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Private tours of Mystic, the new-normal

Only private groups for Mystic Revealed tours this season.  Last year my Mystic walking tours and food tours were “open” to multiple parties.  I’ve always had small groups (max 6), but in the past it was fun to let couples or families from around the country and around the world tour together.  Not yet.  At…

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June 30, 2020

Mystic’s Shipbuilding History

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Museum Early English colonists to Plymouth, to Boston and ultimately to Connecticut, initially hoped there would be mineral wealth or fertile, arable land to farm.  It didn’t take long to realize that this coast had neither.  New England’s primary resources consisted of two things:  fish, and timber.  Coastal Connecticut, and especially…

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February 4, 2020

Mystic and American whaling

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Today Mystic holds a very special place in the history of American whaling for one primary reason.  The Mystic Seaport.  Since 1941, the Charles W Morgan, the sole remaining whaling ship from the heyday of the U.S. whaling industry has been housed, maintained and displayed right here on the Mystic River….

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January 8, 2020

Where else but on a walking tour in Mystic?

In addition to the massive annual Mystic Art Fair — as usual there were plenty of other hidden gems going on in Mystic on the most recent weekend.  Our walking tour stumbled across an amazingly cool obscure event — A “J Boat” regatta featuring 10 foot high, radio-controlled, model sail boats.  These guys were dead serious, I even heard them screaming at each other as they jockeyed for position around the starting line. Two of the sailors wives joined us on our Mystic Treasures walking and history tour the day before, that’s how I found out about the regatta.  According to Judy and Rebecca, their husbands are both ex-sailors of “real” boats who have now migrated to radio-controlled.  The travel around the country to Regattas and have special trailers to accommodate their radi0-controlled craft.  It takes two guys to launch…

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August 13, 2019

Mystic walking tours include the Mayflower?

Yes, the Mayflower (II) is in Mystic.  Why?  Because the Mystic Seaport Museum has an elite wooden shipbuilding center that was chosen to prepare the Mayflower for its 400 year birthday sail! In case you forget your middle school history, the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth in the fall of 1620. Next year in 2020, the…

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August 6, 2019

Understanding Mystic and New England

We have several reasons we start our guided tours of Mystic at the Spicer Mansion.  First of all it’s a beautiful, recently restored classic example of a sea captain’s mansion.  The views from the “belvedere” are spectacular as the home sits on one of the highest points in the area.  Watch Hill Rhode Island,  Fishers…

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July 18, 2019

Round the Horn records by Clipper Ships, take your pick

There’s gold in California!  That discovery in 1849 had huge repercussions across the country.  In New England it meant ship builders and mariners needed to figure out how to get there (and back) quicker!  The golden age of Clipper Ships, that “clipped” time off the journey from New York to San Francisco, peaked in 1852….

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April 14, 2019

Rounding the horn, what’s the big deal?

Heck, Captain Joseph Holmes rounded it 84 times, how bad could it be? Between 1850 and 1900 at least 100 ships were lost with all hands.  That’s a lotta ships. Until the Panama Canal was built (1914), ships moving from Atlantic to Pacific had to go around the tip of South America…..passing through the most…

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April 11, 2019

Mystic Built….Extraordinary history of shipbuilding

Depending how you measure, the Mystic River is between 5 and 6 miles long…..technically it’s an estuary, given the impact of the tide. Despite it’s modest length, between 1784 and 1919, shipbuilders launched over 1,400 vessels into its deep, sheltered waters. Schooners, Clipper Ships, Fishing boats, Barges, and more. The deep water, the abundance of…

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April 1, 2019

Mystic’s (bad ass) sea captains

Ok we’ve researched a wide array of sea captains with Mystic roots or Mystic connections. There’s a ton. If you look at typical living conditions and consider the weather and seas many of these captains faced, you could make a case that ANY 19th century sea captain was a bad ass. That being said, here…

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March 3, 2019