Day Tripper Dispatches

Into the Mystic – and Stonington

Stonington & Mystic, Connecticut, are less than 2 hours from Boston and make a fabulous extended day trip at any time of year.

Stonington’s big draw is a charming, very walkable village known as Stonington Borough, with several terrific restaurants on Water Street, which is the narrow, one-way main road along the water through town. Noah’s and the Water Street Cafe are both charming, casual, with upscale menus, open for lunch and dinner, reasonably priced, and Skipper’s Dock is on the water, in good weather definitely opt for the deck, good food, especially seafood. Boom is at Dodson’s Marina and has a view of the water, a little pricier and the food’s richer. The best and most charming place for coffee, tea and cookies in Stonington Borough is The Yellow House.

Water Street is lined with wonderful antique stores, art galleries, marine shops, unique clothing boutiques, and such, but it’s relatively low key, very tasteful and not too touristy. Lots of artsy New Yorkers summer here, but there’s also a working group of fishing boats. Down near the boats, there’s a house where you can buy local fish and scallops on the honor system. You just pick out what you want, put the money through a slot, and take your change out of a can. There’s a farmer’s market nearby every Saturday morning in season, and some gorgeous old captain’s houses. Everyone likes to walk around on the docks and see the boats at Dodson’s – there are some beautiful classic yachts there. The lighthouse (above) and museum at the end of the Water Street is open to the public, and you can climb up to the light for spectacular views. Nearby, the Palmer House is also worth a visit, as is Stonington Vineyards, which is open year ’round and offers tours. (continued below)

Just down the road is Mystic (interesting note, Mystic is not a town – half of it is part of Stonington and half is part of Groton). The Mystic Seaport Museum is definitely worth a visit – you and/or your kids will love climbing over the old ships. There are restaurants in and near Mystic Seaport, but the best is Bravo Bravo in Mystic Village for either lunch or dinner. The village has good shopping, a little touristy, but the drawbridge is fun to watch – the river’s busy, so it goes up and down a lot.

On the way home, go via Rt 1 through Westerly, RI. In Charleston, stop at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory on the Old Post Rd. – a unique shopping experience. It’s a collection of artsy shops in old barns and sheds with treasures like great inexpensive clothing, cards, musical instruments, toys, jewelry, and posters – a really crazy mix. There’s also a good vegetarian restaurant called the Spice of Life alongside a garden center and petting zoo and farm. It’s straight out of the hippie sixties! I think it’s just open weekends. Definitely not upscale, but fun.

The nice thing about heading to Rhode Island and Connecticut is that people from Boston mostly go to the Cape, so even on busy summer weekends, there’s not a lot of traffic coming and going – and it only takes a bit more than 1.5 hours to reach Stonington and Mystic.

– The Day Tripper Divas thank reader Betsy Baldwin for this excellent roundup!

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2 Comments so far
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You need to add Kitchen Little to your list. Excellent, excellent breakfast!Tiny, tiny place, but a nice outdoor seating area (you’ll share a table with other diners outside) right on the water so kids can watch the boats going by. Outside, the ground is just rocks, so my 3 1/2 year old was infinitely entertained sitting under the table making rock piles while we waited for our delicious food! Coffees pretty good, too.

Comment by Jenny

Thanks so much, Jenny! We'll put this in our South Coast edition, too.

Comment by DayTripper Diva

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