We scheduled a family boat ride with Mystic River Cruises launching from Mystic, Connecticut. I am always eager to get out on the water, but I was extra excited for this day because it was Elle and Lily’s first boat ride! It was also my first time seeing Mystic by way of the sea.
Mystic River Cruises offers private 90-minute boat rides throughout the day launching from Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic is one of my favorite New England coastal towns. It is located on the Mystic River and has water views at every angle. There are a number of delicious restaurants and charming shops where you can find nautical touches of all kinds! It is home home to Mystic Seaport, a large maritime museum recreating a 19th century seafaring village with endless activities for kids.
I started to feel everyone’s excitement as we drove over the Mystic River Bridge and headed to the marina parking lot. We grabbed our gear, including food and drinks for the ride, and waited at the docks for Captain Erick. Captain Erick walked us toward the antique picnic boat and gave us a tour around. The boat was built in 1947 and had incredible woodwork and an American flag swaying in the wind. We had an option of heading toward the Mystic Seaport to take in views of the harbor or toward Long Island Sound to view the islands of the Sound.
We chose to head down the Mystic River toward Long Island Sound. As we pulled away from the docks, Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic played in my head. The water was calm, the sun was shining, and the kids were overcome with excitement. Elle literally jumped up and down yelling “Captain Ellie!”
We passed one of my favorite Mystic dining spots, Red 36, on our way out of the marina and waved at the people having lunch at the restaurant. Captain Erick started our ride by taking us under the Mystic River Bridge. We passed by the town of Noank and spotted Ford’s Lobster and Abbott’s Lobster, two famous lobster roll spots. Captain Erick provided so many interesting facts throughout our ride. We learned about the history of the islands, while Elle waved at every boat we passed.
I cracked open a drink and gazed at Fisher’s Island in the distance. The seas were calm with slight waves as boats passed us. We turned around and made our way back toward Mystic. After we docked and thanked Captain Erick for a memorable experience, we walked to Red 36 and dined outside ordering fresh oysters, clams, and fish and chips. We were finishing up dinner and I faintly heard “smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly into the Mystic…” coming through the speakers. We loaded the tired kids into the car and drove home with so many new family memories. I'm grateful to have seen the beauty of Mystic and the surrounding coastal towns through a completely new lens.
One of our favorite parts of this particular vacation was the day on the water we spent with Captain Rich and his crew aboard the Schooner Eleanor. Our boys had sailed before, but never in Maine. They were up bright and early that morning eager to see what the ride would be like.