Meet Liz, a mom of two living in Mystic, Connecticut. Liz shows us a perfect family-friendly day in Mystic, where we discover her favorite shops, activities, and restaurants in the area.
Hello Bébé Voyagers! I’m Liz, writing to tell you about a typical day in the life of a mom from Mystic, CT. I lived on the mid-Atlantic Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast before moving back to my home state in 2015 and finding the love of my life, Will.
Four years later, we are Airbnb Superhosts for three listings between Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium. We are also parents of two– our daughter is two and our son is almost three months old. Most of our days are consumed keeping the rental units sparkling clean and safe for kids and their grandparents. On days that we don’t have guests coming, we like to relax and explore the local area with our kids.
8 AM–Strolling North for Coffee
We operate on a Spanish schedule–late to bed, late to rise–because of the check in/check out timing for the rental units. This works out for me, as my favorite local coffee spot, Vault Coffee Roasters, doesn’t open until the line has formed outside the door at 8. It’s good that I don’t need the coffee earlier. Once I find out the specialty syrup of the month, I order the barista’s recommended concoction. Lavender white mocha was especially memorable!
If we’re especially in need of weekend sugar, I let my daughter choose a Deviant Donut, a towering frosted creation that in no way resembles my beloved Dunkin Donuts. For a full brunch, we would skip the doughnuts, keep the coffee, and head over to Bleu Squid to eye the cupcake cases and enjoy a black bean and polenta take on eggs benedict.
While we’re in Olde Mistick Village, we usually do some window shopping so I can share with our guests where to find the best souvenirs and collectibles. My toddler prefers counting the ducks in the central pond. This week, there are ducklings which she starts naming them Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, and Ouack, as in Make Way for Ducklings.
10:30 AM–Looping Home
By now, we’re tired of counting ducks and we’ve seen the weekend event at Olde Mistick Village. we head back. On our way, we’ll detour through Coogan Farm, part of Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. We need some gardening supplies from their shop and we want to say hi to the volunteer farmers at the Giving Garden. If the kids are napping, we might even help harvest some radishes or mix up some compost, but we usually can’t stay long. We loop home via the ruined foundation at the top of the hill because we need to restock the diaper bag and drop off our purchases.
If we don’t grab something at home, it’s back out to find food. As we walk, we point out to each other the interesting architectural features on the historic properties along the river and discuss progress on the proposed riverfront park and boathouse. We’ve worked up an appetite by the time we get to Mystic Soup Co., where the two-year-old and I split a panini 70-30 and Will gets a bowl of soup and salad. The outdoor tables next to the water are clutch, since my daughter wants to stretch her legs and I need to nurse her brother.
1:30 PM–Main Street Shopping
Now it’s time to explore downtown Mystic for some more window shopping. As my toddler is scared of the dog at Mystic Knotwork’s south location, we step into the one by the flagpole instead to check if they have any seasonal wreaths to hang at our door. There are new stores and old favorites to visit, and we definitely need to stop at our independent bookstore, Bank Square Books. We always have a birthday, trip, or gift-giving holiday to plan for, and the children’s section is excellent. I also love stocking our rental shelves with local cookbooks and authors and I check out those displays for something new. I try to time our drawbridge crossings for 40 minutes after the hour, when the Mystic Bascule Bridge opens to let sightseeing boats through in summer.
4 PM–Breaking for Brews
We head towards Barley Head Brewery with kids in tow to test the latest Nanobrews on the chalkboard. Will grew up in town with master brewer and owner Drew, and we inevitably run into a bartender or patron who is also a lifelong local. There’s a good spot to park strollers outside–off the sidewalk but visible from the bar. Having planned ahead, we have a growler in the stroller bin to fill and bring home.
If we have out-of-town visitors with us, we might stop at Sift for to-go filled croissants or sandwiches. The guests usually add a sampler of the Food Network favorite’s macarons. Barley Head is happy to let us bring outside food. When the kids get bored, it’s off again to the Mystic River Park playground.
Back home we go to start our evening routine, which often includes a late nap. Perhaps we’ll grill, or perhaps clean up for a drive to Mango’s Wood Fired Pizza, next to this morning’s Vault Coffee. The white clam pizza has just the right amount of briny flavor to make it a great example of a Connecticut classic. We enjoy watching the pizza be made in the open kitchen.
No matter what, ice cream at Twister’s is in order. Sunset over the river is a regular draw for tourist photo ops, and even the neighbors send text alerts to each other on particularly spectacular evenings.
Next up: books and bedtime routines–good night!
Liz Burnham is a mother, writer, sailor, and traveler based in Mystic, Connecticut. She explores Mystic with an eye towards family-friendly travel experiences at @mjpmystic.