Through our Lens:

Mystic, Connecticut

Apparently this town was in a movie? Can’t quite put our finger on it, but we think it had something to do with Julia Roberts bussing tables. Anywho… the tiny town of Mystic may have seen a rise in fanny pack-sporting dads and disposable camera-wielding moms after the release of this cult classic, but the dedication to historic preservation is the real secret ingredient to this tiny town’s charm. Julia, eat your heart out.

Carson's Store

Located at the mouth of Mystic River sits Carson’s Store, a quaint diner that has been in business for over 100 years! This iconic Goton location transports visitors back to 1907 — thanks especially to how well the store’s charm has been preserved. Inside visitors can find an authentic counter with dining stools above a classic checkered tile floor. To further preserve the integrity and character of Carson’s Store, the building has no WiFi — just take it from their sign that reads: “There’s no WiFi, pretend it’s 1907, talk to someone.” Make sure to save room for their famous ice cream!

43 Main St, Groton, CT 06340

There are many places around New England to get delicious lobster rolls… but at the iconic Ford’s Lobster in Noank, Connecticut, you will find specialty lobster dishes like the famous Lobster Bomb: one half pound of fresh lobster topped with creamy lobster bisque, served in a buttered and grilled bread bowl! Much like the menu, the story behind Ford’s Lobster is pretty clawsome, too.

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15 Riverview Ave, Noank, CT 06340

Mystic & Noank Library

Construction on the Mystic & Noank Library began in the 1890s and was the brainchild of sea captain Elihu Spicer. The books that line the shelves of this historic library aren’t the only stories visitors can find here, though: the library’s architecture and design tells many tales. In the same way a book can transport its reader to different worlds, the library’s design features may have the same power thanks to its Roman brick, Connecticut granite, Massachusetts sandstone, marble from Vermont and Tennessee, mosaic floor tiles from Italy, and even Numidian marble from Africa. If books and architecture aren’t enough, the library hosts events every day for people of all ages, from babies to the elderly. Cat lovers should also make sure the Mystic & Noank Library is on their itinerary to meet the two library cats, Violet and Matilda!

40 Library St, Mystic, CT 06355

There’s a certain magical aura surrounding the town of Mystic, Connecticut–and it’s not just the pizza. A bustling old port located on the Atlantic, its home to an entire fleet of nautical history, including a ship that is the last of its kind.

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75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355

Mystic Pizza

One might think that this iconic pizza spot gained fame from the 1988 film Mystic Pizza. If you ask Mystic Pizza’s owners, though, they argue that it is “the pizza that made the movie famous.” The pizza joint certainly did gain notoriety from the film: visitors would steal menus and even salt shakers, they would line the sidewalk waiting for their “slice of heaven,” and even gather on Main Street to take photos of the pizza shop. Cars had to avoid hitting them! One thing movie lovers, pizza fans, and locals seem to agree on is that this iconic, family-owned institution has been serving some of the best pizza in the area since 1973.

56 W Main St, Mystic, CT 06355

Even though the original Thomas Oyster House still stands in Mystic, Connecticut, it opened 55 miles West in New Haven, the former oyster distribution center of New England. Though no longer in operation, it is one of the few remaining buildings that can be classified as a typical northern oyster house.

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31 Water St, Mystic, CT 06355

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream is an award-winning ice cream store and Mystic institution, which has been selling homemade ice cream since the 1800s. Its historic building sits alongside the Mystic River, providing a picturesque spot for visitors to enjoy their famous ice cream. Mystic Drawbridge does a great job upholding its history, but that does not keep its owners from experimenting with modern tastes. They preserve the charm and tradition of their shop while experimenting with new flavors. They even teamed up with a small shoyu business to create a soy sauce flavored ice cream!

2 W Main St, Mystic, CT 06355

The Charles W. Morgan (also known as the Morgan) is a whaling ship who is the last standing — or should we say floating? — of a whaling fleet of 2,700 ships. Her resume is impressive to say the least. She is the oldest American commercial ship still afloat. Her 80-year career as a whaling ship saw 37 voyages, most of which lasted three years or more.

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75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355

Stonington Lighthouse Museum

The Stonington Lighthouse is a historic, 10-foot-tall octagonal lighthouse which was built in 1840. In Stonington Lighthouse’s working years, it helped guide ships across Fishers Island Sound, known for being treacherous for sailors. Although it no longer operates as a working lighthouse, it still shines a light on Stonington’s maritime history and culture as the Stonington Lighthouse Museum. Visitors can view pieces of the lighthouse’s history, such as the 1856 Fresnel lens as a part of the or take in the exquisite and well-preserved stonework on its facade.

7 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378

Located in the Fisher’s Island Sound at the base of the Mystic River sits Enders Island, an 11-acre coastal island. Construction started in 1918 after the island was purchased by Thomas B. Enders. Initially, the island served as a private residence for Enders and his wife, Alys, who took pride in decorating her Arts and Crafts-style mansion. For instance, Alys designed stone tiles that adorn the grand main house.

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Stonington, CT 06355

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