Travel Diary
October 18, 2002
Mystic, CT

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Mystic Seaport is a living museum that represents a 19th Century maritime village. There is an active wooden ship building facility, and many buildings that are setup as if you were walking in to a mid 1800s village. There were even people around who could answer questions and tell you about life on the ships or in the village.

The general premise of the wooden ship building shops at Mystic Seaport is that the best way to preserve the legacy of these relics of the past is to build replicas and take them out on the water.

Here's one of the ship builders who was working on a replica of a whaling boat.

Making a whaling boat replica

Mystic Seaport is home to several original vessels from the 19th century as well. Visitors can board them and learn about life as a fisherman.

This is the Joseph Conrad. It was originally a training ship, and is still used to teach kids what the maritime life was like.

The Joseph Conrad

The Charles Morgan was a whaling ship. It was sent out with several small whaling boats (like the replica they were building). The small boats would harpoon a whale. The whale would be brought up to this ship. The ship had a big oven where the whale blubber would be rendered down to an oil that was barreled and stored for the journey home. The ship would be out for as many as 40 months at a time.

The Charles Morgan

Here's a picture of the rigging on the Morgan.

Charles Morgan rigging

This is the original bank building from 1833. It was made of large stones, and the walls were nearly two feet thick. There was a stone vault inside the building. It was one of the only stone buildings and was built that way because it minimized the risk of fire - apparently in the 19th century, that was a bigger threat than robbery.

Mystic Seaport bank

Finally, we thought we should answer another common question about Mystic, Connecticut. Yes, there really is a place called Mystic Pizza.

A real Mystic Pizza

We had "a little slice of heaven" for dinner there. This is the restaurant that inspired the movie "Mystic Pizza" to be set here. The restaurant itself doesn't look anything like the place in the movie, but it was filmed in and around the town of Mystic. The current restaurant was full of pictures and memorabilia from the movie.

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