9 Things to Do in Mystic CT
9 Things to Do in Mystic, CT
Top Attractions in this Historic Connecticut Coastal Village
Mystic, a shipbuilding and whaling hub in the 17th through 19th centuries, is Connecticut’s best-known shoreline spot. Situated on the banks of the Mystic River--the two sides linked by the state’s most photographed and fascinating bridge--it is home to must-see attractions that entertain families and enthrall maritime history buffs. Some of the best things to do in Mystic are beloved by state residents and famous far beyond Connecticut’s borders.
Make Memories at Mystic Aquarium
Far more than a refuge for a vast variety of water creatures including New England’s only captive whales, Mystic Aquarium is a research and rescue facility and a multifaceted attraction that captivates all ages. Allow a full day to experience all the aquarium has to offer including sea lion shows in the Foxwoods Marine Theater, touch tanks, a 4-D theater and an interactive “frogs!” exhibit inhabited by more than 30 species.
Mystic Aquarium is perhaps best known for its one-of-a-kind encounter programs, which allow visitors to meet a beluga whale or an African penguin up-close. Although the added fee for a close encounter is steep, the experience is one you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Explore Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport, a 17-acre village on the banks of the Mystic River, is Connecticut’s best living history attraction. Climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan--the last wooden whaling ship in existence and the crown jewel of Mystic Seaport’s collection of historic vessels; see a planetarium show; marvel at extensive collections of maritime art and artifacts; chat with coopers, shipsmiths and other village artisans.
One of the most interesting things to do is observing the restoration team at work in the Preservation Shipyard. The Mayflower II, a replica of the Pilgrims’ famous ship usually on view in Plymouth, will be here for several years, undergoing extensive restoration in preparation for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing in 2020. You’ll want to spend an entire day, and there are several lunch options right on-site.
Observe Mystic’s Bascule Bridge in Action
The bascule bridge spanning the Mystic River has been in operation since 1922. Never heard of a bascule bridge? “Bascule” is French for “seesaw,” and this unique style of drawbridge was patented by Thomas E. Brown--who also designed the Eiffel Tower’s elevator--in 1918. Much like a seesaw, the bridge is opened by the mechanical lowering of immense counterbalancing weights. When the bridge opens to allow tall boats to pass through, traffic backs up on Route 1.
Sail Aboard the Schooner Argia
You wouldn’t skip the Colosseum in Rome. Don’t miss the chance to set sail out of Mystic: Connecticut’s historic shipbuilding port. From May through late October, the two-masted Schooner Argia will take you through the bascule bridge and out dancing on the breezes of Fishers Island Sound. Pack a picnic or snacks and your own beer, wine or non-alcoholic beverages for a daytime or sunset lighthouse- and island-spotting cruise.
Sip Sweet or Hard Cider Made the Old-Fashioned Way
There’s only one steam-powered cider mill still cranking out sweet apple cider and potent hard cider in all of America. And it’s in Mystic, CT! Each fall, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a family fun destination for apple cider donuts, fresh-pressed cider and apple wine tastings. October and November weekends are the best time to go. That’s when you can see the old press in action, operating just as it has since 1881.
Dine in a Treehouse
Mystic has so many fun restaurants. When the weather’s sunny and warm, the one not to miss is The Treehouse at Oyster Club. It’s a breezy grown-up hangout high up in the trees, where happy hour--featuring $1 oysters and drink specials--lasts for two hours every day. As you might imagine, there can be a wait for this popular spot’s tables at meal times. So, go mid-afternoon, ask for a counter seat, and order appetizers, decadent lobster bisque and a local craft brew or two.
Felix on the foremast of the schooner Mystic
Felix climbs the foremast of the schooner Mystic as a sail trainee with the organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.
History in Mystic - The Denison HomeStead
My mother volunteers a lot of her time at the Denison Homestead because we are descendants, and has been asking me to make a video telling a little bit about the homestead itself. I wrote a tiny script and asked my father to look it over and correct it because he's a professional voiceover talent. He took my crappy script, fixed it, and went above and beyond and actually produced the VO for me! THANKS DAD!!
Ghost Chat New England on the Argia, Music by Khoral Broken Sails
This is a part of our show titled Islands (in a Sea of History). To see more go to It was filmed aboard the Argia Schooner, an 81 foot sailing ship out of Mystic CT. The music is Broken Sails by Khoral.
Falling from the Sky with a Parachute On - Episode 8
Episode 8 - August 24, 2018
Last week, we left you hanging in mid-air. Because that's what Kimberly was doing, at Skydive Danielson in Danielson, CT. She was taken up in a plane to a height of 1200 feet and then dropped off – with a strapping guide strapped on her back. Dennis sat out this time.
Would you jump out of an airplane? Tell us in the comments below!
With all four of our feet back on the ground, we decided to take them out to sea for a bit, with a Sunday morning cruise on the Agia, an old-time schooner out of Mystic, CT. – the last such schooner that still makes excursions there. Cruising out into Block Island Sound (which prompted us to sing the Billy Joel song “Downeaster Alexa”), we passed some notable lighthouses, including one where the daughter of a keeper once sang, her voice serving as signal to sailors in the fog. And we saw an island owned by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway (among other things) who once declared the island to be his own kingdom, as a protest against unfair taxation.
Back on land again, we went to pay tribute to the first inhabitants of the land, at the Wigwam Festival in Uncasville, CT. With many tribes participating, there was a dance competition for both men and women with many types of dancing represented, included war dancing, fancy dancing, smoke dancing, and grass dancing. The regalia (don't call it costumes) they wore were colorful and painstakingly detailed.
After a quick visit to Franklin Sculpture Park and 3 shows at libraries in Massachusetts; it was on to our first real visit to Maine (we'd passed through there just briefly several years ago), and our first stop was one of those classic postcard lighthouses. And while we may be new to the state, we certainly got our feet wet.
More Maine to come in next week's episode of Gozas on the Go; Activated Adventures. Be sure to subscribe and click the bell for notifications. New episodes every Sunday!
Photos of our show taken by Clinton Alvord.
Skydive and Sailboat ride adventures provided courtesy of:
- Skydive Danielson
- Sailaway Argia
More info on other attractions in this video
- Indian Leap
- Wigwam Festival
- Mohegan Sun Casino
- Franklin Sculpture Park
- Belfry in Lexington
- Nubble Lighthouse
Music: 'l'll Know When I Find It by Dennis Goza
Support on Patreon:
Dennis and Kimberly