Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Day at Mystic Seaport

We moved back East over 10 years ago, and live about an hour from historic Mystic Seaport, but we'd never been until a few weeks ago. We decided to do a day trip and spend the afternoon walking around the still working shipyard. 

I hadn't realized that it was essentially a similar type of open air museum as you'd find at Colonial Williamsburg complete with demonstrations on how to properly set the sails or to rescue a distressed ship at sea. 

Many of the original buildings are still standing and open for you to step in and speak to the merchants; grocery, watch maker, maps, blacksmith .... all showing items from the 1700s and 1800s. 

The maps show the tracks of whaling ships, and we stopped into the watch shop where all the pieces are still running including a large grandfather's clock from the 1700s. There are exhibits of small sailing boats and early racers called Cat Boats as the area became famous for competitive sailing. 

The ship shown at the beginning of this post is called the Charles W Morgan (built in 1841), which is the oldest commercial ship still afloat. It sailed for over 200 years as part of the American whaling fleet. This ship was built for durability, not speed and navigated all over the world from the Arctic, to around Cape Horn.  We went on board to tour the cramped quarters below deck where the officers and men lived.

I loved that this was a 'working' port and that the blacksmith was pounding away, the grocer was weighing items on the old scales and there was real salt cod drying (pictured above). Drying food is one of the world's oldest known preservation methods. Here the salted cod is dried by the wind and sun laying on wood racks. Many people think drying cod this way makes it tastier. Might be all the salt? I'm just say'n.

A quick shout out to my oldest daughter who has been into photography for the last few years. She took the vast majority of these pictures, and I'm really loving how she captured the light from inside the buildings to let the doors and windows frame the seaport. This is definitely worth stopping for an afternoon walking tour around the seaport if you're in the neighborhood.

11 comments:

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

How awesome! Looks like a great local trip for you! I have been to the Baltimore Inner Harbor a couple of times (it's about 2 hours north of me). There is a ship in the harbor - I made the mistake of touring below - OMG - talk about claustrophobia setting in! I don't know how people survived on these old ships with ridiculously low ceilings, not to mention WAVES! Kudos to the photographer! :)

Memories for Life said...

Sounds like a fun day! I'd love to sail on a big boat like that. I'd pretend I was a pirate...lol :)

Karen Budnick said...

Love Mystic! Your next stop should be Salem, MA. I've done it in a day but we love to take a couple of days the end of September (before the town gets turned over to Halloween) and stay at the Salem Waterfront Hotel. We just found an amazing garden on this trip!

Caron Michelle said...

What a fabulous day to spend together exploring - great post and great photography

Christine Altmiller said...

I went as a very young girl, but have no memory of it. It would be fun to go as an adult and take the kids. Looks like you guys had a great day! Kate really has a fantastic eye for photography ~ more from her, please! These pictures are beautiful...they have a real feel of putting the reader right there.

Alice said...

What a fun getaway! I love the tall ships but get very sea sick so I try to enjoy them from dry land.

LisaS said...

Oh would love to take a visit to the East coast... especially in early fall. I'm sure its beautiful.

Great pics!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

My kind of place! What a spectacular way to spend the day. And your daughters images are fantastic! Good for her. Photography is such a wonderful hobby.

BeadedTail said...

OMC! There's all that Cod again! :)

The photos are beautiful! Mystic Seaport looks like such an interesting place to visit with all that history.

Linda Younkman said...

What great photos. Looks like an amazing trip. What beautiful and talented daughters you have Cynthia!

Duni said...

I like the name of that port :) It looks like a great place to explore and you certainly enjoyed nice weather! I love the photo of the lighthouse :)

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