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Mystic Primer?

  • k

We'll be travelling to Mystic in late July and I could use some Chowish tips! We'll be staying for a week and I am interested in restaurants as well as markets. We'll be staying in a full service hotel without access to a kitchen but we will bring a small boat as well as a portable stove. At least once during the week we would like to buy some fresh seafood to enjoy on the water. I'd also be interested in bakeries and gourmet shops where I could pick up breakfast and lunch items to bring on the boat. As far as restaurants are concerned, we will eat most meals with our well behaved five year old and we'll engage a sitter for one or two couple's dinners. We all love ethnic food, seafood and anything out of the ordinary.

Any other Mystic tips would be great too!

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  1. deb and i sail to mystic seaport every year from stamford. the tap room at the Seamen's Inne there is both sailor and child friendly for lunch and dinner. breakfast at kitchen little is a hoot. bottom line? strongly suggest you take your boat upriver to the seaport (tie-up at the museum or drop the hook at the north end) and explore a bit. the museum also has a pretty decent bakery.

    4 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      Thank you Steve !! I hope you can help me with another boat question. We're planning to bring a small powerboat (23' Searay open bow) on vacation because it is very easy to tow. But I know that we're headed to sailing country. We hate to spend a vacation without a boat, but this is the only practical way for us to spend some time on the water. Is it totally gauche to bring this kind of boat to Mystic? And if it isn't, the hotel is trying to find us a slip for the week but if you have any recommendations for a marina that could accomodate a small craft that would be great!

      Thanks for the Kitchen Little rec. I keep reading that it is a really fun place.

      1. re: Kater

        you'll have a great time exploring the river in your searay. give the dockmaster at mystic seaport a call and he should be able to accommodate you. i stand by the pub room at seamen's inne as being very sailor friendly. for a big-time splurge, you might consider driving to the Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton. here's a link:
        http://www.copperbeechinn.com/home.htm

        1. re: steve h.

          here's a video of the river i found today. it was shot a tad south of mystic seaport. you guys are in for a great time.
          http://www.mysticnet.com/the_view.htm

      2. modest note: the mystic trolley can take you to the grocery store, beer/wine shop, restaurants, bars, etc. i generally catch it at the mystic seaport parking lot but there are stops all over town. haven't used it in a year or so but it has to be the cheapest and best way to get a handle on the area AND transport provisions to your boat.

        1. The museum, sadly, outsourced its store. That included the bakery in the last year. The Seamen's Inn. *sigh* Please don't bother; there is better food in the town of Mystic. But don't miss going to the museum itself. (I know that's not a chowhound comment. I just didn't want to run down the seaport.) McQuade's (a supermarket) is a good source for fish if you have a chance to cook it. They'll also steam your lobsters for you so you can have an outdoor picnic. (The Cove Fish market changed owners a few years back, and the present ones don't care for the fish like the old ones did.) The Mystic Market makes great sandwiches and their cinnamon rolls are addictive (on the east side of the River on Rte One. I'm not certain of the other side.) Rice Spice Noodle is wonderful Thai fusion-ish food. The Daniel Packer Inn, esp the tap room, is what the Seamen's Inn should theoretically be. Go Fish has good seafood, but I think the Steak Loft is grossly overrated. They have the same owners. Sadly, the places that have the best food don't tend to have the water views... Kitchen Little excepted which is neat. Do you have a car?

          1 Reply
          1. re: thinks too much

            Thank you so much for the help! I had started to read a bit about the restaurants and had hoped that Cove was going to be a treasure for us, but I had dismissed Go Fish because it seems that it is owned by a corporate restaurant group that has 3 or 4 of the other restaurants in Mystic as well. We'll make a point of hitting Rice Spice Noodle and I'm sure we'll check out Cove - but the supermarket recommendation is a huge help because my web searching was getting me nowhere in that regard!

            We'll have a car and a small power boat so we can (and will) travel for decent food. We also will bring a portable propane grill that we like to use on the boat - we even bring it to parks for al fresco dinners. My son is terrific in restaurants but I like to include some really casual meals during a week long vacations.

            It's interesting because we took our son to Baltimore last spring and found that all of the water view restaurants we tried were awful - and we went in with pretty low expectations because of their touristy locations!

            I understand that Kitchen Little is a must - I'm hoping that they're open on weekdays so that we can try to avoid the crowds a bit!

            Any other thoughts would be hugely appreciated -
            Kate

          2. If you can get to Stonington (I think thats the name of the next town) we found a great restaurant called Noah's right there on that main street. It was excellent and others have recommended as well on this site. We also eat at this really funky decorated place for lunch on the same street that was fabulous but for the life of me can't remember the name of it. We darted in for a dozen oysters and a fabulous salad (the oysters were just coming in off the truck, fresh). The decor of the place was pretty wild and funky, fun for the kids I would think.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              You may be talking about Water Street Cafe which is excellent -- as is Noah's (which is child friendly for lunch or an early dinner). Skipper's Dock I think is pricey for what you get but has a great view of the water and you can dock their or shuttle in from Stonington Harbor. You can get fresh seafood in Stonington from Boomers - its a self serve place (take scallops leave money in the can)

              Ditto Daniel Packer's Inn - I'd make that a couples dinnera nd eat downstairs in the pub - they have live music some evenings. Stay away from Mystic Pizza> You are going to find that people are split about Abbotts _ I fall in the camp of not worth the trip for what you get

              1. re: cheesey

                I got it wrong - the seafood place is Bommsters ... they have tasty Stonington scallops and red shrimp if in season. They are just outside of the Borough.

            2. As far as good sandwiches, salads and other gormet items to bring with you, Mystic Market is one of the best places and one of their two locations is just down the road from Cove. The Cove will do nicely for buying seafood. You can arrive by boat at both Skippers Dock in Stonington and Abbotts Lobster in Noank if that appeals to you.
              Cheers and have a great time!
              HC
              http://www.abbotts-lobster.com/
              http://www.lighthousemaps.com/Mystic/...

              4 Replies
              1. re: HungryChris

                Kater, plenty of people motorboat in Fisher's Island Sound. No worries. Just don't leave a wake above the bridge. But I can't agree more about going to Abbotts by boat. It's just the best way to arrive for a hot lobster roll!

                1. re: thinks too much

                  All of this advice is so helpful! Thanks to everyone!

                  Normally we travel to Cape Cod with the boat every summer and this year I was asked to come up with a new destination that met several tricky criteria. We're all really excited about Mystic, but the one drawback was that we were afraid we wouldn't find a boat-up spot for lobster roll ... sounds like Abbotts is going to be the highlight of our lunches on the water!

                  1. re: Kater

                    actually - the highlight would be a lobster roll at Skipper's dock if you want to boat up. No lines, service instead of self serve, proper made drinks instead of BYOB and no diving seagulls or over flowinging trash cans or buses pulling up in the parking lot. And a much more picturesqu veiw - especially at sun set. But depending on where you go on the Cape this could be just what you are used to.

                  2. re: thinks too much

                    Please don't leave a wake below the bridge, either! 5mph until you exit the Mystic River! At the gas dock in Noank you can buy lobster (Ford's), and walk up the hill to the Universal Market, the package store and the little bakery to get more supplies...

                2. I totally agree on the Ford's idea for lobster...way, way better than the (overrated) Abbotts and it's sister Costello's.

                  For fresh seafood other than lobster, if you can get there, skip over McQuades in favor of Grossman's Fish Market on Route 1 in West Mystic. The fish is much fresher and the service is supreme.

                  A trip to the Mystic Market (West or East) on Route 1 is also warranted - West is just down the road from Grossman's. They have a wonderful selection of breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, brownies, and pastries as well as a full service deli and some pretty fantastic menus of the day. They catered my wedding and almost 8 years later people are still talking about the food.

                  If you do go to Rice Spice Noodle, say hello to Richie! He's a sweetheart.

                  And above all else, have fun!

                  1. Well, we're back.

                    First, thanks so much to all, the tips were invaluable. Our plans changed slightly and we did not use a sitter which affected our dining plans a bit. But we had a wonderful trip and really enjoyed most of our meals.

                    When we settle in, I'll post some detailed comments in case others want to refer to the thread in the future. In general, we became fixtures at Abbott's and Costello's and even took a large group there for a family get-together. We also loved Rice Spice Noodle and had incredible fried clams at Docks.

                    Thanks again for all of the help!
                    Kater