Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Mystic, CT and Watch Hill, RI

Prepare for a million photos! Shelby and I went up to Mystic, CT for the weekend and had a wonderful time. This will mostly be photos, but I'll include a few words, too.

Friday, July 18, 2014

We loaded into Shelby's car early in the morning to make the two-hour drive over to Mystic. Once there, we checked into the Econolodge (review: not as bad as I worried it could be, though it is across from a graveyard), and walked over to the Mystic Aquarium. We saw sharks, seals, and beluga whales, and we pet stingrays, and I took a photo of this really cool frog.


I wasn't totally in love with the aquarium (it features more mammals than fish, and I tend to feel guilty watching them, also it was a little pricey at $29 a pop), but there were a bunch of kids who seemed really excited to be there, and the animals were beautiful. Also, see above, that frog was awesome.

After the aquarium, we took a scenic walk to town to grab lunch. The little town of Mystic is about a mile and a half away from the hotel, which made for a great walk.



Along the way, we passed the Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea. I remember visiting it as a kid, and it sounds right up my alley now, so I hope to come back and visit one day soon!

We also waited a bit outside S&P Oyster Co., which had really gorgeous landscaping, while waiting for the drawbridge across Mystic River to open up.


Boats were on hand to give tours of the harbor:


We enjoyed a big lunch at the Captain Daniel Packer Inne, which was really delicious. I had the crab panini, which was wonderful, and Shelby said she really enjoyed her burger. The restaurant is in a home that was built in 1756, and it was a great cozy spot for our first meal in Mystic.

We wandered around some of the adorable shops in town, and then made our way back to the hotel, stopping for a selfie:


And to admire the gorgeous architecture along the bay:


On the way, we also stopped for ice cream sundaes at Twisters. The ice cream was tasty, but what really made the experience was sitting outside staring over the lovely harbor. We spent some time reading and sunning by the pool before heading to Olde Mystic Village for a little more shopping and dinner at Ten Clams (where nothing costs more than ten clams!). It was empty, but I actually really enjoyed our meal. The New England Clam Chowder was really good, and they made a mean grilled cheese.

It was also fun to wander around the little shopping center, because I remembered it so vividly from our many trips there when I was a kid. We used to come to Rhode Island every summer when I was younger, so this visit felt familiar and comforting.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Saturday morning, we headed to Watch Hill to spend the day on the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was a little chilly for the beach, but that didn't stop us from setting up our chairs and relaxing for most of the morning!






We set up on Napatree Point, a public beach right next to Watch Hill Beach. It was a bit tucked away, and perhaps because the weather wasn't hot, there was plenty of space to spread out.

There were also some really beautiful birds nearby:



Unfortunately, while we wandered onto the jetty, and took this picture:


This little guy, and a bunch of his friends went through and stole a bunch of our food!


We packed it away more carefully before our next walk, and Shelby supervised for a few minutes to make sure they didn't come back and attack our totes.


The walk to the other jetty:



After our walk and some reading, we headed back into town. This is the view from the top of the dune path to get into and out of the beach:



We ate a quick lunch of clam chowder at St. Clair Annex, followed by homemade ice cream cones.


Then, we wandered around Watch Hill, pretending to be rich and stopping in at a different shops. Were I rich, I would definitely own one of these boats:



We retired to the Verandah at Ocean House for cocktails overlooking the croquet court. It was pretty glorious, and I can't think of a better way to have spent the afternoon.




I don't really mention this much here, but (possibly because we vacationed here every summer for most of my formative years) I sort of expected that I'd be wealthy by now. Clearly this was a bit of mild insanity on my part, given that I'd also always planned to be a writer, but I just thought I should say that once upon a time, I thought my afternoons would look like this most days. My delusional pre-teen self was very glad to have spent at least one afternoon this way.

Anyway, on the walk back to the car, I saw these people and thought, That life looks so grand! Rooftop life. It's a good one.



Back in Mystic, I continued my life as a rich person by buying not one, but two hats! The blue fascinator is from Peppergrass and Tulip, an adorable shop that was selling a bunch of different hats and fascinators at really good prices. I'm planning to wear it to a dear friend's wedding in a few weeks. (How do we feel about Americans wearing fascinators at weddings? Am I giving away my pre-teen pretensions about being rich?) The green is a vintage piece from Pennywise, a really great consignment shop with two locations (of course we went to both!). I'm planning to wear it this fall and winter with a red wool coat I love but haven't worn in years. Pennywise had its own section of secondhand Lilly Pulitzer, so it won my heart pretty much instantaneously based on that alone.

Can I move to a coastal town already? I know I'm meant to live on an island...


We had dinner that night at Mystic Pizza, which everyone said was terrible, but which I actually thought was fine. It's a fun little spot with hefty portions, movie memoribilia on the walls, and very friendly service. Shelby and I split the buffalo chicken pizza and I was pretty over the moon about it.

We headed back to the hotel after that, and then I proceeded to spend the next three hours finishing The Lowlands, which was so beautiful and so excellent and I think I'm in love with Jhumpa Lahiri.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

We stopped for a quick bite to eat at Kitchen Little, where we sat on the deck overlooking a Marina and ate delicious eggs Benedict over Portuguese sausage.



It was a perfect way to end a lovely trip. Shelby very kindly dropped me off at New Haven (a train station I love!) and we went our separate ways. I had such a fun trip, and it's inspired me to put together a possible New England road trip this fall or winter, up to visit friends in MA and VT. Can't wait!

Tune in tomorrow for Dispatch From, some of my favorite phone photos from this trip!

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