It’s been a very hot and humid summer, and the day of our annual summer mystery trip was no exception. The temperatures reached 87 degrees on this particular Saturday, but the humidity made it seem like we were in the tropics. Fortunately, we had a breeze coming in from the harbor.
We departed from Lizak Bus Service at 7:30 and made a 45-minute rest stop en route. Our 78 passengers were in good moods and were ready for whatever came their way. Most were pleasantly surprised that we would visit Mystic Seaport, a destination that we had overlooked for a number of years. Our last group visit was in 2010. Upon arrival we met at the large anchor out front and everybody got their stickers and seaport maps. The morning was somewhat overcast, giving us relief from the mid-morning sun. Ready, Set, Explore!
Mystic Seaport has recreated a 19th century seafaring village and is bustling with activities for folks of all ages. We enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of old maritime America. Some took a carriage ride around the expansive village to get oriented; some boarded a small tour boat for a waterfront tour; others set to work boarding the historic ships on site to see what merchant and whaling boats of the day were really like. And others set out for the air-conditioned museum spaces for a more comfortable experience. Any way our passengers did it, there was a good time to be had.
This is a living history museum dedicated to preserve the seafaring past. You can listen to the chanteymen as they sing songs of the sea; you can watch the shipsmith bend and twist iron into nautical hardware; and you can interact with interpreters and educators as they relate how the past has shaped life today. The best part is that you can come aboard Mystic Seaport’s historic vessels: the 1921 fishing schooner L.A. Dunton, the 1882 full-rigged ship Joseph Conrad, the 1908 steamship Sabino (in drydock the day of our visit), and the 1841 Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaling vessel known to exist.
Time went by quickly, and it was soon time to meet at Latitudes 41 Restaurant where we were ushered into their River Room, a splendid banquet facility hung with strings of small white lights. Most of us were seated at round tables of eight with plenty of space to spread out. The cash bar was open and all were well. Lunch was superb, created with hot weather in mind: a delightful salad of fresh greens with dried cranberries, almonds, and Chevre to start with a very light lemon vinaigrette. The entrée was served room temp...sliced steak on tomato onion crostini and a bed of ratatouille that was prepared with chick peas. This choice looked so good. I had the salmon glazed with orange and ginger which was also room temp set onto chive mashed potatoes which were warm, but not too hot...and laced with a chive puree...absolutely cool and dee-lightful. Key lime pie was a brilliant choice for dessert.
After lunch, we had another two hours to spend in the village. Most wandered about and enjoyed the various exhibits, the period houses and shops; we saw others who took boat rides and sailing lessons. I chose to see the inside exhibits and particularly enjoyed the world-famous collection of figureheads on display. I also took in a whaling exhibition in the main exhibit space. Most finished with a visit to the fine gift shop at the museum’s entrance. At 4 pm, our tired and hot passengers assembled back at the motor coaches. Drivers Steve and Harry had started the buses early and cooled them down for their grateful groups.