On our final full day in Connecticut, we woke up early. After eating a quick breakfast, we headed up to Mystic, Connecticut.
It was Nerd Heaven.
Our first stop was the Mystic Seaport, which is an entire complex set up as a 19th-centry seaport. SO MANY DEMONSTRATIONS. SO MANY COOL SHIPS TO WALK AROUND. SO MANY COOL OLD STOREFRONTS TO WALK INTO. SO MUCH LEARNING.
I cannot stress enough how much fun it was to watch an anchor being brought up or to watch an open-sea fishing demonstration or to walk through an actual old whaling ships. Those areas that were not equipped with actual demonstrators in them doing something (blacksmiths, coopers, most of the ships) had wonderful educational plaques and reconstructions that you could read. And then there’s the actual thrill of walking through another world – a world without computers and cellphones and electronic navigational equipment. A brilliant place. Just brilliant.
On that day, we wanted to stay forever. We, however, had bought a double ticket that gave us admission to the Mystic Aquarium as well, so we begrudgingly left the seaport and headed across town to the aquarium, which was super-fun as well.
We both had grown up with the advantage of great aquariums, but this was no less fantastic than others we’ve seen. The most entrancing animals present were the beluga whales. I likened them to a cross between a dolphin and a dog. They swam like dolphins – graceful, playful, upside-down, right next to the glass to show off for the kids – but there was something more (less?) there than you see in dolphins. It was almost an openness, a simpler way of looking at things. I know they’re not as intelligent as dolphins, so perhaps it was really just the lesser intelligence I was seeing. But it was still charming to watch and something that I had never seen up close.
My one point of contention with the aquarium was the touch tank. UGH. I cannot abide by families (read: parents) who have no awareness of others around them.
Yes, Ma’am – my girlfriend and I are standing right behind your child, waiting for a turn to touch the sting rays. Yes, you’ve been there for ten minutes on your phone and your kid hasn’t even tried to put his hand in the water once since you first plopped him down there. Yes, every other person around the tank is doing the same thing, i.e. – not paying attention to anyone but themselves.
After an extended wait, however, we managed to steal a spot and touch the ray. After we did so, we left to make way for others who wanted to do the same. How hard was that??
We ate dinner at a charming little place and made plans to come back the next day.
Which we did.
After a harrowing laundry experience the next morning (we may have overestimated the drying power of the standard Maytag), we loaded up the car and left our little house in Fairfield. Then we drove right back up to Mystic Seaport.
After all, there was so much we didn’t do the first time! The planetarium, the hauling up of the anchor, the exhibit on figureheads, the small boat museum! We strolled the grounds a second time (AND STILL DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO DO EVERYTHING) and realized we had to head back home.
The drive back was lovely as we listened to showtunes, refreshed from our New England vacay.
We dropped off the rental car and greeted our cat with open arms.
We were home.