4 of 40 Birthday Experiences! April 2023 - We spent a long weekend in Mystic, Connecticut!
One of the wonderful things of living in NYC - is the ability to get to places on the train. We hopped on Amtrak and a few hours later - we stepped off for a half mile walk into the historic district of Mystic. We stayed at the fabulous Whaler’s Inn: https://www.whalersinnmystic.com/
We’ve walked by this hotel every time we’ve stayed in Mystic - but seem to always plan our trip on a whim and it’s usually booked. This time we planned early enough - and it was so worth it. The location is second to none, we had a wonderful view of the bay, the restaurant is amazing, the “ocean rustic” decor is so cozy after a full day walking around, and even the free cookies are delish!
We wore ourselves out heavily in these 48 hours. We didn’t have a car (and honestly don’t need it - if we want to leave the town - we can just uber. We have previously to wineries and bars - and this time to a brewery).
Details and links:
We spent time visiting the Mystic Aquarium. It’s a bit of a walk - but the walk is extremely pretty, taking you past a cemetery and some historic homes, and even a little marsh that we found while searching for a free little library. https://www.mysticaquarium.org/
The aquarium is a bit overpriced for the size - but there is a lot to do - and they do a lot of focus on research and conservation, which we are more than happy to pay more for. The aquarium is home to Beluga Whales, Penguins, Sea Lions, and more - the Beluga Whales are the main reason that we go though. They are curious, friendly, and incredibly smart - and I’ve never seen anything like them. They win me over every time and Rick has to pull me away from them when it’s time to go home.
We spent hours at the Historic Mystic Seaport Museum. We’ve been once before but didn’t spend much time and very little was open. But this time, we were able to see a few examples of trade and how different things in the 18th and early 19th century would have worked in a small port town, as well as explore a historic whaling ship. https://www.mysticseaport.org/ I especially loved the Fish and Forrest exhibit, full of photographs from Corey Wheeler Forrest - a third generation commercial fisherman and fish dealer in Rhode Island… working with her family - the last trap fishing operation in southern New England. https://www.instagram.com/fishandforrest/
We did our own exploring in Mystic - a little shopping, a stop in at the bookstore to get some more of my novels stocked, a visit to a Free Little Library to drop off a copy of “John Doe”, up to see the church, and some wondering to find a few corners of town we hadn’t been to before.
We ate and drank is some pretty great places:
Dive Bar: https://theportofcallct.com/dive underneath another bar - and honestly a better option for us. They have rum (and a signature cocktail on draft), good beer, games, and great music.
Chapter One: https://chapter-one.com/ Good beer selection, a spot at the bar, and good food options for vegetarians (Rick) and pescatarians (Kassie). Traditional lobster rolls are always a go-to for Kassie when traveling - the only time she eats anything but veggies.
Mystic Pizza: https://www.mysticpizzaoriginal.com/ Always - every time - if you don’t eat here, you must hate pizza. Not only is it a nice slap of nostalgia - but the pizza is really freaking good!
Bank & Bridge Brewing: https://bankandbridge.com/ Honestly - we always loved this building and remember (not all that long ago) sitting on the steps of the boarded up building while waiting for an uber to take us to a winery. Now it’s a brewery - with enough spots for large groups, food options, and decent beer (with a lot of style options - so everyone can find something they like)
The Engine Room: http://www.engineroomct.com/ The hushpuppies. I’m not joking. Eat the hushpuppies. They also have a really good vegan burger and lots of veggie options, a good beer selection, and great cocktail menu. And the ambiance is rustic cozy that is perfect for anytime of day. Even on a packed Saturday morning, we were able to get a table pretty quickly and it looks like they are redoing their patio to make room for a lot of outdoor seating too.
Beer’d Brewing Co. (not Beard Brewing like I put in the video… but honestly I swore it was “Beard” not “Beer’d”!) Amazing beer. Seriously Amazing. And soon the cheese shop next door will be open and they will have some sandwiches too! https://beerdbrewing.com/
Shipwright’s Daughter: https://www.shipwrightsdaughter.com/ We would have ate here more than once - but didn’t make it until our last morning. We had a coupon from our hotel stay - and it ended up covering our whole meal which wow! The place was amazing and I really want to head back for cocktail hour after seeing their cocktail menu too!
Friar Tuck’s Tavern: https://www.friartucksmystic.com/ Irish Pub in full: check! Good whiskey options + fried food - can never go wrong!
Young Buns Doughnuts: https://www.youngbunsdoughnuts.com/ Delish mornings of messy sugary doughnuts!
What started as 40 from august to august has expanded to the start of 2023 to August 2024. Due to other people planning things that we want to join… before August 2023. This is the celebration of “omg Kassie survived 40 years - we never thought it would happen.” Maybe the next 40, I’ll be more careful so it won’t be so surprising. 40 “experiences” have to be #1 unique, #2 require the day and night in the location to count, #3 that’s it.
Originally from Iowa (Kassie) and Kansas (Rick), we met in Kansas in 2005 and immediately found that we had so much in common - including our desire to someday see the world. We now live in NYC and quickly started catching up on travel after our first (just us) international trip to Iceland in 2015. We decided to start making videos for us and our family/friends to track our travels. Kassie is in Marketing, an Author (see her poetry + author videos), and Puppet Creator. Rick is an Engineer and Script Writer (see our current and coming puppet movies!)
YouTube Site: https://www.youtube.com/@KassieAndRick-ExploreManyPaths
Kassie's Author Site: https://www.kassiejrunyan.com/
Joint Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore_many_paths
Kassie's Magazine: https://www.opendoorpoetrymagazine.com/