This time of year we are always looking for a quick post-holiday get away to celebrate the fact that we’ve made it through another festive season alive. Between holiday preparations for our four kids, end of the year work demands, and celebration with our respective families, by the end of December we really need a vacation. We are fortunate enough most years to fit in a brief three or four day getaway before the new year rolls around.
We have three requirements for our December destinations. They must: 1) lie within a short drive of our home in the Boston area, 2) sport plenty of winter scenery, and 3) be in the general vicinity of at least one poker venue (of course). For example, later this month we will be heading up to Montreal (and will supply a full report after that trip!).
For at least three of the past six years we have taken our New Year’s break in Mystic Connecticut. Mystic meets all three of our criteria. It is only 3 hours from home, decorates for the holidays in style, and lies near not one, but two poker venues (Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods). We have thoroughly enjoyed each of our trips to this classic New England town. In fact, we enjoy it so much that we are certain that we will be drawn back again.
What do we love so much about Mystic? Let us show you:
Historic Mystic is appropriately Magical
The downtown is a joy to traverse, even when cold. Like many small towns, Mystic lights it up for the holidays and walking along the streets is a wonderful experience, especially at night when all of the holiday lights make the town sparkle. An added fun moment while strolling downtown is when the Bascule drawbridge that spans the Mystic River goes up to let a boat pass through. Always quite the sight up close.
There are a variety of great shops to check out along the main drag, from bookstores, to artisans, toy stores, to spice shops. In fact, one of our favorite shops is The Spice and Tea Exchange which is, of course, filled with exotic teas and spices! We have become addicted to their Tuscan Spice mix, which makes a mean olive oil dip for a crusty french bread.
The Mystic Aquarium is Lots of Fun
Especially in Winter when they have plenty of special events to draw you out on a cold winter’s day. The aquarium is well-designed and very interactive. It offers penguins, rays and skates that you can touch, and even Beluga whales. There is a marine theater which hosts sea lion shows and a 4D theater which is currently playing a remastered version of the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
The aquarium hosts a variety of winter activities, including ice sculptures, visits from Santa, and even a New Year’s party.
The Real Mystic Pizza
Remember that great 80s movie Mystic Pizza? Well, it was based on a real restaurant, which is alive and well in downtown Mystic. And it really serves great pizza!
We make it a point to visit Mystic Pizza whenever we’re in town, and we are never disappointed. There are, of course, many other great restaurants in Mystic as well. Some of our favorites include Bravo Bravo on Main Street and Kitchen Little on the waterfront. Kitchen Little serves possibly the best breakfast I’ve had this side of Paris. It is definitely not to be missed.
So if you live in New England (or if you don’t, but want to visit a real small town Winter Wonderland) consider a visit to Mystic for your next mid-winter break.
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