Out and About in Mystic
Mystic, CT - Events of Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 21, 2013
The weather was beautiful on Friday so it fit in nicely with our plans to take a drive around the area to check out the scenery. All the coastal areas of New England we have seen so far have proven to be very picturesque, and the area around Mystic is no exception.
We started by heading to Stonington to the east of the Mystic River. European colonists first established a trading post in the area of Stonington in 1649. It was originally called Souther Towne (or Southerton) and later Mistick. It's name was changed to Stonington in 1666.
Stonington grew wealthy in the late 1700s because of a fleet of boats that harbored there that were engaged in the profitable seal trade. Today, Stonington Harbor is home to a fleet of fishing boats.
Fishing goes on all winter, but lobster season was pretty much over. There were large stacks of lobster traps being stored on the town dock.
Commercial fishing boats share the harbor with pleasure boats. Fishing boats are located at two larger piers to the north, and pleasure boats are docked to the south.
Recently, Stonington has become a popular location for summer homes as evidenced by large number of sailboats also moored in out in the harbor.
From the harbor, we headed to the east side of Stonington to see the Stonington Harbor Light. The original light built in 1824 was relocated to the current site in 1840. Another light was built farther out in the harbor, and this one was decommissioned in 1889. It currently houses the museum of the Stonington Historical Society.
There is a small beach adjacent to the lighthouse where the cormorants were drying their wings on the rocks. Cormorants don't have oil in their feathers like ducks and geese. This enables them do dive and swim underwater to hunt. Because their feathers don't have oils, however, they have to dry their wings before they can do much flying.
There was also a brave soul at the beach swimming, and it wasn't a young kid either. In fact, we saw a couple of other people swimming later on as well. Brrr! New Englanders seem to really be into fitness. Swimming, biking, kayaking and jogging are big.
We drove through the downtown area. There are a few shops, but not many catering to tourists. Without the tourists, the streets, although narrow, weren't nearly as congested as other places like Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport and Provincetown. Like so many other New England towns, however, Stonington has its share of quaint, old buildings.
From Stonington, we headed to the western side of the Mystic River to a little village called Noank. We wanted to get a look at Morgan Point Lighthouse in Noank, but we discovered the lighthouse is now privately owned and the road leading to it is also private. Therefore, we headed to Groton Long Point, which is a peninsula to the west, to try to get a look.
Groton Long Point is a subdivision of the city of Groton, which is located farther to the west. Since Groton Long Point is made up of primarily summer residents, the Connecticut Legislature passed a law in 1921 that enabled the summer residents to tax and provide services independently from the city of Groton.
Along the shores of Mystic Harbor are many summer homes with sailboats moored in the small inlets and bays. Kayaks were stacked on the small beaches, and we saw more swimmers.
We were able to get a view of Morgan Point Light from Groton Long Point. The current lighthouse was built in 1868 and replaced a smaller tower built in 1831.
From Groton Long Point, we headed back to the motor home for lunch. We relaxed the rest of the day and most of Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, we headed out on two long days of driving to Pittsburgh for our annual doctor appointments and for family visits. After that, we'll stop at a few of our favorite locations on our way south for the winter.
This brings to a close our travels for the summer of 2013. Until this summer, New England was the last major U.S. geographical area that we had not explored.As we left Connecticut, we had visited 46 states since we hit the road in 2006. New Jersey and Delaware are the states we still want to visit in the motor home at some point in the not too distant future. We won't be taking the motor home to Hawaii for obvious reasons, nor to Alaska because of the long distance and the age of our motor home.
With doctor appointments and visits with family and friends while we're in Pittsburgh, there probably won't be much to report for the next week or two. Therefore, the frequency of our blog posts will be reduced somewhat, but we will still have some updates, so stay tuned.