Christmas on the East Coast-Day 1: Mystic, Connecticut (Day 1)

 I can’t believe it’s mid-November already. Where does the time go?                                                                                                             

I’m excited to have a couple hundred readers now. Yay! I’m so glad you’re here. Man, starting a blog is tricky. You just have to keep writing and hope that people find you (and not just your friends ha ha!) and they come back for more (fingers crossed). 

A few people told me not to even bother starting a blog because  Blogging is dead, apparently. Mnn, I guess I should have started this thingy back in 2006 when I was thinking about it. I’m not a good trend follower, obviously. And I’m clearly a slow poke. Whomp Whomp whomp.

Speaking of which (the blog, not the lack of trending), why don’t we hit the road? How about the very beautiful Rhode Island in New England? That sounds like a fine plan if I do say so myself. 

With Christmas only a month away now (I know, that’s crazy talk) I figured it was a good time to share my holiday road trip from last year (did you catch the part above where I said I was a slow poke? ha!). It might even inspire you to celebrate the holidays with a few chowdaheads too, if you’re looking to get away.

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Last Christmas was a tough one. My dad had passed away only a few months before, so I wasn’t really feeling the Christmas spirit. Everyone told me the first Christmas is the hardest, but because my dad loved Christmas more than Santa does, it was even worse than I imagined. Too many memories and way too much Christmas music (normally, I love it). I was becoming one of those people who didn’t like Christmas (and whom I thought were crazy). How’s it even possible to dislike Christmas?

Now I know how they feel. Thank god for Cowboy & my friends  who happily distracted me. I couldn’t have gotten through without them. Even though they were busy with their own holiday craziness, they spent time with me and kept me away from the Christmas music (haha!). True friends really are the best! I treasure them always.

I decided that achange in scenery was in order. Not that I need an excuse for a road trip, but that’s a pretty good one if you ask me). Cowboy and I had a bit of time off so we decided to hit the road and drive South. And by south, I mean to New England.  Although we would have preferred to keep driving to Florida.

Since we weren’t really going that far south, the weather wouldn’t be all that different, right? Winter came (too) early this year, so by Christmas I was ready for spring. But I’d be happy going anywhere with even a little less snow (and cold). A girl can dream, right?

This is what we looked like before we left town. Brrrrr (don’t forget to admire Cowboy’s really nice hat)!!

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We arrived in Hartford late that evening so we didn’t see much  when we got there. 

So imagine my excitement that next morning when I opened the hotel curtains to see this:

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Ohhhh Yeah!!! Hello Spring! Not really, but compared to the bad$#ss snow storm we just left, it was close enough. Suddenly I had Spring Mania. Wheeeeeee!

I figured there wouldn’t as much snow as we had at home, but I thought they may have a little down here. I’ve been to Rhode Island once before (in February) and there wasn’t any snow that time either. But I figured that had been just a fluke, or they were having an unusually early spring. Well, I’m just happy to see this trend continue.

And it was WARM….8 degrees baby! (45 or so F) It was glorious. I just stood there basking in the sunshine. I probably looked ridiculous but remember, I just came from -20  (-800 F).  Boo ya!

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The best part? I could wear running shoes instead of heavy boots. (Yep, I’m easily amused).

This is exactly what I needed. Who’s needs Florida now? Suckas! Hmmm… probably warmer there of course, but we’ll happily settle for this.

Cowboy enjoyed this too. Not quite shorts weather, but almost

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To celebrate this beautiful weather, we hopped in the car and headed to our destination of the day:  Mystic, Connecticut. This seaport town, which is practically smack dab in between Boston and New York City, is about an hour or so drive from Hartford. And very scenic as we headed straight to the coast. I especially enjoyed seeing the lack of the white stuff.
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If you’ve never been to Mystic, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s such a charming (not my favourite word either, but it really does apply here) little coastal town. Very touristy, but for good reason.

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The only thing I’ve heard about Mystic is that they have delicious pizza.   “Huh?” you may be wondering. Well, if you grew up in the 80s (like me) you might just remember a movie called Mystic Pizza that put this town (more) on the map.

It also put Julia Roberts on the map. This was her first movie, and her pal Matt Damon’s first role too (though he didn’t have any lines). A very young Ben Affleck tried to get a part in this movie but wasn’t successful. Just a little bit of fun trivia for ya.

In this coming-of-age flick, Julia’s charachter worked at a pizza parlour, along with her friends, and she couldn’t wait to get out of this town. Hmm, maybe not a good movie to boost tourism after all.

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But it did! After the movie came out this pizza parlour became so popular they were always lineups to get in.

The writer of the movie, Amy Jones, was visiting Mystic one summer and after lunch at the pizza parlour, she was inspired to write the movie. Only a few scenes were actually filmed here, most of the movie was filmed nearby in other areas of Connecticut and also Rhode Island.

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There wasn’t a line-up when we were here. Had it been July instead of December, I’m sure there would have been. Unfortunately  Cowboy and I had just eaten lunch, otherwise we would have gone inside for pizza (wonder if they have GF crust?).

We grabbed our coffees (that we picked up along the way) and wandered around the main streets of this pretty little coastal town. 

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We then headed toward the bridge. And not just a regular bridge but a DRAWBRIDGE!! How often do you get to see one of these? It was such a treat.

The town sits right on the Mystic river, so the bridge allows you to get to the other side of town. This bascule drawbridge, which was built in 1920, has two gigantic 200+ tonne concrete-filled counterweights. Don’t want these puppies falling on ya, they  could very well hurt. 

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We stood on the bridge for awhile sipping coffee and enjoying the beautiful scenery around us. We also chatted to a few locals too, who were all very friendly.

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There are a few little shops near the drawbridge too. 

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There’s a gift shop (with tons of souvenirs), a tea shop & also a little ice-cream parlour (Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream) that was sorely tempting. Too bad I can only eat ice cream in the summer (unless forced). I’m not one of those crazy ‘winter ice cream eaters’, even though it felt more like spring today. Still! (I know, I know you ice cream fanatics… that’s blasphemy!).

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After we crossed the bridge, we walked along the riverside boardwalk and admired the boats. This place must be jammed packed in the summer, and I’m sure the docking rates cost boaters a pretty penny.

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We saw the gorgeous Yacht club and a few other spectacular historical buildings along the riverfront as well.

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I could see this place being completely packed during the summer months, it’s the perfect day trip destination. But I could easily spend a couple of days here, at least. 

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Look…it’a a fire engine BOAT!! How cool is this? When there’s a fire, they can jump in the boat and zip off to it (hope it has a good motor).

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You know you’re in a coastal town when… I love it.

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We wanted to do a few other things here (like the Aquarium, which we heard was fabulous) but it was closed. So we’ll catch that on the next trip here.

I’d love to come to Mystic in the spring and do some sailboating, before high season starts. But if it’s this nice in December, I can only imagine what it’s like here in the month of May.

Cowboy and I stop for a selfie on the boardwalk. Down by the sea….

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After a delightful afternoon here in Mystic, it was time to head back to Hartford. Stay tuned for Rhode Island next!

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7 thoughts on “Christmas on the East Coast-Day 1: Mystic, Connecticut (Day 1)

  1. A change of scenery sure can do wonders to lift your spirit.. as do your friends and family. It’s great to have such a strong support system. You sure get around to so many interesting places. I hope to travel the States one day but for now I will have to live vicariously through you:) Mystic Pizza’s on my list now!

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    • Absolutely, Barbara. And it was good for me to get away since it was the first Christmas without my dad. Still lots of memories and thinking about him, but not on every single corner! 🙂 If you haven’t been down to the eastern coast of the U.S, I hope you get there soon. You will love it. And Mystic was such a pretty, charming little town. I loved it! Hope to get back there soon.

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  2. Pingback: A Beer at the local …Department Store? (Holiday in New England part 2) | The Roadtrip Cowgirl

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    • Thanks so much!! I just checked it out..Captain Daniel Packer Inne, looks like a fantastic little spot! And I love the history of the building, 250 years old. I’m hoping we’ll head that way again sometime this year so I’ll be sure to check it out for dinner or a late bite/drink. Thanks again for your suggestion and for reading.

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