It wasn’t quite the weekend we had planned. The original plan had been to see ZZ Top with Jeff Beck at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino along with a weekend away in quiet Mystic, Connecticut. But, unfortunately, only days before the concert, ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill hurt his hip and the show was canceled. Luckily, the legendary Beck still did the show and had some help in the form of Tyler Bryant, the pleasantly surprising and rather talented opening act who, with his long hair and leather jacket, could pass for a young Mark Lanegan. But it was what we did before the show, exploring Mystic, that was the most fun for me.
For sheer convenience, we stayed at Foxwoods’ Fox Tower. Not only was it extremely close to the show venue, The Grand Theater, but it was also a very nice hotel. In particular, the room’s view over 2000 acres of forest was wonderful and extremely special, especially when we awoke to the morning fog over the tops of the trees. The room was large, clean and comfortable. Similarly, the Grand Theater was more like an upscale movie theater than a music venue; it was very impressive. Quite frankly, I couldn’t ask for more from either.
What wasn’t so great was more a matter of taste. My husband and I are, admittedly, pretty square. I can’t think of two people less interested in “nightlife” than us. Rock concerts: yes; drinking, smoking, and gambling at a casino: no. I know it’s plenty of fun for lots of people and more power to them. But staying in a casino is likely something we’ll never do again but it’s an experience we can say we’ve done.
Instead, we spent a day and a half exploring Mystic. This was my third trip to the town and every time there’s more going on downtown. It’s a quiet, quaint town that’s friendly for both people and their pooches. We saw lots of dogs out and about, roaming the streets with their families. Mystic’s very relaxing; it’s not very stressful or busy. (Although finding parking can be a difficult task.) You can, for example, eat a slice of pizza at Mystic Pizza — yes, “the one” from the Julia Roberts movie — or shop at the local independent bookstore. We enjoyed nice meals at The Ancient Mariner and The Harp and the Hound and breakfasted twice on the front porch at Somewhere in Time Cafe, where you can enjoy unlimited coffee or tea (including one to-go!).
It’s also a great place to walk. You can walk along the shops, you can walk along the riverfront, you can walk to and from local attractions like the Mystic Seaport (more on that in a later post) and the Mystic Aquarium. You can stroll through the local neighborhood and admire the beautiful historic homes, many of which have signs on them stating who the builder was, whom the home was built for and when it was built. You can admire and then, if your timing is right, walk across the Mystic River Bascule Bridge, built in 1920, that opens and closes to allow ships through and cars and people across.
If you’re not looking for peace and quiet or prefer a less family-oriented location, then the nearby Foxwoods Casino or the nearby Mohegan Sun might be more your speed. While casinos might not be my thing, it was fun and interesting walking through one of the nation’s largest casinos and seeing all the shops. In particular, I enjoyed the artwork — there’s a great sculpture of a woman with sheep and a dog — and the large, panoramic windows that allow you to take in the beautiful surrounding nature.
It was a weird trip. Busy and hectic but also quiet and quaint.