Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Little Slice of Tourism

If my childhood memories are accurate, when I was young I went to Mystic Seaport a lot. Sometimes on school trips, and sometimes with my parents, and maybe sometimes with other people too, because I remember being there, like I said, a lot. (Oh and when I say Mystic Seaport, I mean the Aquarium too, but that was always less interesting. Dolphins had nothing on all those cool old boats.) I remember the gift shops too, where they sold tiny wooden seagulls (of which several came home with us and lived on our windowsills for years afterwards) and Mystic clothing. At one point I owned a color-blocked plastic Mystic rain jacket, and I wasn't even ashamed.

But for all those childhood excursions to Mystic, and a few more recent trips to the village's (very nice) Main Street, all of which somehow escaped being posted to this blog, there was one Mystic attraction I'd somehow always managed to miss.

Olde Mistick Village has always scared me a bit. There's just something about a shopping mall with a tourist info center in it that makes me tired before I even turn into the parking lot. You just know it will be filled with slow-moving families walking four abreast and those stores that sell the same stuff no matter where in the world they are, as if all tourists everywhere want mini license plates with their names on them and flimsy '60s-esque Indian cotton dresses, and lots of Ye Olde Fake Things.

Like, oh, some random stocks. Because what goes together better than shopping for Hummel and jokey magnets, and 17th century punishments? (Now that I think of it, if they'd had shopping for Hummel and jokey magnets in the 17th century, they might have doled that out as punishment.)

You just know you're going  to end up standing under the hot sun staring at your Lighthouse Map and wondering whether the General Store is the same as the Country Store, and which one is more likely to sell little wooden seagulls. And Olde Mystic Village was all of that.

But...whatever. It wasn't meant for me. The people it was meant for, the ones who wrote all the glowing reviews of it online that I found when I went searching, seemed quite happy there. And if I ever need a wind-spinner or a Mystic t-shirt with a whale on it (which were actually pretty cute) I might even go back.


  1. I will say this about Olde Mistick Village -- there is a kitchen store which, at least 5-7 yrs ago, stocked heavy duty glass jars. Most home stores I've been into only have plastic ones, or glass jars with plastic lids. This was kind of a victory, but you are right that most of the shopping mall is chockful of tchotchkes.

  2. If you are a fan of cupcakes and grilled cheese, the Bleu Squid restaurant there is actually quite wonderful. Some of the better cupcakes and grilled cheeses in the area



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