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Connecticut's Mystic Seaport: A Photo Essay

Updated on November 12, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

The Mystic Seaport lighthouse on the banks of the Mystic River, surrounded by replicas of buildings in 1876.
The Mystic Seaport lighthouse on the banks of the Mystic River, surrounded by replicas of buildings in 1876. | Source

The Museum of America and the Sea


Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut is a beautiful historic tribute to the whaling days of days gone by. The Seaport is a living museum based on a 19th-century coastal village. Mystic Seaport's historical interpreters are living in the year 1876. They stroll the grounds of the seaport, demonstrate maritime occupations and skills, perform sea shanties on the town green, and get children to take part in many childhood games of the period. There are a few streets that have replicas of shops and homes, a chapel, a church and an old schoolhouse, as well as the tavern in the center of town. There are exhibits halls that tell of America's Maritime heritage, including sailors of this century. Visitors old and young can board maritime vessels to see what it was like to be a crew member of a whaling ship in the 19th century. They can also climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan and watch the restoration of the oldest wooden whaling ship in America.

Activities for Children

I grew up about 25 minutes driving distance from Mystic Seaport. It was one of those tourist attractions that people brought visiting out-of-state friends and relatives whenever they came to visit. It is an especially entertaining destination for children because they can take part in hands-on, entertaining activities and being so small can easily maneuver around the nooks and crannies in the old whaling ships that are open to the public. In the summer months, there are outdoor plays in which children from the audience are chosen to participate. There is a children's museum as well as an activity room, and an outdoor playground with a wooden boat that children can climb on. The Mystic Seaport is a popular place for local schools to take students on field trips, for homeschooling groups to visit, and Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops often take outings there as well.

Holidays at Mystic Seaport

At Christmas, there are tours called, "Lantern Light Tours" which take place after dark and participants are transported to various spots around the village to experience life the way it was on Christmas Eve in the late 1880s. They carriage stops at one house where the family (actor) are gathered around the fireplace in the main living area and stories are told of Christmases past. Another stop is at the town tavern where each guest can have a refreshment of some sort and a fiddler is playing and all the guests are taught a dance of the time period and encouraged to participate. It's a wonderful experience. On Memorial Day each year, visitors to the Seaport can participate in a church service and then follow a wagon filled with flowers followed by actors in period costume down to the waterfront. A proclamation is given about Memorial Day and honoring all of those who have given their lives for their country, and then each person is invited to take a sprig of flowers off the wagon and throw it into the Mystic River in honor of someone they knew who died in a war. It's a very meaningful experience.

The Beauty of Mystic Seaport

This photo essay shows not only the village but the beauty of a coastal town from that period. Mystic Seaport is an enchanting place to visit, even without stopping at all the exhibits. Because of it's proximity to water, it is a peaceful place to sit on a bench and catch the cool breezes coming off the river, and escape for a day, or just an hour or two, to a peaceful and scenic village of yesteryear.

The Joseph Conrad, originally built in 1882, that is available for guests to climb aboard and explore.
The Joseph Conrad, originally built in 1882, that is available for guests to climb aboard and explore. | Source
A view out of the Tom Claggett Boat Shed onto the Mystic River, with the current town of Mystic,CT in the background.
A view out of the Tom Claggett Boat Shed onto the Mystic River, with the current town of Mystic,CT in the background. | Source
A view of the waterfront while sitting at the outside tables at the Spouter Tavern. The Tavern is open daily in summer hours and serves sandwiches, soups, beer, wine and soda.
A view of the waterfront while sitting at the outside tables at the Spouter Tavern. The Tavern is open daily in summer hours and serves sandwiches, soups, beer, wine and soda. | Source
A huge anchor sits in front of the The Village Congregational Church. Very plain inside, it stays true to churches of the time period.
A huge anchor sits in front of the The Village Congregational Church. Very plain inside, it stays true to churches of the time period. | Source
A grape arbor in the backyard of one of the historic homes of the village.
A grape arbor in the backyard of one of the historic homes of the village. | Source
Sweet William grows in abundance in one of the gardens in the back yard of a house in the village.
Sweet William grows in abundance in one of the gardens in the back yard of a house in the village. | Source
The boat playground for children offers a nice break for kids and parents alike.
The boat playground for children offers a nice break for kids and parents alike. | Source
The village green, with a gazebo offers a convenient place for gatherings and demonstrations.
The village green, with a gazebo offers a convenient place for gatherings and demonstrations. | Source
Beautiful flowers bloom all around Mystic Seaport's gardens and fences.
Beautiful flowers bloom all around Mystic Seaport's gardens and fences. | Source
A traditional horse and buggy ride around the village is available for an extra charge.
A traditional horse and buggy ride around the village is available for an extra charge. | Source
View of the waterfront stores and homes open to visitors to step back in time and see demonstrations of maritime occupations and skills.
View of the waterfront stores and homes open to visitors to step back in time and see demonstrations of maritime occupations and skills. | Source

© 2012 Karen Hellier

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