Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mystic L@dybug Trip Continued

The side of the lobster shack.

As promised, here is more of our weekend in Mystic recap. I did not get any photos of the cute little town of Mystic because we spent our time between the very interesting Mystic Seaport (a living museum of America and the Sea) and the Mystic Aquarium. In fact, I just uploaded all the photos I was planning to use in this entry and I have sooo many I might have to break this up into two parts. We'll see how bored you get reading through this!

As I said, this living museum is fascinating. There was  so much to see and explore that I know we missed some things (like the shipyard) because we simply did not have time to do them. It's laid out just like a real village. Demonstrations of everything from cooperage (the making of barrels) to a woman baking a cake and aromatic rolls in an open kitchen hearth. It's nice that with your price of admission you can come back again for one week's time. We almost went back Sunday morning but after our longer than expected drive here we decided to head home.

Lobster traps (or lobster pots) on the pier.

There were plenty of boats to see —all different kinds used for all types of fishing. I loved this boat because of how the boards of the deck were curved. Imagine bending that wood to shape!

 

An old dinghy with even older buoys. I liked the mutedness of it all.

In this replica of Nantucket's Brant Point Lighthouse you can watch two fascinating short films about lighthouses on the panoramic five LED screens with surround sound. A must to see! I learned so much!

There were a couple of big sailing ships that you could actually board and walk around on. This is the Joseph Conrad.

 

It does not sail the bounding main anymore and is permanently docked here. It is now used as a sailing camp. <snippet from the website: Built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1882, the Joseph Conrad is a square-rigger once used to train young Danish men for the merchant service. Today, permanently moored on our waterfront, she’s fitted out with bunks for 50 campers, flush toilets, showers, heat and electricity. Conrad campers learning to sail on the Mystic River alongside the tall ship Joseph Conrad. During the six-day program, young people ages 10-15 sail our fleet of Dyer Dhows and learn the skills of the sea.>

The rigging and ropes had me cross-eyed! I cannot imagine being a sailor and knowing what rope does what to which sail!

 

One of the most interesting buildings was the Plymouth Cordage Company Ropewalk where rope was once made. If you scroll back to the first photo of the Joseph Conrad and look in the background you can see a long two-story building behind the red one. That's the Ropewalk. Have you even given any thought as to how rope was actually made back before modern machinery? I sure hadn't. In fact I had never given the making of rope any thought at all and I found it absolutely fascinating. I've added the link to its description on the Mystic Seaport sight so you can read more about the process if you are interested.

Here you can see bobbins of cord being fed through many holes to make one large strand, and below the finished product.

Okay, I was going to cut off the post right here but I am on a roll and my fingers are still typing so you'll just have to slog through the rest right now. So go fill up your coffee cup or wine glass!

Too soon it was time for lunch, so we headed to our destination: Mystic Pizza, where else?

Who hasn't seen the movie? I guess my sister, for one! Not only is it a sweet film, but it's also Julia Robert's breakout performance that launched her career. As it turns out they only used outside shots of the orignal restaurant and the interior scenes were filmed across the river in Stonington. There was a map by the door as you entered that showed where all the locations in the movie were filmed. The walls are covered with Mystic Pizza memorabilia — framed photographs of the actors and the original local newspaper articles. A large screen TV runs the movie in a loop. We ordered the House Special (true to the movie, of course) which had sliced meatballs, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions and mushrooms. It was really good! So good that I probably ate one piece too many. Rick and I agreed:

there is something about the sauce with spices we couldn't quite identify.

Really! Here is the clip of the food critic tasting their pizza in the movie.

After lunch it was on to the Mystic Aquarium. The first thing we saw as saw as we walked in was the beluga whale exhibit and I was immediatly head-over-heels in love!

Juno ( I think ) hamming it up for the viewing crowd. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Clarke since I didn't take my camera in.)

I could have stood there all day and watched them. Beautiful creatures, and very intelligent too. This one was a real ham and would swim by just as close to the glass of the underwater viewing area as he could get. His eye would watch you the whole way. Once in a while he would surface and water from his blowhole would get everyone wet. Sometimes we thought he was actually doing it on purpose. They seemed more like dolphins than whales. Must more approachable and much smaller. 

The rest of the aquarium was much like other aquauriums: beautiful and exotic fish swimming around in too-small tanks. On one hand I find them all fascinating (especially the jellies) but on the other I feel really sorry for them swimming round and round in a big never-ending circle, or back and forth with nowhere to go.

They had a very interesting exhibit on the Titantic and I learned some interesting facts that I never knew before. Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the great ship, was actually commissioned in the summer of 1985 with a secret mission to explore two Navy nuclear submarines that went down in the 1960s in search of their nuclear reactors and weapons systems, one off the coast of Massachusetts, the other in the Azores in exchange for financial support to look for the Titanic. Another interesting fact was that the sides were actually stove-in by the iceberg instead of it slicing open as the ship went by as the movie would have had you believe. 

Our drive home only took a little over three hours (thank god!) with only one little misstep. That being that we got on the Merritt Parkway to avoid the congested parts of I-95. When we got on the signs said "No Commerical Vehicles" and that was all. Okay, the L@dybug is not a commercial vehicle so we're fine. We were rolling along happy as clams to be off I-95 when someone passed us blaring their horn. Hmm, we thought — that's odd. Maybe they were just greeting us as many people do when we are pulling the Bug. Kind of a big "hello, we like your trailer!"

We'd been on the parkway for quite some time when another car passed up making gestures with their thumbs down and pointing back at L@dybug. Rick's first instinct was that something was hanging down or wrong with the Bug that we didn't know about, so we pulled over at an exit as soon as we could. We got out, looked around, and could see nothing. We got turned around and were on the on-ramp to get back on the parkway when we passed a sign that said "No Trailers, No Commercial Vehicles etc ... " and basically no everything else besides just cars. Uh-oh. Crap. Well, now we had no choice but to keep going and find an exit with a road that would take us back down to I-95. We sure as heck didn't want to be there when we weren't supposed to be and we didn't want to encite these people to road rage for sure. Or get ticketed. In another five miles was the exit for Stamford, so we got off and found our back to the interstate. Live and learn, I guess.

And that ends my recap of our Mystic-al weekend. I hope you enjoyed your travels! It seems like this blog post took me longer to write than the whole weekend did to experience it! I guess I really should have split it up into at least two parts.

Are you still there???

Comments:

I’m still here.  I enjoyed reading the whole thing and I was there!!  grin  I think you just about covered everything except our dinner at the Capt. Daniel Packer Inne.  With all our struggles in finding a place to park, it’s not surprising that you would rather not remember the experience!

C, glad you enjoyed it! It’s nice to remember what we did. Yeah, I left that out because the post was already solo long. Finding a place to park was epic!

Still here, and enjoyed every minute…. fascinating about the ropes… and the beluga??  I just had a friend mention doing some kayaking where we could see them….. I’ll take your picture as a sign that this must be done!

Maggie, glad you made it through and actually enjoyed it. smile Where would you go kayaking to see beluga? You must go!!

Great photos - love the beluga.  You’ll get better at getting the stuff onboard that you need to camp with.  It will just all come together…..

Enjoyed reading about your adventure.  We saw the aquarium and ate at Mystic pizza too.  We were surprised that it tasted so yummy!  Hope someday we can go back and see sights we missed.  Think we ate at a place one night called Bravo Bravo.  I believe it was good as well. Love your camper!

Judy, thanks. Carolyn did get a good pic of the beluga, didn’t she? Forgetting the bed pillows wasn’t too bad since we had some throw pillows we used instead. We are out of practice for camping!

Debra, hi there! Good to know you are still out there reading. We too were surprised by how good the pizza really was. Funny that you’ve been to the same places! We love the L@dyBug too! She’s cute as a, well, bug! wink

P.S. You can see Carolyn’s reflection as she snaps the beluga photo. She’s in the right hand side of the photo—I didn’t see it before—funny!

I didn’t notice I was in the photo either until you mentioned it.  I cropped a few other people out - guess I’ll have crop myself out of it too!  The hazards of taking photos with a reflective surface in the pic.

C, nah, just leave you in there. It adds to the photo!

(How did I get so behind on your blog?!)

I saw Mystic Pizza years ago when it first came out, but I haven’t seen it since. I should watch it again.

Love the Beluga whale!

And OK, I can see how there might be a rule about trailers on the parkway, but I’m a little surprised people were so incensed by your presence that they had to blow their horns and give you a thumbs-down. Good grief.

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