Visiting Mystic Seaport: A Pictorial Trip to the 19th Century

Gazebo in center of the village overlooking the Mystic River.
Gazebo in center of the village overlooking the Mystic River. | Source

Who Says You Can Never Go Back in Time?

Whoever said, "You can never go back to the way things were," couldn't have visited Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea, which has become a timeless national treasure in today's ever changing world.

My husband and I first fell in love with this authentically re-created 19th century seafaring village along the Mystic River in Connecticut when we were newlyweds in the mid 1970s. Back then we strolled hand and hand through the various shops and buildings on a beautiful day in early fall, took a ride on the historic steamboat, the Sabino, warmed our bellies and hands with a delicious cup of New England Clam Chowder and enjoyed talking to the docents. My husband was a new teacher and he was eager to learn tid-bits of history and exciting new activities that he could incorporate into his fifth grade classroom curriculum.

After we had our son we returned several times and saw the museum through the eyes of a child who was thrilled to walk on-board the historic boats and participate in some of the hands on activities that the museum had for children.

This past winter we returned as a couple, this time during the Christmas season. Though we had aged and changed, the grounds had a wonderful sameness about them- the Charles W. Morgan was once again in the working shipyard undergoing restoration, the gazebo still graced the commons and the 19th century shops and village were, for the most part, how we remembered them.

Some buildings were new such as the large welcome center and huge book and gift shop with an adjacent bakery. There was also a new, upscale restaurant, Latitude 41 Degrees, that had a rustic nautical ambiance, blazing fireplace and wonderful seafood and American fare.

The rest of this hub will be filled with winter photos that were taken during our December 2011 visit and will include 10 fun things to do at Mystic Seaport plus brief descriptions of current and ongoing exhibits and activities. Resource links will be provided at the end of the hub for anyone wishing to find out specific information about the museum's entrance fees, operating schedule, special events and activities, where to stay and where to eat.

Mystic Seaport Visitors Welcome Center

Source

10 Fun Reasons to Visit Mystic Seaport

  • Explore a seafaring village comprised of more than thirty New England trade shops and businesses from the 1800s.The buildings are historic structures that have been relocated to re-create an authentic village.
  • Visit the Children's Museum and playground which are designed to keep younger children engaged and entertained. The playground has a nautical theme and includes 3 replica boats that kids can climb and play on.
  • See shows at the Treworgy Planetarium and learn how to locate and identify the stars, planets and constellations and how ship captains and their crews used stars for navigation.
  • See a working 19th century shipyard. The museum maintains and owns over 500 vessels of various sizes and all work is done on the museum premises.
  • See the current restoration of the Charles W. Morgan. Visitors can climb aboard and also view work being done on the exterior of the ship.
  • See the new Tugs Exhibit to learn the history of tug boats.
  • Take a horse and carriage ride through the village during the warmer months.
  • Learn about maritime history from world renowned experts as well as knowledgeable docents. As you stroll and explore the shops and grounds you will encounter historians, musicians and storytellers all dressed in period garb.
  • Climb aboard several Historic Landmark ships and/or take a cruise along the Mystic River aboard a hundred year old steamboat- the Sabino. Visitors in the warmer months can also sail on the full-rigged Joseph Conrad and help raise its sail.
  • Visit the Maritime Art Gallery which has ongoing and special exhibits as well as hands-on art activities, seminars and classes.


Photos of Mystic Seaport in Winter

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo of poster of winter 2011-2012 exhibits. Photo of sign outside the Children's Museum.Photo of the nautical style children's playground. Photo of a beautifully restored wooden boat. Photo of the general store and town clock. Photo of group of school children touring the Mystic Village shops.Photo of several of the boats in the 500 fleet collection owned by the museum. Photo of the entrance to the museum gift shop and adjacent bakery.
Photo of poster of winter 2011-2012 exhibits.
Photo of poster of winter 2011-2012 exhibits. | Source
Photo of sign outside the Children's Museum.
Photo of sign outside the Children's Museum. | Source
Photo of the nautical style children's playground.
Photo of the nautical style children's playground. | Source
Photo of a beautifully restored wooden boat.
Photo of a beautifully restored wooden boat. | Source
Source
Photo of the general store and town clock.
Photo of the general store and town clock. | Source
Photo of group of school children touring the Mystic Village shops.
Photo of group of school children touring the Mystic Village shops. | Source
Photo of several of the boats in the 500 fleet collection owned by the museum.
Photo of several of the boats in the 500 fleet collection owned by the museum. | Source
Photo of the entrance to the museum gift shop and adjacent bakery.
Photo of the entrance to the museum gift shop and adjacent bakery. | Source

New Tugboat Exhibit in R.J. Schaefer Building

Photo of the R.J. Schaefer Building.
Photo of the R.J. Schaefer Building. | Source

The Tugs Exhibit

Tugs is a new exhibit designed for family audiences and school groups and brings the fascinating story of American tugboats to museum visitors. This exhibit is as powerful as the vessels themselves and kids and adults alike will enjoy hands on activities such as operating the radio-controlled tug models.

In addition to learning about the history of tug boats during the past 150 years, the exhibit teaches visitors why today's tugs are stronger, safer, and more efficient than ever, and how they might change in the future.

Kingston II on Display at Museum Entrance

Photos of the Kingston II Tugboat.
Photos of the Kingston II Tugboat. | Source
Source

Kingston II

The Kingston II was built in the late 1930s by apprentice welders using scrap steel and is thought to be one of the earliest all-welded vessels. For more than 40 years the Kingston II guided submarines into and out of their berths at the Electric Boat Plant in Groton, Connecticut.

Since 1980 the Kingston II has been at the Mystic Seaport Museum and until recently was used to move the museum's larger historic vessels around. She is currently on display on the lawn in front of the Visitor Reception Center and her exterior was restored and painted so that she would look her best while being honored in this prominent position on the museum grounds.

Restoring an Icon: The Charles W. Morgan

Photo of the scaffolding entrance to climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan.
Photo of the scaffolding entrance to climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan. | Source

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Watch the Restoration

Restoration work being done on Charles W. Morgan.
Restoration work being done on Charles W. Morgan. | Source

Restoring an Icon: The Charles W. Morgan

Last fall the Charles W. Morgan was hauled ashore in the Museum's Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard for a planned three-year restoration. Visitors can see the work as it progresses and can climb aboard this icon which is the world's last wooden whaleship and learn more about the restoration work. The museum has created an interactive cell phone audio tour to guide visitors through this new exhibit.

Because the Morgan is a historic vessel all work will be done using historically appropriate materials and techniques, in accordance with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic vessel Preservation Projects.

More Photos of Mystic Seaport

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Thomas Oyster Company building which houses an exhibit about the oyster industry. Replica Lighthouse which has an exhibit about lighthouses inside it. Fresnel lens on display in the Mystic Seaport WelcomeCenter. Some of the 500 boats owned by the museum. The Cooperage shop.The new upscale restaurant, "Latitude 41 Degrees."
Thomas Oyster Company building which houses an exhibit about the oyster industry.
Thomas Oyster Company building which houses an exhibit about the oyster industry. | Source
Replica Lighthouse which has an exhibit about lighthouses inside it.
Replica Lighthouse which has an exhibit about lighthouses inside it. | Source
Source
Fresnel lens on display in the Mystic Seaport WelcomeCenter.
Fresnel lens on display in the Mystic Seaport WelcomeCenter. | Source
Source
Some of the 500 boats owned by the museum.
Some of the 500 boats owned by the museum. | Source
The Cooperage shop.
The Cooperage shop. | Source
The new upscale restaurant, "Latitude 41 Degrees."
The new upscale restaurant, "Latitude 41 Degrees." | Source

Resource Links With More Information

I hope you have enjoyed your pictorial tour of Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea and have been inspired to visit it in person. The following two links will give you all the information you need in order to plan your trip. The first is the Mystic Seaport Museum's official website. The second is the Mystic County Website which has information about other near-by places to visit, dine and stay.

I would recommend visiting the Mystic Aquarium and Olde Mistick Village if you will be staying for several days or a week.

Map to Mystic Seaport

A marker75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 06355 -
75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 56 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Oh, my goodness! Such memories! It sounds as if quite a few changes have been made since I was there with my parents as a child of 11 or 12 back in 1960 or thereabouts.

The Chas. W. Morgan was one of my favorite exhibits, and I loved all the little shops. I've not been back since, but it sounds as if they've preserved it well.

The tugs are a new addition, for sure. I don't remember docents, though...they may be a new addition. Are they in period costume and acting 'in character' as the ones at "Plimoth Plantation" in Massachusetts?

Thanks for a well-done article and providing the fond memories!

Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy,

It's been very well managed and cared for and they've continued to add to their collection of vessels, beautifully maintain the original buildings as well as build new ones.

The Chas W. Morgan is getting a complete renovation this time after which it should look good as new.

Yes, the docents are in period costume and stay 'in character," which is fun.

So glad you enjoyed the article and that it brought back good memories for you.

Thanks for the vote up and kind words. They're greatly appreciated.


freecampingaussie profile image

freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

I loved your hub, made me want to visit looking at your beautiful photos.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Freecampingaussie,

So glad you enjoyed the hub and photos and thank you for taking time to leave a lovely comment.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Mystic Seaport has changed since we visited in the mid 60's, but it looks even more intriguing now. Your photographs are great! It must have been so much fun to visit during the holiday season.

Thanks for the reminder of this neat place - you've revived some long forgotten memories of a wonderful family vacation.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Stephanie,

Am so glad you enjoyed it and that it rekindled fond memories.

Yes, it was fun visiting during the holiday season, especially since we also got to visit nearby Newport Rhode Island where we saw the Newport Mansions all decked out for the holidays.

Thanks for taking time to leave such a lovely comment.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Gail,

Mystic Seaport looks like a fabulous place to visit and spend time. It looks like one could spend many days there enjoying this area filled with all of those exhibits. Thanks for showing this to us. All the up votes except funny. Truly enjoyed this!


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Hopefully one day we'll be able to get there. You have put beautiful photos on here. Up and awesome my friend.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and here's hoping you'll have a great New Year.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Peggy,

The admission tickets are reasonably priced and buying one admission entitles the ticket holder to revisit for free if the second visit is within a week of the first one. There's definitely enough activities to keep one's interest for multiple days.

Thanks for your feedback. Am so glad you enjoyed the hub.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Writer20,

Am glad you enjoyed the hub and photos and I hope you do get to visit one day.

Thanks for the vote up and the holiday wishes. Hope you also have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

I also visited briefly in the early 70's-- glad to hear it's still going strong as an educational and fascinating experience. It's also a wonderful place to take photos-- picturesque at every turn. Thanks for the return visit.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Welcome Rochelle,

Thanks so much for your comment and feedback. So glad you enjoyed the virtual return visit. I'm sure that if you returned in person you'd be pleased with the way it's been maintained and built up.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Another beautiful Hub you have put together! I enjoyed taking this tour. I love to travel from my armchair! Thanks for sharing. I voted this UP, etc. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, friend.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Mary,

So glad you enjoyed your arm chair visit. It's always a pleasure sharing my travel hubs with you and I appreciate the vote up.

Hope you, too, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Gail,

Will definitely remember this if ever headed in that direction of our country. That is nice that one admission fee admits one for multiple visits.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Another exquisite hub and guide for tourists and local travelers. For me it was a fantastic virtual visit to Mystic Seaport.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Peggy,

I thought that was a great bonus, too, especially if the weather is nice because just being on the grounds is quite a treat.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Martie,

Am glad you had a good virtual visit and thank you for leaving me feedback. It's greatly appreciated.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

I haven't been to Mystic Seaport in years, but I too have wonderful memories of those old wooden ships and strolling around the reconstructed village. Your photos are fabulous too. Thanks for the memories:-)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Robie2,

So glad you enjoyed the hub and that it brought back wonderful memories for you.

I appreciate you taking time to leave a lovely comment.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Gail,

You do amazing work in sharing these magical places with us. Mystic Seaport looks like it has charm and appeal for all four seasons... I love the idea of a horse and buggy ride, as well as a tugboat ride.

I plan to bookmark this for a potential getaway with your recommendation. Voted UP & UABI, mar.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Mar,

We had a great time even though it was December but the horse and buggy and boat rides are only offered in the warmer weather. You'd need to check the Mystic Seaport website listed at the end of the hub in order to know what's being offered at the time you'd want to go and also to make sure what hours and days the museum is open.

We combined this with a trip to Newport, Rhode Island to see the Newport Mansions. Newport is only an hour further than Mystic and is also a great place to visit if you like the sea and historical places. We spent 2 nights in each place.

Thanks so much for the vote up. It's greatly appreciated.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Thank you Gail for yet again sharing this picturesque place. Mystic Seaport looks like just the sort of place I like to visit. I would love to see the exhibits especially the Figureheads. Your photos are beautiful.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Rosemary,

So glad you liked the virtual tour. Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, too.

Love your new profile pic. Who's the little one?


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Such lovely photos - I really must do some travelling - soon! Thanks for this wonderful hub.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

That is my youngest grandson, Hunter. probably the last I think. they grow up far too quickly, not babies for long enough. Lol


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi RedElf,

Am so glad you liked the photos and hub and hope that you'll be able to do some travelling in 2012.

Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. It's greatly appreciated.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Rosemary,

Awesome. It's great that you have grandkids while you're still so young.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 4 years ago from California

Lovely journey - I really enjoyed the tour and your wonderful guidance!

Up and awesome!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Chatkath,

So glad that you enjoyed it and I greatly appreciate the vote up.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I've already commented on this great Hub. I just wanted to drop by to wish you and yours a MERRY CHRISTMAS!. I was just thinking of you, that's all. Bye for now, dear friend.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Mary,

You are such a sweetheart. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, also.

Take Care, dear friend. You are a blessing to many.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Up, beautiful, useful, and interesting votes. Just another great informative article HBN. You sure do capture the true beauty of each place you describe. Sounds like they are plenty to do there and it would be a great place to visit and learn. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas Gail. Best wishes to your loved ones and family.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Welcome Lyricwriter,

I had just finished leaving a comment on your awesome dolphin hub and when I logged out saw you must've been writing this comment at the exact same time!

Thanks so much for your lovely comment. As you can tell I love all things about the sea.

Hope you and your family also have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Hi Gail,

A beautiful hub and so very well informed as all your hubs are.

Thank you so much with delighting us all year with your wonderful hubs.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are ready for the New Year ahead.

Take care my friend

Eddy.


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

If I ever save enough money for a "real" vacation, I'm contacting you HBN for guidance on the best places to visit. Awesome, beautiful hub!

Sharyn


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Hi, Gail. We love to visit these types of villages - taking us back to the good ole days. This sounds just wonderful. If we could ever escape our biz I bet it would be a ton of fun.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

What a beautiful and exciting trip this would be. I must add this to my ever growing bucket list. I love your hubs. Each one is overflowing with features so appealing to the reader. This one is no exception. How I would love to take great photos like you do. They are picture postcards!

BTW...I watched Dr. Wayne Dyer today on Public Television and thought of you. :)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Eddy,

I apoligize for being so late in responding. My computer was down for several days, but I was thrilled to see your lovely comment when my internet service came back on.

Had a great time on New Year's as we had family staying with us over the holidays.

Hope your Christmas and New Year was good and that 2012 will be your best year ever, especially for the publication of more hubs and your books. Looking forward to reading and sharing this year,

Sending Hub Love Across the Ocean,

Gail


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Sharyn,

Your comment really brightened my day! Sorry it took me so long to respond. My computer internet service was down and just came back up today.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

I look forward to sharing many more hubs in 2012 and I'm so glad we "discovered" each other's writing in 2011.

Gail


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Homesteadbound,

If you enjoy history you'd love Mystic.

Glad you liked your cyber visit.

Thanks so much for taking time to leave such a lovely comment. I'm sorry it took me so long to respond but my internet service was down.

Hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration.

Looking forward to sharing many more hubs in 2012!

Gail


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Vocalcoach,

Your comment made my heart sing. Thanks so much for your ongoing support and encouragement- it means so much to me.

Am glad you saw one of Dr. Wayne Dyer's PBS specials today. I missed it, but will be on the lookout to see if they repeat it.

Hope you had a wonderful New Year holiday. I'm looking forward to sharing many more hubs with you in 2012!

Sending Hub Love and Hugs,

Gail


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Thanks for your Wonderful Hub, Gail. It certainly brought back memories of when my kids were little, and we lived in Connecticut, and visited "Mystic Seaport". You are Truly the "Tour Guide" for other who have never been, but now maybe tempted to go, because of all the pictures and descriptions and comments. Once again, thanks for sharing, and reminding me of those good times.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi b.Malin,

So glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for the lovely comment. Glad you were able to go when your kids were little.

It was fun going back. I loved it when our son was little and it's been very well maintained, plus expanded.

Truly a great place for family fun.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Well worth a second look Gail. I just love the photography and great information. You make it sound Heavenly. Hope all is well. Just wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy New Year. Best wishes and nothing but the best to you and your family. Take care:)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Welcome Back Lyricwriter,

Thanks so much for the New Year's wishes.

So far 2012 has been great and hubby and I have been getting to spend extra time with our adult son and other members of the family so my time on Hub Pages has been temporarily limited.

Hope your New Year is off to a great start.

Best Wishes for You and Your Family,

Gail


GClark profile image

GClark 4 years ago from United States

Enjoyed the article and photos - it brought back many memories from a previous visit there in the late 80s. Voted Up. GClark


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi GClark,

So glad you enjoyed the hub and that it brought back fond memories.

I appreciate the vote up.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

We lived in Groton CT for a couple years when my husband was stationed at the New London sub base. I loved living in CT because it reminded me a lot of Michigan. We did take a trip to Mystic once. I don't remember much of it except that I did enjoy it. Wonderful photos. Voted up and across the board (except funny)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Danette,

Glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks so much for the vote up.

We stayed in Groton for two days this trip which was really close to Mystic and the room rates were lower.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

What a lovely hub, Gail! Your photos bring everything to life. You are fortunate to have a companion to share these wonderful memories with and to travel with. God bless. Voted up and across. 'Always interesting!'


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Denise,

Thanks so much for the lovely comment and your ongoing support. Yes, I've been very blessed and am very grateful for those blessings.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Eventually, I'll go on tour of New England, and I'll be putting Mystic Seaport on the list. I think the horse-and-buggy ride you recommend is just the ticket to go back in time. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Alocsin,

So glad you enjoyed the hub and hope you do get to take the carriage ride at Mystic Seaport one day.

Thanks for the vote up. It's greatly appreciated.


Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

I've been itching to take my kids to the Mystic Seaport for a couple of years now. Alas, it is not to be for now -- our travel plans are taking us elsewhere this year. But it's definitely on my list.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Brainy Bunny,

It's always a great family outing. A wonderful way to experience the past while enjoying the present!

Thanks for leaving a comment. It's greatly appreciated.

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