A day trip should always involve a destination which differs in some significant way from your everyday surroundings. Otherwise, you're missing the point and defeating the purpose. As you scan the New York City metropolitan area, there's always lots of excitement and plenty to do. So, a getaway should represent something different.
There is no more radical departure from the celebrated urban sprawl that is New York City, than a peaceful village by the sea. The Village of Mystic Connecticut is today's destination. Located in the county of New London, Mystic is home to 4,000 residents. However, the population does swell during the summertime, as New Yorkers who own homes there relocate for a few weeks per year.
At 139 miles from the Empire State Building, Mystic is a three-hour drive from Manhattan. The appeal of Mystic Connecticut is all about its connection to the sea. Like much of New England, the village has a proud maritime past. What makes Mystic unique is that here much of that history has been preserved.
It was back in 1929 when the Marine Historical Society founded a museum in Mystic, Connecticut to keep alive the memory of their proud shipbuilding past. Today that museum is known as the Mystic Seaport Museum. It is on the site of two working shipyards which have been in continuous operation since the 1700s. The museum occupies 19 acres on the Mystic River and features a reproduction of an 18th century New England shipbuilding town.
The simulated town is operated by knowledgeable staff and volunteers who reenact the roles of the various artisans whom such towns relied on to produce the sturdy seafaring vessels for which Mystic was well known. There are rope makers, coopers (barrel makers), bankers, grocers, and of course shipsmiths as well as others.
In addition to the educational interaction with the artisan reenactors, there are several other activities to be enjoyed at the Mystic Seaport Museum. There are waterfront cruises; you can rent rowboats, take sailing lessons, sail across Long Island Sound to New York’s Fishers Island. Or sail on the Sabino, a steamship, which carries visitors up and down on the Mystic River.
Your day trip to Mystic, Connecticut is not limited to the museum alone. There’s no shortage of things for you to do in the village. Both the Mystic Aquarium and Velvet Mill collective should be on your itinerary. If you're an active type, you can even rent a bike and ride around the village enjoying the sites.
As for food, you would indeed be missing out if you did not partake in the fresh seafood which is everywhere in Mystic. There’s fine dining like the restaurant Latitude 41°, as well as more casual options as in a cozy eatery called the Galley. Of course, coming from New York City, you may have a craving for pizza. In that case, I suggest either Mystic Pizza or the Stonington Pizza Palace. Then you can stop by Drawbridge Icecream for dessert. I recommend their “Barbados Rum Rasin.”
Mystic, Connecticut is an ideal day trip getaway from New York City. Miles away from the bustling urban sprawl of the tri-state megalopolis, it's the kind of trip you’ll want to share with your friends and family. You are guaranteed to have cherished memories of this outing to that nearby part of New England.
If you don’t drive, that’s not a problem. You can take Amtrak from Penn Station and arrive at Mystic, Connecticut within three hours. Trains returning back to New York City run throughout the afternoon and evening.
The best time to visit the Village of Mystic, Connecticut is May through January.