Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mystic Seaport

I haven't visited Mystic Seaport since childhood. I loved it even more as an adult!!

I like that Jim captured an action photo of me touring!

We were able to spend lots of times with staff and volunteers who knew so much history. I loved finding people who could answer my questions about history.

Row of Merchants

Visiting Mystic helped us visualize what life might have been like in Portsmouth, and other New Hampshire towns during the 1800's.

View from the north end of the property

Yacht spending the winter

According to, the name Mystic is derived from the Algonquian "missituk" which means great tidal river. ("Missi" = large and "tuk" is tidal river.) The Mystic River in Connecticut is actually an estuary.

I'd bet that many New England towns had areas like this in the 1850's

We definitely picked a good time to visit. They seem geared up for the summer season ahead, with enthusiastic people working there. Plus, it wasn't very crowded. There were some groups of students on field trips, and just enough other visitors that we didn't feel alone.

Sail Loft

Sails were hand sewn specifically for each ship out of commercially woven canvas.

Oyster Shack

Judging by restaurant menus, oysters are still plentiful in the area. In New Hampshire, the oyster fishery has been decimated.

Mystic Seaport has three sections: a restoration shipyard, an interpretation of a whaling village in the 1850's or so, and exhibit space and archives devoted to various sea-faring subjects.
Charles W. Morgan, Last wooden whaling ship being restored

A high school teacher who was very influential in my life recommended that I read Moby Dick again when I turned 35. I did. I still didn't get it.

This trip, coupled with having added another decade of life since then, makes me feel like maybe now I really would get it. Maybe I'll add it to my reading list again!

There's always something happening at Mystic Seaport. As we were leaving, a tug boat was being parked on the front lawn!

Mystic tips:
  • Your ticket gives you admission for 2 days. You'll probably want to spend the 2 days there, so go ahead and get your re-entry pass when you buy your ticket. (The days don't have to be consecutive I don't think. They just need to be within 6 or 7 days of each other.)


Sharon said...

Just wow. I want to live there too, only I don't want to not live by my family. You are so fortunate.

Charlotte said...

Wow what an interesting place! Really pretty too. Why is it called 'Mystic'? It's a good place name.

Lois Evensen said...

Thank you for the images and commentary tour! What a beautiful place and so much like old sailing towns in Norway where my husband was born.

Does anyone else remember the movie "Mystic Pizza" set there? My daughter was a teen and took me to see that movie probably 20 years ago.


Delighted Hands said...

How exciting to see everything there! I loved the wharf pics especially. It looked so peaceful and uncrowded-my kind of tour surroundings1

Anonymous said...

Sue, thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with beautiful photos and great commentary! I felt like I was there. We used to do a lot of camping in the 70's and our favorite places were in the New England states.


Marsel said...

This looks fascinating! It definitely has to go on my 'if I ever visit the area' list.

Anonymous said...

I love Mystic Seaport!! I actually got married there (I'm originally from CT) - we had our ceremony in the adorable little Meeting House building - and the reception was down by the water, at what they call the "boat shed" - it was definitely an awesome place for a wedding! Plus all our guests got to tour around the Seaport while we were there, and see all the boats, exhibits, etc. - which I thought was great fun. Thank you for sharing your photos and your trip!!
:) Colleen

charlotte said...

What an interesting place to visit. The derivation of the word "mystic" from Indian reminds me of many names of places where I live: the original sami name has been converted to a Norwegian word which sounds similar, but means something totally different than the original meaning.

Janet said...

Glad you were able to spend plenty of time in Mystic. It's a great place. Can be quite cold though as you can imagine.
Let me know if you reread Moby Dick - I've been thinking of rereading it also. Gone with the Wind is going to take precedence though. It's up there on my unread shelf.