted history tour of Mystick is for ghost hunting enthusiasts, history buffs, thrill-seekers, and everyone in between!
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Have An Early Night And Watch Mystic Pizza
It really does have to be done! The place I stayed at was incredible. The bed was huge and to be perfectly honest I could have happily just stayed in my room for the 2 days watching TV with the fire on. My advice is to enjoy happy hour, grab a takeout Mystic Pizza and head back to your hotel to watch it on Netflix!
Wander Around Olde Mistick Village One Of The Best Things To Do In Mystic
With 40+ unique shops, Mistick is a low-key shopping village where you can spend hours with your loved ones or with your pet. The place is known as a recreated 18th-century New England village with old shops in Olde mystical buildings. From exceptional items from oils to plants to candles to maple syrup, you can purchase antique and modern items from this village at reasonable rates.
Enjoy a cup of delicious Coffee or try donuts the salted caramel cupcake is a must. You can even try the vegan range of food if you are a vegan. Sit on a bench and watch the world go by or stroll through the village roads to enjoy the lovely atmosphere. The waterwheel and pond in the Mistick village are just the cherries on the top.
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Barn Island Wildlife Area
Known as Connecticuts largest coastal property managed for wildlife conservation, the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area spans 1,013 acres. The area is home to a very diverse ecosystem with hilly uplands, open fields, mixed hardwood forests, and wetlands. The area perfect for hiking, wildlife observation, and hunting. The area is located in Stonington, only a short drive from Mystic.
Mystic & Shoreline Visitor Information Center
While a visitor center doesn’t sound as appealing as the aquarium, this funky building offers a wealth of information about Mystic and the surrounding area. It’s located at the western edge of the Olde Mistick Village, right off the parking lot.
This Visitor Information Center is owned by Robin Grimsley, whose smile is as big as her town knowledge is deep. Ask for a map and have her circle her favorite spots, most of which are included on this list. She’s so passionate about each one that she’ll provide an earful of helpful tips and information. The center offers brochures on over 225 area attractions, so it’s nice to speak with someone who’ll help you narrow your search.
While here, ask Robin or one of her associates for a coupon or two to help you save money on certain admission and restaurant fees. This is also a perfect place to buy discounted tickets to the Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium.
Address: 27 Coogan Blvd #1d, Mystic, Connecticut
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Stroll Around The Historic Downtown
There is nothing old about the Historic Downtown Mystic being a historical place. Stretched along both banks of the Mystic River, this place is a lively neighborhood with a charming drawbridge and more than 80 shops. Be it restaurants, eateries, ice cream parlors, souvenir shops, you will find everything within walking distance. The charming waterfront districts historic landmarks like the Mystic Drawbridge make this place even more exciting at night.
With a rich culinary landscape, farm and drink scene, and an array of sweet shops, Downtown Mystic is a foodies dream place. Enjoy the rich community vibe and explore the Mystic River on a cruise, rented kayak, or paddleboard. By the way, dont forget to attend a host of annual events and free summer concerts in Mystic River Park. This place attracts many tourists and locals as there is always something like peoples pirates parade or holiday concerts and community events.
Check Out The Mystic River Bascule Bridge
Located in the east of Mystics main street, Bascule bridge connects the Groton side of Mystic with the Stonington side of Mystic. Built in 1922, this famous drawbridge is the only one in entire Connecticut and an example of a good state of preservation. Take some time and drive across to see the fantastic engineering features closely. Read the plaque that signposts the bridges construction company and opening date.
The bridge is a fascinating sight in itself and a major tourist attraction in Connecticut. The Bascule bridge uses a system of counterweights to lift the bridge span and let ships pass and then back down for the traffic to continue. The span remains open for nearly five minutes and closes about 2,200 times a year. The weight of the Bascule drawbridge is 660 tons and uses a set of 230-ton concrete counterweights.
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Take A Photograph Of The Striking Charles W Morgan Ship A Must
Charles W Morgan is the only existing wooden whaleship at Mystic seaport that is still afloat in the U.S. The ship is known as one of the oldest commercial ships and is considered a living attestation to the legacy of the American whaling industry. Charles W Morgan is the National Historic Landmark and is a popular attraction at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
It is a must-see historical attraction for visitors to coastal Connecticut and a taste of maritime history. Book a tour, click pictures and explore the above and below decks to know the minute details. You can book a guide or listen to a docent who will explain the finer points of the ships history and life aboard.
Things To Do In Mystic Ct This Fall
Though any season is a great time to escape to Mystic, CT, theres something extraordinary about fall. It is one of our favorite times of year to explore this charming New England town. Not only are there are so many great things to do in Mystic, CT, in the fall, but its a relaxing season in which to enjoy it all, too.
Perhaps its the enticing smell of apple cider donuts in the air or the colorful foliage dropping from trees. Or maybe its the slower and even sleepier pace to the days here. Whatever it is, we know youll enjoy a fantastic getaway in Mystic.
Whether youre looking for a getaway filled with relaxation or adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Mystic, CT, this fall. You can keep as busy, or not, as you want to be! While leaf-peeping is one of our favorite things to do in Mystic CT this fall, thats not all there is to do here. Here are a few other suggestions.
The Old Lighthouse Museum
While this small stone lighthouse isn’t technically in Mystic, it’s worth a visit. A mere seven-minute drive southeast on Route One, Stonington is considered by locals to be a suburb of Mystic. Surprisingly, the Stonington Harbor Lighthouse isn’t located directly on the end of the peninsula. Instead, you’ll find it tucked quietly behind a white picket fence off Water street, backing on to a bay, only a few hundred feet from Stonington Point.
Smaller than you’d expect, it has stood proudly as a safety beacon on this spot for over 170 years. Inside, you’ll find six rooms of exhibits highlighting the town’s seafaring history.