Whales, Slavery & Sailing: Mystic, Connecticut

The Pequot Indians called it home long before the stain of Mystic’s slave trade or the bloody whaling and sealing industries that tore through here and helped build a fledgling American economy in our gestation period. But for a place that doesn’t really exist (it’s not a legally recognized municipality in the state of Connecticut) Mysticmaintains an almost beguiling appeal by celebrating its role in history while jettisoning its past horrors.

I have my own history here. When I was younger, my family would spend three weeks every summer in nearby Old Lyme. It was here that my dad taught me how to crab the inlets of Mile Creek and where I hooked my first bluefish in Long Island Sound. We caught eels and fish in our dragnet and got bit by a host of ticks each summer. Come Friday, my brother and I practically lived in the penny candy store before the coveted Friday Night movies at Old Lyme Shores.


As we got older we’d sneak out of the house, kiss girls on the flat rocks and scare ourselves sh*tless walking down Edge Lea Road in the dark of the night (it’s also where I ended up getting married!). My friend Jeff and I listened to Zeppelin with the Dunns, and the Sullivans and tried emulating them with our guitars well into the night. We spent birthdays and graduations down here and learned a great deal about ourselves and the place where we were reared. But some of the best memories on the Connecticut shoreline were hatched in Mystic.

Both as kids and as teenagers, Mystic had the allure of a sailing port with teenage temptations like Mystic Coffee Roasters and Mystic Disc where I bought my first bootleg Nirvana CD. The Aquarium allowed us an imaginative insight into the neighboring marine wonders while the old toy store gave us reward for doctor visits and the occasional treat.

But obviously, people don’t visit Mystic for my obscure boyhood stories, they come here to see the historic Captains’ homes, wooden ships, and the country’s largest maritime museum at Mystic Seaport. And it’s a good launching point for you too.

If you do visit, make sure to drop by Olde Mistick Village. It’s directly in front of you when you exit I-95 and adjacent to the Aquarium. Also check out the Winter’s Aweigh: Come Play at Mystic Seaport event next weekend or for more Mystic attractions, check out the Mystic Country website.





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