Not Just Any Psychic.
Mystic Connecticut 11.08.2015
Almost out of Town
Main Street from the Bridge
We left early for Mystic this morning. The romantic coming of age film “Mystic Pizza” was set in Mystic, though it was filmed in neighboring towns. The pizza restaurant was filmed in a converted house, not at Mystic Pizza!
Heading into town, at a “T” we could go to the Seaport or to Old Town, We chose Old Town and turned north. We breezed past a general store and had gone in and out of Old Town in a minute! Old Town is very quaint, but very very small. With another U-turn, we headed back toward the Seaport a bit disappointed in Old Town.
We passed Mystic Seaport Museum on the right and a huge parking lot on the left and continued south on Greenmanville Ave to Main Street. Driving down Main Street into town, the famous draw bridge over the Mystic River is unmistakable. Mystic is a typical New England Coastal Town. It is beautiful.
Not Mystic Pizza
Crossing the bridge, we drove up Main Street past a Ice Cream shop on the right, up the hill toward the old church and past Mystic Pizza also on the right. Even this late in the year Mystic is a busy town. I cannot imagine how hoards of tourists transform the town during the summer. There were no parking signs everywhere. We drove out of town and U-turned again to return. The best way to get the feel for a town is to drive through slowly. We were looking for interesting places to visit and a level place to park, I drove down a narrow street along the Mystic River to a dead end and U-turned in a business’ gravel lot. A workman watched my three point turn in with an amused look. We found pay-parking a bit further down the road at $1.50 per half hour. That could add up. Parking fronted on Main Street and the shops. I deployed our HD antenna, it locked onto the satellites, and we started recording the JETS game. Rather than watching the game, hit record. We shut down all the electronics except the PVR and refrigerator and off we went.
The Company of Craftsmen
We first walked into The Company of Craftsmen, a typical high-end tourist shop that sells pottery, original art, photos printed on aluminum, and jewelry. This was not your typical bric-a-brack The shop was empty but for us, the shopkeeper, and a middle aged couple. The fellow is a local and knew the shopkeeper; his wife didn’t say anything as she casually explored the art. The guy and the shopkeeper were in a conversation about the local fishery. Shopkeep said there were orcas spotted just off the coast here. That is unusual, he had never seen them this far south in his lifetime. I said perhaps conservation had let to a resurgence of fish that the orca are following south.
The Fishing Industry, “they went somewhere else”
While the woman continued looking around, her man turned to say, “conservation? No. The fishing was great for years until run-off and pesticides did the fish in. They all went somewhere else.” I agreed that fertilizer and pesticide runoff contribute to the industry problems, but that conservation is necessary too. This fellow was a fisherman and conservation was not in his vocabulary. I said that fishing to extinction would do nobody any good. He grudgingly agreed, but suggested that big money and state politicians bury the run-off issues and that that is the real issue. He thought new insecticides were the major cause of a recent fall off in fish. “They just went somewhere else.” Or were they fished out locally? I’d never considered that fishermen would think “went somewhere else” rather than “we over-fished.” Weird!
After the couple left, the shopkeeper said, “the problem is very complex. Factory fishing and illegal fishing are a big problem. Conservation is necessary too. A good friend of his is a Green Peace Captain who has spent time in jail in Russia. Now that is a nasty prospect.
The shop had quite a few very well done photos printed on aluminum, unique pottery, and woodwork. We saw quite a few items we liked, though we did not purchase any art in his shop. It was a different story in the spice shop: habanero salt, lapsang souchong tea, herb dip spice, and pumpkin cinnamon tea. Lapsang souchong had long been considered a second rate tea and has fallen out of favor in most tea shops.
We walked up Main Street to Mystic Pizza and had a slice at the bar. On our way in, Ellen asked if Mystic Pizza was filmed here. “No”, the hostess said,”this used to be just the bar. We’ve expanded, but the movie was shot in a local pub.” No surprise there, the local pubs have more character than Mystic Pizza.
At the bar, the guy to my right was savoring a slice of pepperoni pizza that looked great. I had one too and a local IPA. Their pizza was good, the crust was a bit oily but we didn’t care. The fellow beside me worked on submarine computer systems at Groton harbor. We talked football some: Patriots and Jets, not much about submarines. Leaving, Ellen had the sense to ask for parking validation and left with a validation card. Cool.
Marine 1 Fireboat
Mssive Counter Weights
Reforest the Tropics!
Walking the Mystic River East Side
Next we headed back over the drawbridge to walk along the east side of the Mystic River. The drawbridge with its counter-weight design, is one of only three left in the country. There was no traffic on the river; the bridge stayed down.
As for walking along the east side of the Mystic River, No Doing! The walkway along the river is gated after about a hundred yards. so we walked local roads that fronted on the river. It was a gorgeous day, cool but not cold and even warm in the sun. We found a pier with gaff and square rigged ships moored alongside. One was for sale.
Formidable is For Sale!
Are the canon included?
The Maritime Museum in the Distance
Further along a SUP couple paddled by and turned into the boat ramp. Ahead was a boat-works museum that was closed off from this side.
On the fence was a map of the museum showing the entrance just up the road. This was the museum we passed driving into the Seaport. Great. I had walked ahead as Ellen took photos as she walked. I went on to the museum, bought a ticket for both of us and arranged for her to get her ticket when she arrived, “Can you give this ticket to my wife, Ellen, she’ll be arriving shortly. She’s dressed in a bright blue jacket. She’s short with light blond hair” I then called Ellen and told her about the arrangements as I saw her walking into the Museum.
On the Old Seaport Waterfront
The Maritime Museum is located on the old whaling town of Mystic. I think the buildings are re-creations of the original buildings. The museum also has a number of whalers and historical schooners moored riverside. :I overhead a fellow explaining that three of the whalers are not here now. They were moored over there (gesturing), but now there are only two of them. Two boats were under reconstruction and were closed to the public. One was just a skeleton housed indoors to protect it from the elements. A walkway led above decks, then wound down below and out topside once again. It was fascinating to see the beams, the keel, and the planking that were this ship. Two of the whalers were open to the public, you could just walk aboard. Plaques recorded the history of these ships and the whaling process itself. Today whales are endangered. Back then, whales were plentiful. What amazes me is the bravery of the crews of the whaling boats. These were small dory-like boats with five or six men at the oars, a coxswain, and a mate at the harpoon. Once the whale was impaled, the New England Sleigh Ride commenced. Whaling is what made coastal New England.
The “Boston Sleigh Ride”
We absorbed the museum as we walked its extensive grounds. I had wanted to go to Groton to visit the Nautilus Museum in Groton, but I am much happier walking around any sailboat. Tall ships are special, even if they were whalers. There were a number of antiques hidden in the houses dotting the Seaport. One was a clock works, another a hoop manufacturer for tall ships, another housed an old horse drawn fire pump. The pump was hand driven; firemen were big burly fellows much like they are today. The second floor of one housew the entire captain’s and mate’s quarters taken from a large merchant sailing ship. It was impressive for its woodwork, though the beds were quite small. People were much shorter back then.
The Old Seaport Bank, 1833
In the Fire Department (note the hand pump)
Walking back to The Beast, I wondered how much the PVR had drawn down the batteries. We have not calibrated battery wear based on what’s running and for how long. For us, it is still very much a crap shoot. I thought there was a good chance that after three and a half hours, the batteries could be drained. We passed a shop with free fudge samples. The sample was “ok”, but not worth buying. We stopped in another bakery and the cookies were too much to resist. Then we happened by the Mystic Oyster Company, a restaurant. Not having had my fill of steamers, we stopped in and asked if they have steamed clams. “No, but we have littlel neck clams” Not the long neck oval clams, but the small round ones. We asked about steaming them and left with the impression they would steam clams for us.
So do we order a pizza or go for steamed clams for dinner? First we checked on The Beast. The doors unlocked, stairs extended, and the PVR was still recording. The battery voltage was 12.1 which was good. With the football game three quarters over and our battery showing minimal wear, we felt good leaving things as they were for another hour or so. We headed back to have some “steamers”.
An Old Oyster Boat
At the Mystic Oyster House, we were told that the little neck clams were served cold. Could they be steamed? No. We ordered the clams served in the half shell. An IPA for me and a banana strawberry cocktail for Ellen. We both ordered a beet salad with scallops (Ellen) and swordfish (Ron) that was very good. The Oyster House could not validate parking. We ate slowly watching the lighting change over the Mystic River as the sun set. We had a window side table.
On the River, Crab Pots!
Across the River
Back at The Beast, the batteries were still good. I must have put the parking validation card in upside down, it did not work. I paid with a credit card before the attendant asked, “Can I help you”. I showed her the validation card and she said, “that will work” Too late, I had paid already.
Back at Mystic KOA, we did not have a gate card. We did not need one the first day. Renewing the second day we did not know we needed one and the fellow at the desk assumed we already had one. We arrived at the KOA gate with no way to get in! I took my phone over to the office door, found an after hours phone number, and called. It range, some one answered and my phone went dead. Ellen then started calling to me about something. I had been in range for The Beast to take over the phone call. Ellen was talking with the after hours fellow when I hung up thinking the call had failed. Isn’t technology grand? I called back and was told that there are after hours packets in the laundry room, just take the one furthest in back.
Playing with Shadows
We pulled into site B6 which was not very level. The campsite is almost a ghost town. There might be five other RVs here. We just pulled into A6 which was closer to level and hooked up. The evening is cool, but it will not go below freezing tonight. The fellow at the desk this morning said they would not turn the water off unless it was going to freeze. We should be OK tomorrow morning, but I will disconnect our water before hitting the sack tonight just to be safe.
We’re watching the JETS game we recorded earlier today and we have local cable channels. With luck we’ll watch Madam Secretary and The Good Wife a bit later.
We enjoyed our outing today. We had some exercise and had a great time too.
The Cangarda, restored in California, has seven steam engines!
Square Rigged Whaling Ships at the Maritime Museum, Mystic Ct.
The Joseph Conrad
The Charles Morgan